Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
LAYTON — The All Poly Camp concluded Saturday with a spirited final day of drills, awards and a general feeling of time well spent by those who participated.
Camp directors felt that this year's three-day event included the best talent they've seen since the All Poly Camp was founded.
"When talking with all the top coaches and instructors, we all think that between 35-40 of the kids here will play for a major Division I football program," camp director Alema Te'o said. "I also think that 80 percent of the kids here have the talent to play somewhere after high school. It's been a great camp — probably the best we've had since we started this thing in terms of overall talent."
The camp included more than 500 participants going full speed in live 11-on-11 drills.
"They don't go half speed out here," Brighton offensive lineman Jackson Barton said. "You come here and go with everything you have or you go home, and that's what makes it so great. It's the best camp there is as far as competition goes."
Barton is a mammoth 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive lineman who has committed to Utah. He is quick to credit the All Poly Camp for much of his development into a top college prospect.
"The competition here is something any player shouldn't miss out on, in my opinion," he said. "I've been going here for a long time and I would recommend to any lineman who wants to test themselves against the best to come out here. The competition this year was unreal, and I know I'll be better this season after coming out here."
Barton was named to the offensive all-star team and stood out among other top players in attendance.
Other standout local recruits named to the all-star team include East's Korey Rush (committed to Arizona State), Michael Key and Sione Tuikolovatu; Pine View's Thor Katoa; Stansbury's Allan Havili (committed to Utah); Hunter's Noah Togiai; and Brighton's Nick Giles and Emerson Woods.
RESPECT THE PAST: One of the themes of the All Poly Camp is to respect those who have paved the way for other top Polynesian recruits. It's a fact not lost on attendees such as Farrington (Hawaii) High School's Breiden Fehoko.
"You think back to guys like Haloti Ngata (Baltimore Ravens) and Mike Iupati, who plays for the San Francisco 49ers, those are the type of guys who put Polynesian players on the map," Fehoko said. "I feel it's our duty to honor them and their accomplishments, along with all the other great Polynesian players, and I feel one of the best ways to do this is to attend this camp."
ACADEMICS REMAIN A FOCUS ON DAY 3: The concluding speakers of the camp did their best to bring the camp full circle by again stressing academics. Before any of the pads popped during drills, attendees took part in a series of academic workshops.
"If these kids can't get eligible then they won't have the opportunity to play, and that's what we stress," Te'o said. "Academics come first because it doesn't matter what you can do on the field if you can't do it in the classroom."
"The workshops help put things into perspective," Fehoko added. "Football is obviously the fun part, but it's good for everyone to have academics and the importance of schoolwork taught to us before the playing even starts. It helps keep things in perspective and let us know what's most important. I love everything about this camp."