Chandler players showcase skills at Under Armour Camp The Chandler Arizonan

Chandler players showcase skills at Under Armour Camp

Chandler players showcase skills at Under Armour Camp
Sports and Recreation

By Zach Alvira
Arizonan Sports Editor

Nearly 200 of the best football players from across Arizona and six other states flocked to Williams Field High School in Gilbert Sunday morning to showcase their skills as part of invite-only camp.

The Under Armour All-America Camp Series made its first and only stop in the Valley on Feb. 23, inviting athletes from Arizona, Utah, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Nevada to partake in a day of position specific drills being filmed to send off to college coaches across the country. It was also an evaluation period for those involved with the Under Armour All-America Game that takes place every January.

The East Valley was represented by 79 athletes in total, all from different schools across Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale and Ahwatukee.

Chandler had 12 players from its Open Division state-championship team receive invitations to the Under Armour All-America camp. While some could not attend, including running back Eli Sanders who was sick, the Wolves still had a strong showing in nearly every position drill.

Defensive end Brandon Buckner worked with Saguaro defensive end Quintin Somerville in hand drills, where the two practiced different ways to free themselves from the grasps of offensive lineman.

Next to them was the duo of Chandler defensive end opposite of Buckner, Zion Magalei, who worked with Saguaro defensive tackle Alani Ma’afu. Both groups had one of several coaches there helping lead the drill. But in this instance, he was more than just a coach.

The four were being coached by Brentson Buckner, Brandon’s father and the newly hired defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

“Yeah, it’s cool to have him with the Cardinals,” Brandon Buckner said ahead of the event.

Buckner was dominant during each drill, specifically in one-on-ones. He overpowered the offensive lineman in his first rep, creating separation on the tackle’s inside shoulder to get to the inside.

On his second go around, the three-star 6-foot-1, 234-pounder used his speed and ripped to the outside, sacking the quarterback.

“My main goal was to come out here and dominate,” Buckner said. “I was really looking forward to the one-on-ones. I’m excited to go against some of the best players in the state and from all over. I’m just happy to be out here.”

Magalei had similar success during the drill, as he pushed the offensive tackle back into the quarterback.

About 50 yards away, Chandler athlete Quaron Adams worked with other wideouts in a variety of pass-catching drills. When he and the other wideouts lined up for one-on-one drills with defensive backs, he showcased his electrifying speed, sprinting past defenders to get open.

“I’m glad to be here to showcase my talent and my ability,” Adams said. “I expected to do well in the 40, vertical, just show off my agility. Then once we got to the one-on-ones, show off my ability as a receiver.”

Adams, a 5-foot-8, 150-pound slot receiver and running back, already has offers from the likes of Arizona State, Oregon, Kansas and Northern Arizona despite entering his junior season in 2020.

But his future could also include track.

Adams won the Division I title last spring in the 100-meter dash in 10.49 seconds, which was among the top-five fastest times ever in Arizona and the ninth fastest in the country by a freshman.

Adams was sidelined most of the football season with an injury this past fall. Now healthy, he’s ready to make an impact in Chandler’s high-powered offense.

“I expect a lot of things to make up for last season,” Adams said. “I think I can definitely be a threat in this offensive scheme under coach (Rick Garretson) and the rest of the coaching staff.”

Chandler quarterback Mikey Keene, receiver Kyion Grayes, defensive tackle Anthony Hanger, running back Nicolas Nesbitt, linebacker Kyler Orr and defensive backs Travis Roberts and Kentrell Williams were also present at the camp.

Joel Diaz and Kellen Gibson represented Arizona College Prep, while Brock Dieu, Kyle Pointer and others represented Casteel.

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