Thursday, March 26, 2015

Collins is 'Game Fit'

Deshawn Collins helped carry the load for state powerhouse Grant (Sacramento) last season, culminating in a 2,000 yard season and Sac-Joaquin Section title. The Class of 2016 prospect, though, is starting to work on his hands to show versatility (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).  
When he puts the Grant High School Pacer uniform on, Deshawn Collins becomes a bolt of lightning who flashes through a hole then electrifies the crowds with his speed, power and array of moves in the open field.

But at Passing Down’s Nor Cal Regional in Livermore, Collins amazed the spectators with a different trait: his ability to play slot receiver.

The ultra-productive Class of 2016 running back, who led the Pacers with 2,266 rushing yards last season, became Team Game Fit’s reliable underneath target by showing his receiving side, as the Sacramento-based squad finished in the top eight of the Nor Cal regional held on March 15. The 5’8”, 185 pound Collins used his hands, juke moves and speed to infuse the Game Fit offense.

He entered the Livermore regional motivated by the talent he was getting ready to go against, with the hope that his appearance will elevate his game.

“It’s great. I love the chance to compete against everybody here,” Collins said. “I’m from Sacramento, so there isn’t always that much of a chance to venture out and play against other competition. But this (Passing Down) is a great environment.”

The junior has worked out with Game Fit since his freshman year. He said that his workouts mainly emphasizes leg work.

“I always love to have quick speed. I want to make sure I’m a step ahead of my competition,” Collins said. “I see myself as a one-cut runner. I like to put my foot on the ground, get up field and go anywhere I can.”  

On film, Collins shows his speed and vision for Grant. Anyone who watches a Grant Pacer game has probably witnessed No. 10 cutting up defenses with the football in his hands.

He also has to deal with the weight of keeping a rich football tradition alive in North Sacramento. The Pacers are a renown powerhouse in the California prep football scene and took home the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division II title in 2014. Collins said the expectations at Grant are real high.

“We’ve had so many great players who’ve put on the pads like Shaq Thompson,” Collins said. “We’ve got to carry the load.”

Collins holds a 3.8 grade point average off the field. His recruiting period, however, has been quiet so far. No schools have extended a scholarship offer to him. He’s received letters of interest from San Jose State, San Diego State, Utah State and some Ivy League programs.

He adds that the talent level in the 916 is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“It’s real deep,” Collins said. “I feel people tend to underestimate the talent we have here. I’ll admit that we don’t have the size, but we’ve got speed and hands.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

On the golden state recruiting trail: it's hail to the hills of Westwood for Toailoa

Lokeni Toailoa (Carter of Rialto) ended his recruiting process by announcing that he's verbally committed to UCLA (photo courtesy of 
Lokeni Toailoa walked into the room proudly wearing a Ground Zero shirt and thanked his club 7-on-7 head coach Armond Hawkins for helping him on his recruiting journey.

But the next article of clothing that Toailoa proudly put on was a hat that signified where he'll spend his college football career at: UCLA.

The highly-recruited Carter of Rialto linebacker - who held 21 scholarship offers - ended his recruiting process by choosing the Bruins on Monday, March 23, during a special ceremony hosted by Toailoa's club 7-on-7 coaches.

The 6'0", 212 pound Class of 2016 prospect narrowed his choices to Norte Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC, Utah, Washington and UCLA earlier in March. The inside linebacker, though, will head to Westwood and join another big-time linebacker recruit who committed to the Bruins on March 14: Krys Barnes of Liberty (Bakersfield).

Toailoa has played on Carter's varsity football team since his freshman year. Last season, Toailoa finished with 48 tackles, six sacks, six pass deflections and one interception for the 9-3 Lions. 


Dru Mathis of Buena (Ventura) has now emerged as one of the most sought-after linebackers in Ventura County, after landing two Mountain West scholarship offers on March 23.

At approximately 10 a.m., Mathis announced on social media that Colorado State had extended an offer to him. Then around 4 p.m., the 6'3", 200 pound outside linebacker added a scholarship pledge from Fresno State.

Mathis now holds five offers. New Mexico, Nevada and San Diego State are the other Mountain West schools that are making a run at the athletic and rangy linebacker.

Ridgeview's most dynamic playmaker hopes to focus on defense

Lawrence White of Ridgeview (Bakersfield) shows his speed as an option quarterback and part-time wide receiver for the Wolf Pack, but says he's fine tuning his skills at the position he could likely play once he's in college: cornerback (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna)
It’s hard to get Lawrence White of Ridgeview (Bakersfield) off the field.

On Friday nights in Kern County, the 6’2”, 170 pound White puts on the No. 7 jersey and slips past defenders while playing quarterback. He’s also zoomed past man coverage while lining up at wide receiver and blankets the opposition at cornerback.

Recently at Passing Down’s Nor Cal Regional in Livermore on March 15, the versatile White was doing more of the same for his squad DB Nation: going deep, throwing it deep and covering receivers on defense at the Robertson Sports Park Field.

White, though, said that his calling at the college level could be in the defensive backfield.

“I’m mainly trying to focus on my cornerback skills,” White said. “I also want to play receiver and wherever my team needs me. But I’m mainly focusing on cornerback.”

White rotated at quarterback for the Central Section Division II champions and state playoff qualifier last season. He threw for 1,228 yards, had 14 touchdowns through the air and was intercepted just twice.

White, though, did his most damage on option keeper plays. He rushed for 1,077 yards on 136 carries and scored 11 touchdowns for the 12-2 Wolf Pack. Defensively, White intercepted three passes and became Ridgeview’s top shut down corner because of his speed, change of direction and hands.

He’s at the same school that once produced Shannon Edwards (defensive back, Fresno State), Tyler Ferguson (quarterback, Louisville) and Kamari Moya-Cotton (safety, Iowa State). Like the trio, White has gotten on the radar for different college football programs.

White landed a Colorado State scholarship offer on Feb. 8, 2015. He said the Rams are recruiting him to play cornerback. He adds that Nevada, Wyoming, Utah State and Iowa State have shown interest in him through letters.

White said that he’s zeroing in on winning the one-on-one battles at the line of scrimmage.

“I’m just trying to stay in front and not allow people to get off the line,” White said.

However, he prides himself on playing at multiple spots on the field.

“I’ll play pretty much wherever my coach wants me to play. I just try to get it done for my team,” White said.

White's film can be viewed here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tall Central Section target lands first offer

Chris Paz of San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) received his first scholarship offer from Cornell University of the Ivy League on Saturday, March 21 (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna). 
The days of Chris Paz waiting for his first scholarship offer have come to an end, as the San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) wide receiver told Cali Gold Mine on Saturday, March 21, that Cornell University has extended an offer to him.

Paz, who stands at 6'3" and weighs 200 pounds, said that he's amazed he's finally received his first offer after spending the summer of 2014 plus early part of 2015 getting letters and junior day invites from PAC-12, Big Sky and Mountain West schools.

"It feels like all of my hard work is paying off," Paz said. "The conversations with Cornell have been really good."

The wide receiver and safety told CGM that Cornell's coaching staff has called him the Big Red's top prospect for the 2016 class. He added that the Ivy League program is recruiting him to play either running back or strong safety.

Paz, who's a three-year varsity letterman at SJM, was recently at Fresno State's junior day and plans to attend UC Davis and the University of Wyoming's junior day this spring.

Paz said that he's still keeping his recruiting options open, plus adds that if he finds the right offer, he'll commit before the start of his senior season.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Owens taking his time with choosing a college

Darian Owens of Clovis West isn't rushing his college choice, but said he'll announce his top 10 schools in about a month (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna). 
Darian Owens of Clovis West recently added more defensive back victims to his resume, as the muscular 6'2", 190-pound wide receiver emerged as Team Bod-E-Shop's top target at Passing Down's Nor Cal regional on March 15.

After burning man and double coverages at the Livermore regional, the 2016 prospect caught up with your's truly at the PD tournament (I also serve as PD's coverage writer and part-time talent recruiter) to talk about his 18 scholarship offers and when he'll make a decision.

Owens said he's not rushing his decision, but added he'll announce which schools will be in his top 10 sometime in April.

More on the article can be found here.

Highlight film from the U.S Army All-American Bowl National Combine:

Owens' highlight film from hudl:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

McCoy motivated by past Bay Area stars

Marqel McCoy (Berean Christian of Walnut Creek) is looking to make some noise on the recruiting trail by teaming up with TMP Elite and head coach Terrance Leonard (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna). 
Marqel McCoy has spent the offseason itching to get his first scholarship offer and have his name in front of college football coaches; and he’s using past Bay Area stars plus the club team they played for as his motivation.

He’s inspired by Oklahoma Sooner Joe Mixon (Freedom High of Oakley), Arizona State Sun Devil D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito) and Fresno State Bulldog Michael Lazarus (Berkeley); all of whom competed for the club squad McCoy is with now: TMP Elite.

“They motivate me a lot,” McCoy said. “Coach T (Terrance Leonard) is very connected. Hopefully I can make a name out of myself as well.”

McCoy, who lines up at wide receiver and safety for Berean Christian in Walnut Creek, has spent his February and March running routes for TMP. His recent appearance with TMP was at Passing Down’s Nor Cal Regional on March 15 in Livermore, which saw McCoy blow past man coverage and haul down the jump ball.

McCoy emerged as one of TMP’s big targets at 6’3”, 190-pounds. But after a solid showing against some of the best athletes in Northern California at Livermore, the Class of 2016 prospect said he wants to improve against elite competition.

“I need to see how I measure up against the best corners around here,” McCoy said. “I also need to continue to work on getting around my guy and getting strong, plus getting out of my breaks.”

McCoy, who holds a 3.6 grade point average, adds that “my jumping ability and catching the ball in the air” are two of his strengths at wide receiver.

He’s currently having conversations with Army, Yale, Northern Arizona and Harvard about a possible scholarship pledge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leppke the latest Emperor quarterback getting college interest

Dinuba High quarterback Isaac Leppke has witnessed his recruiting period pick up, with Ivy League and Mountain West schools asking more about him. Leppke also has Fresno State's Junior Day coming up on Saturday, March 21 (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna). 
The recruiting period has now ignited for Dinuba High 2016 quarterback Isaac Leppke, who’s come home to letters from different college football programs and has had his phone buzzing with coaches on the other line.

It sounds like what his predecessor experienced.

The 6'4" Leppke was backing up Marcus McMaryion when the current Oregon State Beaver quarterback was throwing the football at various camps/tournaments and worked out after school in front of visiting college coaches.

Leppke is starting to go down a similar path. Ivy League schools and UNLV are reaching out to the 4.0 student, as they try to learn more about the Emperors’ rising prospect. He has Fresno State’s Junior Day (Saturday, March 21) and workout sessions during the NCAA Spring Evaluation period in April also lined up.

Leppke finished his first season at the varsity level with an appearance in the 2014 Central Section Division II title game, which ended in a 16-14 defeat against Ridgeview of Bakersfield.

Despite completing the season with a loss in the championship game, Leppke said he never had any jitters when it came down to replacing a PAC-12 quarterback at DHS.

“I felt like I handled the job well. I didn’t have as much panic,” Leppke said. “I did have a lot of weight on my shoulders. But we finished the season good. I feel that I’m now more mature this year than last year.”

Leppke ended the 2014-15 season with 1,464 passing yards, a 59.2 completion percentage, 14 touchdown passes and five interceptions for the 11-2 Emps. Since then, he’s juggled between the track and elevating his name in front of college coaches.

Leppke, who runs the hurdles for DHS track and field, still adds time for the football field. He’s linked up with another place responsible for helping mold McMaryion: the Bod-E-Shop gym in Clovis.

“Art Correa (the gym owner) reached out to me. He asked me what my top five dream schools were and he was going to get me to one of them. That meant a lot to me. I’m working for him,” Leppke said.

The Bod-E-Shop’s club 7-on-7 team handed their quarterback spot to Leppke. The Bod-E-Shop made an appearance at Passing Down’s Nor Cal regional on March 15, with Leppke impressing the spectators with his array of bombs to the end zone against some of the top talent in Northern California.

Before Passing Down, Leppke and The Shop played in the Las Vegas Pylon tournament in February. The Vegas trip included a visit to the UNLV campus, where Leppke was introduced to the Rebel coaching staff.

Now, one UNLV coach has been in contact with him.

“Coach O’Dell (the quarterback coach of UNLV) has been talking to me a lot. He’s been messaging me every other day,” Leppke said.

But Ron O’Dell isn’t the only one hitting up Leppke.

“Coach Jon Poppe (Columbia University recruiting coordinator) reaches out to me every other day. He calls me to ask how my grades are how I’m doing in track,” Leppke said.

Fresno State sent a letter to Leppke inviting him to its junior day. Leppke said Bulldogs’ defensive line coach Pete Germano has been emailing him and adds “It would be nice to play closer to home.”

While Leppke is still seeking his first scholarship offer, he said he’s still trying to improve his quarterback skills.

“Just understanding defenses more. Plus reading different coverages and then making my reads,” Leppke said.

But he also believes that schools and people outside of Dinuba are overlooking him.

“Oh yeah, definitely. It’s because I’m a small town Dinuba boy. I’m much more than that,” Leppke said.