Friday, July 18, 2014

Under the radar big men

Time to give the big boys some love, especially the ones who might not be getting much of it on the recruiting trail.

Granted, some of these mammoth high schoolers are linemen who are Class of 2016, but then there are others who have caught the attention of the Ivy Leagues and Football Championship Subdivision ranks.

Here's some big guys worth watching this fall:


Villalobos - Class of 2015 - brought plenty of speed and athleticism to the defending Central Section Division III champions' front line. Villalobos is an athletic 6-foot-4, 230-pound outside rusher with a good explosion off the edge. Will need to build on his hand technique this fall. His size and speed makes him a convincing prospect to look at.

More on Villalobos:


Bianco is a powerful run blocker who can bury a defender on his back. The Class of 2015 prospect needs to improve on his feet during pass blocking. Bianco, though, sets an aggressive tone in the Rangers' trenches. Another strength is Bianco's hand placement. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Bianco does a consistent job with keeping his palms up and getting them locked on to a defenders' numbers. He recently caught the attention of the Oregon State coaches at the Get It Done Sports camp in June. His grade point average is between 3.5 to 3.9.

More on Bianco:


Walker will be one to watch in the 2016 class in Visalia. He already has impressive size (6-foot-6, 280-pounds). His run blocking is his strength. Will need to use the next two seasons to improve his foot technique in pass protection and prove he won't just rely on his upper body strength to finish his blocks. Walker sometimes came up too high. But the Cavaliers have a rising big man in the 559.

More on Walker:


The blindside protector for Liberty, Guerra, Class of 2015, brings size (6-foot-5, 290-pounds) and power to the Patriots' front line. Needs to improve his lower body leverage. Guerra, though, gets most of the running plays on his side because of his ability to dominate a defender one-on-one.

More on Guerra:


The Willmore brothers both stand at 6-foot-3, 270-pounds and bring nastiness to the Hawks' line. Both are valuable run blockers. Austin, Class of 2016, has a quick first step and drives defensive linemen to the sidelines.

More on Austin Willmore:


Price has two offers from Cal and Washington State, but he plays like he can have 10-15 offers. The big 6-foot-5, 290-pound Price has a viscous drive block.

More on Price:


Cronk is an animal down in the San Diego area. Cronk shows excellent hand extension on his blocks and can decleat defenders. Will need to get quicker with his feet. He holds four offers (Utah, Hawaii, San Diego State and Weber State).

More on Cronk:


Olson's future could be on defense. He bounces inside and outside on the Vikings' front line. He's disruptive in the trenches because of his explosive first step. Olson is helping turn Kingsburg into a lineman factory, with Ryan Steele (Fresno State) and Isaiah Trevino (six offers) being Vikings who were produced in the trenches.

More on Olson:


Bragg is a 6-foot-3, 330-pound space eater who's looking like Kern County's version of Vince Wilfork. He disrupts the run game and dominates one-on-one blocks. He needs to improve his explosion off the ball. Bragg, though, will get a school interested because of his size, power and run-stuffing ability.

More on Bragg:


He plays in an exotic defense which sometimes has him lining up in a two-point stance from his nose guard spot. The 6-foot-1, 293-pound Brooks is an excellent gap shooter and run stuffer. An instinctive player with a quick first step. Brooks' Hudl film says that he runs a 4.83 40-yard dash time.

More on Brooks:


The Class of 2016 prospect is one of Tulare Union's top options with paving the way for the run game. Stands at 6-feet, 270-pounds.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Goal line camps 2

More images from the Goal line camp from June (all photos by Christy Sharp)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fight On for Langley

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
Isaiah Langley was at two offers when Cali Gold Mine gave him this feature in September 2013.

Today - after holding more than 30 scholarship offers - Langley busted out the USC colors and made his pledge to the Trojans at Nike's "The Opening."

I love this move for USC. It's a win-win for both the Trojan offense and defense.

If USC head coach Steve Sarkisian lines him up on offense, Langley will put the clown suit on a defensive back with his rapid fire feet, separation and deep threat capability. I haven't seen anyone who can single cover Langley yet.

Defensively, Langley excels in zone coverage and shadows a wide receiver all game. Even though he stands at 6-feet, 175-pounds, Langley jumps like a tall possession wide receiver and snatches the ball from quarterbacks. He's a threat to score six points every time.

He'll likely need to improve his press ability at cornerback and add more muscle, but USC reeled in a shark today. I saw Langley the last two seasons at Passing Down. He's one of the more electrifying playmakers I got a chance to watch.

More on Langley:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top 7-on-7 destinations

Bransin Johnson of SWAG (Photo contributed)
It's unique and crazy to think that tournaments allowing players to run around in shorts, cleats and a dri-fit has helped change the way recruiting works in today's football.

The 7-on-7 format has helped revolutionize a player's development and increase their chances of landing a scholarship during the spring and early summer months. The tournament format has been scoffed at by some high school coaches and a few football fans, yet several others have embraced it and taken full advantage of getting their players noticed in front of writers or college coaches, with several prospects going from one to 50 offers.

I'm around the 7-on-7 scene through Passing Down and have noticed 14 club teams who have used tournaments to their advantage. A lot of these teams are led by coaches who are trying to bust down doors for their younger proteges.

In no particular order, here are the top 7-on-7 clubs in California who have produced Southeastern Conference, PAC-12, Big 12, Mountain West and Division I-AA talent:

TMP ELITE (Northern California)

The brains behind TMP Elite is Terrance Leonard, an assistant at Inderkum High in Sacramento. What impresses me the most about Leonard is that he thinks like a college recruiter.

He's reeled in and produced some sharks in the last two years: running back Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), linebacker D.J. Calhoun (Arizona State), cornerback Adarius Pickett (UCLA), linebacker Michael Lazarus (Fresno State), safety Jordan Thomas (Arizona State), linebacker N.J. Falo (Colorado), wide receiver L.J. Reed (UCLA), and also reached out to Colorado to nab defensive back James Jones IV (currently four offers).

Darrell Adams of TMP (Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna)

Other TMP alums include highly-touted athlete Isaiah Langley (over 30 offers), wide receiver Darrell Adams (photo, Arizona State and Utah offers) and cornerback Chandler Gumbs (Colorado State, Penn and Sacramento State offers).

Oh, looks like TMP's future is solid with emerging Class of 2016 quarterback Ian Book.

ASAP (Sacramento)

Team ASAP had a younger squad this past season, but longtime Arena Football League coach Walt Saunders has helped produce freak linebacker/defensive end Earl Chism (Yale), athlete De'Aundre Terrell (Sacramento State), and wide receivers Wyatt Demps (Nevada) and Alex Van Dyke (UCLA).

DB GURU (Fresno)

Led by the vision of longtime defensive back coach Tony Perry, DB Guru has been on a rampage in the recruiting realm and tournament scene.

Perry and DB Guru have used the 7-on-7 scene to get Fresno and Clovis kids exploding on the recruiting trail. Notable DB Guru alums include athlete Michiah Quick (Oklahoma), safety Hatari Byrd (Oklahoma), cornerback Johnny Johnson (UCLA), safety Devon Brewer (Arizona), running back Nick Wilson (Arizona) and most recently, tight end Ricky McCoy (Arizona), cornerback Dehlon Preston (San Jose State) and cornerback A.J. Greeley (Fresno State).

Khai Williams of DB Guru (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna)

Guru, however, is far from finished and is in the process of adding more to its alum history. Central-Fresno athlete Savion Simms holds four offers. Edison athlete Tyler Horton (currently five offers) and running back Khai Williams (Eastern Washington offer) are next in line through Perry.

I should also add the future of Guru Caleb Kelly of Clovis West. The Class of 2016 linebacker/tight end piled up 15 offers after latching on with Guru.

B2G (Beyond 2 Grand, Southern California)

Arguably the top 7-on-7 destination in Los Angeles County, B2G alums include Super Bowl champion cornerback Richard Sherman, New Orleans Saints linebacker Martez Wilson, Long Beach Poly cornerback Iman Marshall (nearly 20 offers), tight end Darrell Cloy (Arizona), cornerback Denzel Fisher (UCLA), safety Marvell Tell (20 offers) and recent Arizona State quarterback commit Brady White.

Marcus McMaryion of B2G (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/Mid Valley Publishing)

B2G also reached out to the Central Valley to help produce Oregon State quarterback commit Marcus McMaryion (Dinuba) and athlete Anthony Mariscal (Liberty-Bakersfield, Arizona commit).

FRAT BOYZ (Southern California)

Former NFL linebacker and USC great Chris Claiborne helps spearhead the Frat Boyz.

Quarterback Tyler Hilinski (Washington State), safety Su'a Cravens (USC), safety Justin Strong (Oregon State), cornerback Malik Cyphers (Portland State) and cornerback John Plattenburg (USC) are among the notable prospects who rolled with Claiborne and the Frat Boyz.

BODY BY TRA (Inland Empire)

Body By Tra has been a contender at Passing Down the last two seasons, winning back-to-back So Cal Regional titles and producing some big time talent out of the Southern California area in the process.

Body By Tra (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/Passing Down)

Wide receiver Adam Young (Duke commit) is one alum. Hilinski also played quarterback for BBT. Chiseled running back Kurt Scoby (Fresno State) and highly-touted cornerback Stanley "Scrappy" Norman (nearly 30 offers) are former BBT talent.

GROUND ZERO (Inland Empire)

Ground Zero is a machine, proven by winning the Passing Down Best of the West 7-on-7 challenge in 2014 and producing 25 players with a scholarship offer.

That's right, 25.

Mike Bell of Ground Zero (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/Passing Down)

San Jose State wide receiver commit Ray Surry, San Diego State cornerback commit Mike Bell, athlete Damion Alloway (four PAC-12 offers), and big-time 2016 linebacker prospect Lokeni Toailoa (eight PAC-12 offers) are among Ground Zero's young bulls. USC commit Chris Hawkins covered wide receivers with Ground Zero before moving on to the Land of Troy.


GAMECHANGERS L.A. (Southern California)

Former Oregon wide receiver James Finley is on a roll with nabbing under-the-radar L.A talent.

Don'Yeh Patterson (Hawaii wide receiver commit), Evan Rambo (athlete, San Diego State offer), cornerback Kalan Montgomery (San Diego State commit) and cornerback Treshon Broughton (Oregon State) all have linked up with Finley.

S.W.A.G (Merced and Fresno)

Team SWAG (Students With Aspiring Goals) was the team who ripped off a curtain and unveiled the Merced area playmakers.

Tyrone Williams of SWAG (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/Passing Down)

SWAG stunned opponents at Passing Down with its championship run in the 2014 Cen Cal Regional. Quarterback Tyrone Williams (Merced High) has seen his recruiting pick up after his performances in the camp/tournament scene with PAC-12 schools and Missouri asking more about him.

Linebacker Frank Ginda (Pacheco-Los Banos) added a San Jose State offer recently. SWAG also snatched up under-the-radar Clovis North athlete Bransin Johnson, who does damage as a slot receiver and cornerback, plus added his first offer from Weber State on June 24.

FIELD UP (Fresno County)

Former Sacramento State wide receiver Elon Paige has a powerhouse in the making through his venture Purpose Field.

The upstart Field Up took some marquee powerhouses to the limit at Passing Down and produced a Junior High Division championship on June 22.

J.J. Wills (right) of Field Up (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/Mid Valley Publishing)

Paige's top prospect has to be J.J. Wills of Clovis High. The 2016 wide receiver has received interest from the PAC-12.

Field Up, however, has three hidden gems in the 2015 class: Buchanan slot receiver Russell McClung (FCS and Mountain West interest), Clovis High lock down cornerback Hank Wiggins (interest from Cal Poly) and Edison OLB Xavier Hamilton (Mountain West interest).

Young talent emerging with Field Up is wide receiver John Gurrola (USA Junior Football All-Star) and linebacker Bryan Wilcots (Clovis West).


Stockton has been on the rise thanks to the work of former Raiders Al Smith and George Atkinson through Diverse Sports.

The team hailing from the 209 has made championship runs at different tournaments with predominantly under the radar talent.

Demetrius Ferguson of Diverse Sports (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/Mid Valley Publishing)

One of those players is Demetrius Ferguson. The St. Mary's-Stockton wide receiver has impressed the Fresno State coaches at the Bulldogs' 7-on-7 tournament and holds a New Mexico State offer.

Former Stagg quarterback Wayne Brooks is another one to watch. The Diverse Sports alum runs like a 100-meter sprinter at safety and is suiting up for junior college powerhouse San Francisco City College this fall.

KENION TRAINING (Northern California)

Led by Nathan Kenion and NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew, Kenion Training has lured in tight end Tyler Petite (17 offers) and emerging Class of 2016 quarterback Kevin Davidson. 

Cornerback Arthur Hayes (San Jose State offer) is another Kenion alum.


The duo out of Orange County had a big spring season this past year. Gridiron/Get It Done made noise in the Pylon 7-on-7 Tournament in Las Vegas and took home the top prize.

Utah commit Donzale Roddie, Kyle Sweet (Northern Arizona offer) and Nick Anderson (Boise State offer) are among the alums.

PRO SPORT (San Jose)

Pro Sport had a down year this past season, but the Silicon Valley boys have done damage in the past, especially with the Bellarmine Prep players.

K.J. Carta-Samuels (Washington, former Vanderbilt commit) and linebacker Joe Castignani (Cal) are two notable alums.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Clovis East 7-on7 tournament images

Fourteen schools, including Central Section Division II champion El Diamante High, Bullard, Clovis, Tulare Western and Clovis East were on hand at the June 7 Clovis East summer 7-on-7 tournament.

Here are some of the images from the event (all photos by Christy Sharp).

Bullard High lines up on offense
Clovis High practice snap

Bullard High TE/LB Cvaughn Stewart (Class of 2016). Already holds a Utah offer.

Cvaughn Stewart of Bullard
Clovis High 2016 RB/LB Tyler Estrada chases down the ball.

El Diamante QB J.C. Robles, who has interest from Mountain West and Conference USA schools.

Tulare Western vs. Clovis.
Fabian Cerna of Clovis.

J.J. Wills of Clovis High. Class of 2016 WR.

Wills plays DB and tries to swat a pass.

Wills running a route. Also the son of former UCLA RB Shawn Wills.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Rising star watch: Chris Paz

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent
San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno has assembled powerhouse running backs and big linemen for the college ranks over the years, but could the Panthers have a versatile wide receiver/tight end on the horizon?

Chris Paz could be that guy judging from what I saw in the Cali Gold Mine film room.

Paz, Class of 2016, has already begun to gain steam in the recruiting world with schools in the Mountain West, Big 12 and programs from the Football Championship Subdivision gaining interest.

Here's a breakdown of Paz:

WHAT TO LIKE: A big target at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds. As a receiver, he does an excellent job of adjusting his body to make either the jump ball catch or haul a reception low to the ground. Has a good burst from the line and is a mismatch for smaller cornerbacks. Fights off jams well. Does a consistent job of extending his hands in front of his chest to reel in the reception. Has powerful legs and can move a pile with him after the catch. For a 200-pounder, he has good elusiveness in the open field. Without the football, he's a viscous down field blocker who can knock opponents five yards back. Also a valuable return man with good vision and a burst through the hole. On defense, he has solid reaction skills to the football at safety. A good hitter who can knock the ball loose.

Photo courtesy of the Fresno Bee

WHAT TO BUILD ON: Though he runs a 4.6 40-yard dash time, he can always bring that down. Tends to run upright and not keep himself low, but that's common for tall players. If he's to line up at tight end, will need 10-20 pounds of muscle by the time he's a senior. Doesn't have the quickest feet when trying to get off of his wide receiver breaks.

OVERALL: Paz is a possession target and red zone threat, but Memorial has used him in a variety of ways. His size, versatility, hands and blocking ability convinces me he'll have a home on offense. His blocking ability reminds me of former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who was a devastating blocker. The usually run-heavy Panthers have gone to a spread offense look. This could mean an increase in touches for Paz since he's SJM's biggest target. Wyoming, New Mexico, Sacramento State, Portland State, Eastern Washington and Oklahoma have already taken notice of Paz. He's also teamed with high-powered talent evaluator and recruiting guru Tony Perry in Fresno to assist him on the recruiting trail.

More on Paz: