Tuesday, April 8, 2014

T1 Sports Academy hosting second combine

Contributed photo
T1 Sports Academy will hold its second annual football skills combine at the Bullard High School practice field on April 26.

The event is for grades seventh to 11th and will feature 40-yard dash runs, shuttle drills, one-on-one wide receiver/defensive back battles and a 7-on-7 session.

The camp also plans to bring plenty of Central Valley star power.

Tony Perry, a 30-year defensive back coach who's produced over 60 Division I prospects, is scheduled to appear. Courtney Viney, former UCLA/New Mexico State cornerback and current graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma, is expected to attend.

Other camp guests include Johnny Sears (CFL, Winnipeg Blue Bombers), Anthony McCoy (Seattle Seahawks) and McLeod Bethel-Thomas (San Francisco 49ers).

Cost of the camp is $60 per player. All participants must pre-register by April 22 at t1sportsacademy@gmail.com.

Time registration begins at 8 a.m. Events will run from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Awards for offensive and defensive most valuable player plus top camper will be handed out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

West Fresno standouts find college homes

Ricky McCoy (above) and Dejonte O'Neal (photos by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent
Dejonte O'Neal (Bullard-Fresno) and Ricky McCoy (Roosevelt-Fresno) toured California one year ago with the hope of landing a college football scholarship.

Now, in a span of five days, both West Fresno athletes are moving on to the college level.

The Bullard Knight running back and Rough Riders' tight end made their college decisions during the week of March 29. McCoy committed to the University of Arizona on a football scholarship. O'Neal will walk on at Fresno State.

Cali Gold Mine discovered both prospects in January 2013 through a Purpose Field camp. O'Neal and McCoy then caught the attention of scouts and colleges by participating in Passing Down at Livermore and Elk Grove.

Here's CGM's take on how both men will fit in at their new homes:

O'NEAL: He's 5-foot-7, but his heart is the size of a 6-foot-5, 300-pound nose tackle. O'Neal should impress Bulldog fans with his breakaway speed, elusiveness, and more important, stamina. I didn't see one game where O'Neal checked himself out of a game. He'll fight for every yard. He's an ankle-breaker at running back who also has soft hands. Despite the Bulldogs being more passer friendly with their spread offense, O'Neal should fit right in. He could be a possible Robbie Rouse for the two-time Mountain West champions.

MCCOY: He's already built like a college football tight end at 6-foot-4, 245-pounds. He's considered a raw prospect because he's still learning tight end. But, McCoy is the guy you want in the red zone. He uses his size to his advantage. He'll win a jump ball battle plus overpower press and man coverage. He's improved his athleticism after playing basketball for Roosevelt, who nearly won a Central Section championship. Another strength is his soft hands. McCoy and 2014 Wildcats commit Darrell Cloy could be a scary tight end combination in the future.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Preston Silicon Valley bound

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent
Dehlon Preston decided to end his recruiting process on March 22, as the 2015 Central-Fresno defensive back verbally committed to San Jose State.

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Preston visited the Mountain West Conference campus for their Junior Day. Preston said he made an instant connection with the Spartan coaches.

"The whole coaching staff is real cool, and I could see myself starting something big there," Preston said.

He's now the 12th college football commit out of Central since 2011, plus the first for the Grizzlies' 2015 class. He's also the fourth secondary prospect from DB Guru to join the Spartans. Bullard-Fresno DB Nautica Fleming committed to San Jose State for the 2014 class. Clovis West's Andre Chachere and Fresno City DB Dasheon Frieson are also DB Guru products with the Spartans.

CGM'S TAKE: Preston looks undersized, but don't let his small frame fool you. He's feisty and has an advantage with getting underneath a wide receiver's pad level during press coverages. He's Central's most physical cornerback and can blanket receivers with his speed. Still needs added muscle and more fluid hips, but his physical nature can make an impact for the Spartans.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

NFL star's son emerging in 2017 class

Keyshawn Johnson has a son already generating college football buzz, and the former 11-year NFL wide receiver is already helping showcase Keyshawn Johnson Jr (Mission Viejo).

Time to break down the next Keyshawn:

WHAT TO LIKE: Keyshawn Johnson Jr. already has nice hands and rarely has drops. Shows good concentration when hauling in catches. A devastating run blocker who can knock a linebacker or safety on his back. Has some elusiveness after the catch. Already has good height for a freshman (6-foot-1) and will likely grow.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: He doesn't have amazing speed right now. Granted, he's been going against older competition during the camp/tournament season and can build his speed. Also can use muscle down the road. He'll likely face lots of press coverages.

OVERALL: Johnson Jr. already has Arizona State and Florida State offers. Three major seasons on the camp circuit and fall season could make him the most highly-sought player in the 2017 class. A source close to me says Johnson Jr. is making an appearance at Passing Down on March 30 in Fontana. I'll be looking forward to watching him work.

More on Johnson Jr.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vG4Pz0-Icg

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A message from CGM's founder

First off, let me just share my gratitude to all of you reading this by saying thanks once again for another year with Cali Gold Mine.

Thank you to all prospects, parents, coaches and trainers for letting me know who to look out for on the recruiting trail. Another thank you goes to all the coaches from the junior college level to the Bowl Championship Series ranks who have followed CGM. Hope CGM continues to be a reliable tool to help learn more about prep and JC players and then deciding to recruit them.

As most of my readers know I work full-time in Reedley with the Reedley Exponent, which continues to keep me afloat in a great way. I also serve as the coverage writer for Passing Down, the premiere 7-on-7 tournament in California that's brought out some of the top players up and down the state.

Which leads me to this statement.

Passing Down's first regional is already one week from now (March 9). The tournament has grown every year and I'm ecstatic to see who will be on the field for this go-around.

This is where CGM goes on a brief hiatus. March to April is when my recruiting writing focus will be through Passing Down. I highly encourage all of you to check out the Passing Down website. There will be more great content including highlight videos and more prospects being blown up through the pen, pad and laptop.

I don't know how often I'll update CGM in the next two months. But if this blog is quiet, you know why. It's because I'll be looking to see who will become the next Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), Su'a Cravens (USC), Cody Kessler (USC), Brendan Bigelow (Cal), Brad Kaaya (Miami), Adarius Pickett (UCLA), Michael Lazarus (Fresno State), Manny Wilkins (Arizona State) or Marcus McMaryion (Oregon State) at Passing Down.

The road to the Best of the West Finals starts in Livermore. I'm already excited about the teams coming out and the 2015-16 prospects ready to break out.

Cali Gold Mine will be back. But once again, it's time for Passing Down to turn up!


Lorenzo J. Reyna

Rising star watch: Frank Ginda

Photo courtesy of ESPN Recruiting Nation
At the "crossroads of California" is where you'll find a potential hidden gem in Pacheco High's versatile running back/linebacker Frank Ginda of Los Banos.

Ginda doubles as a powerhouse runner and hard-nosed linebacker with college football level size: 6-foot-2,220-pounds.

Here's more on Ginda:

STATS: 101 career tackles. Three sacks. Three interceptions. Carries - 120. Yards -1,100. Touchdowns - 21.

WHAT TO LIKE: Ginda bounces off of defenders and is very tough to bring down. Shows long strides when he runs the football. Has good vision and can rumble through openings. For a guy carrying 220-pounds, he's shown to out-run defenders for the end zone. Runs a 40-yard dash time of 4.6. He never stopped his feet after contact was made and moves a pile with him. Can stretch defenses on screen passes. Has a nose for the goal line. Defensively, he's an effective gap shooter and can disrupt running plays. Shows off good closing speed and has a nose for the football. Has good reads and is rarely caught out of position when making a tackle. Off the field, he carries a 3.9 grade point average.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: Not the fastest runner and can get caught from behind. Will need to continue to refine speed. Pass coverage skills also needs tweaking. Need to also see his ability to rush the passer.

OVERALL: Ginda is a blue-collar, throwback type for Pacheco. His size, versatility and smarts makes him an intriguing under the radar type in Merced County. An offseason of exposure and a monster senior season could make him Pacheco's most highly-sought prospect.

FILM: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1475361/highlights/94663391

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Preston lands offer No. 2

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent
September 2013 was when Central-Fresno defensive back Dehlon Preston landed his first scholarship offer from the University of Houston.

Sixth months later, DB Guru's latest creation has received his second offer.

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Preston (white shirt playing DB) added San Jose State to the offer list on Saturday, March 1. The Spartans become the first school from the Mountain West to make a pledge to Preston.

Preston is known in the Central Section for being a physical press cornerback with excellent closing speed and hands. He's also returned kicks for the Grizzlies.

The 2015 prospect is currently attending the Rivals Camp in Fullerton this weekend. 

More on Preston: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/2322871/dehlon-preston