Sunday, August 2, 2015

THE LOWE DOWN: GLENDORA ATHLETE SEES LIMITED ACTION BUT EMERGES AS POTENTIAL PROSPECT

Michael Lowe Jr. was an All-League performer last season for Glendora High, but this year he's anticipated to have an expanded role for both the Tartans offense and defense this fall (photo contributed). 
Michael Lowe Jr. only saw three games of action at cornerback for Glendora High School in 2014-15, but that limited playing experience helped turn him into an under-the-radar national recruit.

Lowe, who lined up at wide receiver early in the season, showed his adaptability to play spoiler against wideouts on the opposite side of the football, as he broke up three passes and snatched two interceptions in the three games he played.

He went on to earn All-Palomares League Honorable Mention honors and now, colleges have taken notice of the versatile Lowe.

The incoming Class of 2016 prospect said he’s taken recruiting trips across California and took tours to universities in Colorado and New Mexico. Lowe said that some mid-major programs have taken an interest in him.

“Colorado State and Western New Mexico this year have shown interest,” Lowe said. “Colorado State was great. The coaches are really on you about becoming a better player. With Western New Mexico, the coaches made me feel like I was on the team.”

Those coaches aren’t the only ones who’ve examined Lowe’s academics, athleticism, and versatility. One PAC-12 university in the Bay Area has also had a social period with Lowe.

“At Cal-Berkeley, the coaches and players are great role models,” Lowe said. “They’ve taught me a lot about playing both offense and defense.”

Lowe hasn’t received his first official scholarship pledge yet. He’s on a prep football team with a future USC quarterback behind center: Matt Fink, who verbally committed to the Trojans in May 2015.

Lowe will be one of the most experienced wide receivers coming back to Fink and Glendora this fall. He said Fink has offered him encouragement as Lowe waits to receive his first pledge.

“He’s told me to keep working in the weight room, get stronger and my time will come,” Lowe said.

Last season, Lowe hauled in 12 catches for 101 receiving yards. During the offseason, Lowe was influenced to improve his routes, angle pursuits, hands and big-play capability as he latched on with Team TNT during the club 7-on-7 season.

Lowe makes a crucial reception while out-jumping his defender during the summer 7-on-7 season (photo contributed). 


While wearing a dri-fit shirt, shorts and cleats, Lowe showed his breakaway ability; as he sliced through the middle and got open consistently on the field. Once the pads and helmet come back on, Lowe said his team expects him and the rest of the Tartans to embrace their role.

“We’re expected to know the pass/run terminology and always give 100%,” Lowe said. “If we don’t, we’re still expected to better ourselves.”

With that comes these long term individual goals Lowe has set for himself this season as he expects to have an expanded role:


“My goals are to get stronger and faster, score 15 touchdowns, gain 300 yards receiving, get six interceptions, force three fumbles and ultimately win a championship,” Lowe said.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

MAC SCHOOL IS THE FIRST TO OFFER CALABASAS LINEBACKER

Alec Stevenson during a photo shoot for the Rivals Camp Series held in the spring. The Calabasas linebacker received his first scholarship offer from the Unviersity of Ohio on Aug. 1 (photo contributed). 
Calabasas High School was preparing to enter the upcoming football season with 11 Coyote players holding at least one scholarship offer from an NCAA Division-I program.

Linebacker Alec Stevenson has now extended that number to 12.

The Class of 2016 prospect, who transferred to CHS from Mailbu High during the spring, received his first official pledge from the University of Ohio on Aug. 1.

“My first communication with Ohio was when they offered me today,” Stevenson said. “It’s awesome. I’m even hungrier now.”

Among the national recruits strapping on the pads for the Coyotes are Class of 2016 defensive backs Isaiah Hayes (Arizona commit), Marquel Dismuke (Nebraska commit), plus Class of 2017 wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson Jr. (22 offers) and recent Newbury Park transfer Darnay Holmes (25 offers).

In his final season at Malibu, Stevenson led the Sharks with 107 tackles, 81 solo stops and 3.5 sacks. He earned All-Los Angeles County First Team honors and won the Frontier League Defensive Most Valuable Player award.

His highlight film shows the 6-foot, 230-pound Stevenson as a run-stopping force in the middle, as he shoots through an open gap in between the center and guard and pummels a running back. He’s also reliable with his angle pursuits, as he’ll close fast down the sideline and prevent an outside run from breaking loose.



Once his junior season wrapped up with the Sharks, he joined former Oregon wide receiver James Finley and his club 7-on-7 team Gamechangers L.A. to sharpen his linebacking skills. Stevenson continued to show his angle pursuits against short passes, as he didn’t give up any long gains down the middle of the field.

“They helped a lot. Coach Fin is a great coach and all of the coaches are awesome. I love my Gamechangers family,” Stevenson said.

Before receiving offer No. 1 from the Bobcats, Stevenson said he drew interest from Fresno State, Colorado, Bucknell, Nevada and Cal Poly. He recently took an unofficial visit to San Luis Obispo to check in on the Mustangs during the weekend of April 11.

Friday, July 31, 2015

INLAND EMPIRE STUD CHOOSES BIG 12 POWERHOUSE

Bryce Youngquist gave Oklahoma a major boost for its 2016 recruiting class, as the Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) linebacker announced that he committed to the Sooners on July 31 (photo credit scout.com). 
It hasn’t been the most dominant recruiting period for Oklahoma Sooners football when it comes to filling the 2016 class. In fact, Bleacher Report labeled the Sooners a loser during the July recruiting period.

But Oklahoma struck big today to end the month, as OU received a verbal commitment from Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) standout Bryce Youngquist on July 31.

Youngquist, who’s a 4-star linebacker prospect, held 15 scholarship offers and had Oregon and Oklahoma as his last two schools of choice. By committing to the latter, he becomes the Sooners’ eighth verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 and provides an immediate impacting presence for the OU linebacker unit, which will graduate three seniors after the 2015-16 season.

In the stardom-filled Inland Empire region, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Youngquist is one of the fastest defenders in the 909. According to scout.com, Youngquist blazes his 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds. He comes to Los Osos High football games with that same speed and tenacity.



Once the ball is snapped, Youngquist looks like a coyote that found fresh meat. He’ll accelerate past the outside pocket protection, corner his prey and then feast on a quarterback. He could be another Eric Striker for the Sooner defense, who led OU with 17 tackles for a loss and nine sacks last season.

Youngquist is much more than just a rush linebacker. He takes solid angles and relies on a wrap-and-roll technique to make the run stopping tackle. 

Against the pass, his speed and backpedal gets him to look like a cover safety locking down his area. His willingness to play in coverage is an added bonus for a Sooner pass defense that ranked 117th out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams last year.


While OU currently ranks at No. 55 in the 247sports.com recruiting composite rankings for the Class of 2016, the verbal pledge from Youngquist gives Oklahoma new life for this class. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

IT'S 'SPARTAN UP' FOR CENTRAL GRIZZLY 2016 LINEMAN

Elijah Parks of Central East in Fresno made a verbal commitment to San Jose State on July 28, adding to SJSU's list of recruits from the Central Valley (photo credit 247sports.com). 
San Jose State went to West Fresno to pluck away its latest prized signing from the Central Valley: Class of 2016 nose guard/defensive tackle Elijah Parks of Central East High School on July 28.

The 6-foot-3, 296-pound Parks is now the seventh Central Valley representative since 2014 to verbally commit to the Spartans, as he made the announcement on his Twitter page. He’s also the latest Central Grizzly to choose SJSU, as his former defensive back teammate Dehlon Preston accepted his pledge to join the Spartans’ 2015 recruiting class.

Parks said Preston and the Valley connection gave him enough leverage to choose the Silicon Valley Mountain West program.

“He (Preston) is like a big bro to me. So his influence helped make my decision,” Parks said.

He adds that SJSU has created a DB Guru pipeline; comprising of Central Section players who work out for veteran defensive back coach Tony Perry in Fresno. The Edison defensive back coach, who’s produced over 40 NCAA Division I prospects, has helped Preston, Andre Chachere (Clovis West) and Nautica Fleming (Bullard) sign with the Spartans.

“With the other DB Guru guys there, it’s just a better fit for me,” Parks said.

He’ll not only reconnect with his DB Guru peers, but Parks is continuing Central’s streak of producing an NCAA DI prospect. Since 2011, the Grizzlies have sent players to the Big 12, PAC-12, Big Sky and Mountain West Conference.

Last season, Parks was the menacing Grizzly who energized the Central front line. He bull rushed past centers and pounded running backs into the turf after firing off from his interior line spot. Parks, who lines up either head up or outside of a center’s shoulder, clawed through one-on-one blocks and became Central’s top run-stuffing defensive lineman in 2014-15.

He had a steamrolling showing at the Nike Opening Oakland Regional in April, as he took home the Defensive Lineman Most Valuable Player award. 

San Jose State was Parks’ lone offer. He included SJSU’s atmosphere outside of football factored into his decision.

“I like the environment. It seemed really chill and the weather was great. Also, it’s close to home,” Parks said.

His other deciding point was the relationships he cultivated with the Spartan coaching staff.

Said Parks: “The coaches were great. They have a lot of knowledge about football, but they’re not all about football. They also want to push you to get a degree, which I like.”


Saturday, July 25, 2015

TEN SCHOOLS NOW ON 5-STAR'S SHORT LIST

Darnay Holmes of Calabasas High School has cut down his recruiting list to 10 schools. Holmes is considered the top cornerback prospect in the Class of 2017 according to scout.com and Rivals (photo credit hudl.com). 
Darnay Holmes – one of the top players in the Class of 2017 with 25 scholarship offers – went to social media to announce which schools made his short list on July 25.

Holmes told his Twitter followers that there’s 10 schools he’s considering: Alabama, Arizona, Miami, Norte Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington.






Holmes, who no longer attends Newbury Park and has recently transferred to Calabasas High according to scout.com’s Greg Biggins, stated that the universities in his top 10 list “have the best environment for me.” But added “things can change when other scholarships are earned.”

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Holmes first exploded on the recruiting scene as a freshman, with Arizona becoming one of his early offers.

During the 7-on-7 club football season in 2014, he lined up alongside another young freshman who’s now one of the most wanted prospects in the nation: Keyshawn Johnson Jr. Both Holmes and Johnson Jr. played on Team 19, which is coached by former NFL and USC star wideout Keyshawn Johnson. Holmes has also played for Team Pro Way, which is based out of Newbury Park.

In his final year at NPHS, Holmes led the 11-3 Panthers with 89 catches, 1,350 yards and 15 touchdowns. Defensively, Holmes tallied 39 tackles including 32 solo stops and one interception, as he helped lead the Panthers to the CIF Southern Section Northern Division title game before losing to Paso Robles 13-10.

Among the other programs that have offered Holmes are Clemson, Louisville, Mississippi State, Syracuse and Utah.


He’s not only been listed as a 5-star prospect, but also the top 2017 cornerback prospect in California by both scout.com and Rivals. ESPN rates Holmes as the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

DELGADO COULD BE A CORNERSTONE FOR HAWTHORNE'S RESURRECTION

Versatile and aggressive Benjamin Delgado is looking to end the losing at Hawthorne High along with the rest of his team (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna). 
Benjamin Delgado was in Kindergarten during the last time Hawthorne High School produced a winning year in football, which was a 7-4-1 mark in 2004.

Now, as a three-year varsity letterman playing at a school that’s had a string of 10 straight non-winning seasons, the versatile running back and safety wants to help change the culture at the former Los Angeles area powerhouse before his prep career rides off into the Southern California sunset.

Delgado, who holds one scholarship offer from Idaho State of the Football Championship Subdivision, said he’s confident that this year’s team can turn the Cougars’ fortunes around.

“We’re just trying to get the program back up. We have more talented athletes now,” Delgado said.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Delgado said practices have intensified under head coach Donald Paysinger, who’s entering his third season at the helm.

“It gets pretty tough at practice. But we just fight through it. We work,” Delgado said.

During the 1990s, Hawthorne was a regular at CIF championship games, with the last section title coming in 1992 as a Division III competitor. Former NFL and USC star Curtis Conway was one of Hawthorne’s main catalysts during the Cougars’ dominant years.

But dark times hovered over Hawthorne during the start of the 21st century. Not only did losing take its toll on a once proud program, but Hawthorne is known for “The Streak”: which was a string of 45 consecutive losses that stretched four years long, ending on Oct. 3 against Firebaugh of Lynwood in a climatic 27-22 victory. Hawthorne’s skid ranks as the third worst streak in California high school football history.

Now, Hawthorne has endured back-to-back 3-7 seasons. The last non-losing year came in 2011, when the Cougars finished 5-5. 

Looks like Delgado and Hawthorne enter the football field accompanied by pressure as they try to restore a winning culture. But Delgado insists that’s not the case.

“We don’t really have that much to resurrect. Our coaches tell us to create our own legacy because we are a new era, so what we create is better,” Delgado said.

On the field, Delgado describes himself as a “Down the hill hitter.” His highlight film shows his ability to run down the middle and neutralize the run. Delgado shows good eyes and angles with stuffing the run. He’ll also shoot out his hands against an oncoming blocker, shed past his defender and then wrap up the running back.

He comes equipped with a lineman’s mean streak on offense. At fullback, Delgado shoves his defender to the turf like he’s a 300-pound right tackle or guard. He’ll take draw plays and eat up a chunk of yards when he gets called upon to carry the football.

His versatility has made him Hawthorne’s other national recruit along with defensive back Jaylen Morgan, who holds three offers from BYU, San Diego State and Northern Colorado. Along with his pledge from Idaho State, Delgado said he’s hearing from California-Berkeley and Northern Arizona through letters.

He’s had a village get behind him on the recruiting trail; ranging from his parents, Hawthorne coaches and his club coaches on Gamechangers L.A.

“I’m so thankful for everyone who’s helped me out in the recruiting process. It’s definitely not easy and a lot of hard work,” Delgado said.

But, the main goal this fall for Delgado and Hawthorne is destroy the losing. Delgado shared five words to help reach that goal:


“We’ve got to keep working.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

MERCED COLLEGE HITTER IMPRESSED BY FRESNO STATE TRIP

Merced College safety Earl "Bam Bam" Chambers holds one offer from an Atlantic Coast Conference school, but one university near him made a strong impression on him (photo courtesy of Hudl.com). 
Merced College safety Earl Chambers cradles just one scholarship offer in his possession: a pledge from Louisville.

But could a nearby Mountain West Conference university come through as offer No. 2?

Chambers and some of his Blue Devil teammates, including mega-talented defensive back Devron Davis who holds more than 30 scholarship offers, took the drive down Highway 99 on July 17 to visit Fresno State. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Chambers said the Bulldog coaches left a positive imprint on his mind following the unofficial visit.

“The coaches were very cool and they made me feel wanted there,” Chambers said.

The Fresno State visit started at 10:30 a.m and wrapped up at 3 p.m, Chambers said. He and the rest of his Blue Devil comrades got a chance to wear the black Fresno State uniforms while touring the campus.

Chambers poses for a picture while wearing the Fresno State black uniform (photo contributed). 


He added that Bulldog head coach Tim DeRuyter was approachable and up-front to him and his teammates.

“He was great toward us. He was actually answering all of our questions and concerns,” Chambers said.

Last season at Merced, Chambers crashed down at the line of scrimmage and collected 43 total tackles, including three stops that saw him halt a ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. He earned his nickname “Bam Bam” because he shows no fear with sprinting down the middle and bulldoze his shoulder pads into a running back or wide receiver.

Chambers is part of a stacked contingent of future NCAA Division I athletes at the junior college. Along with Davis, center Ty Allen, defensive tackle Kamilo Tongamoa, offensive tackles Xzavier McAllister and Joseph Orinstein and lastly, running back Josh Stevens have all been courted by different colleges. Even though most of Merced College’s most wanted college prospects line up in the trenches, Chambers said he believes one other area is the strength of the Blue Devils.

“Our team is stacked with talent and the whole defense is a strength. But if I had to pick, our true strength is the secondary,” Chambers said.

Chambers and Davis spearhead the Blue Devil no fly zone. While Davis puts the lockers on wide receivers from his cornerback spot on passing plays, Chambers patrols the middle like a spy drone in the sky. Davis – who’s been offered by Fresno State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Baylor and Alabama – described Chambers as an aggressive tone setter for the Blue Devil secondary.

“He’s very long and a big hitter. He’s one of the hardest hitters on our team,” Davis said. “He’s definitely a sleeper and I think he’s a good player overall.”

Chambers, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and played high school football at Jefferson Davis High in Montgomery, Ala., adds that he’s gotten interest from Illinois, Idaho, Utah State and Colorado State via letters.

But now he can add the 2014 Mountain West runner up to the list of schools taking a closer look at him. Chambers wasn’t just drawn to the Bulldog coaches, he said he was impressed with the entire campus and program.


“The facilities at Fresno State were great and makes it feel like you’re at home,” Chambers said. “Plus, their program is so great and it’s on the come up.”