Thursday, October 8, 2015


Devron Davis announced his top seven schools on Thursday, Oct. 8. Four PAC-12 programs, two from the Big 10 and one SEC school made his final list (photo contributed). 
He’s the most wanted junior college football player in the nation with over 30 reported offers and now, Merced College cornerback Devron Davis announced on Thursday, Oct. 8 that seven programs are frontrunners to claim the shutdown corner.

If anyone reading this is a fan of Oregon, UCLA, Michigan State, Nebraska, Cal, Arizona State and Missouri there’s good news: all seven universities are on Davis’ short list.

But the burning question now is which school has the strongest chance to land the 6-foot, 210-pound island defender? Here’s Cali Gold Mine’s take:


The Ducks’ defense needs help…and is in need of a true cover cornerback.

The secondary has surrendered 15 passing touchdowns through five games. That’s an average of three aerial scores per game.

Oregon also has one of the worst defenses in the nation so far in 2015-16, sitting at No. 110 and allowing 287.2 yards through the air.

Granted, inexperience has played a role in the secondary’s rough start. But still, Davis can be an instant impact player with his cover speed, hip angles and eyes for the ball.



The Bruins got Ishmael Adams back from his Uber arrest in August, plus have one solid building block at corner in redshirt freshman Adarius Pickett.

While UCLA pilfered 6-foot-2, 180-pound Chris Gaston from nearby Bishop Amat High for the 2016 class, the Bruins will still likely make the secondary a top priority for this recruiting period; since UCLA stands at No. 82 in total defense and has given up 22 points per game.



It’s interesting to see the Spartans high on Davis’ list, especially considering that MSU came after Davis this late in the recruiting period.

However, it makes sense why the nation’s No. 4 ranked college team would come to California to try and swoop up Davis: the Spartans are among the worst in the Big 10 against the pass with 248.8 yards allowed per game.

Plus, on Davis’ end, he can aid an MSU secondary that’s given up too many yards and lost rising freshman Vayante Copeland for the rest of the year. This unit's other claim to fame is producing recent NFL first round pick Trae Waynes. The Spartans are one to keep an eye on.



The Cornhuskers are worse than MSU on defense in the Big 10 as the nation’s No. 108 rated unit.

Nebraska has gone with a young rotation in the defensive backfield. Plus they’ve been transitioning in a new regime with Mike Riley.

But Riley and the Cornhusker staff have five cornerbacks in the ’16 class who are on Nebraska’s radar, with Davis being the most high-profile one.



The Golden Bears are on a roll defensively under coordinator Art Kaufman, with 18 takeaways in five games.

What works in Davis’ favor is Cal’s affinity for the J.C transfers. The Bears have 20 players on the current roster who played JUCO ball, including cornerbacks Darius White (Itawamba Community College) and Antoine Albert (Diablo Valley College).

The downside, though, is that Cal has already received three cornerback commitments for this next class including highly-touted Traveon Beck from St. John Bosco (Bellflower), who turned down Arizona State, UCLA and Wisconsin to join the Bears.



The Sun Devils have produced one of the better defenses in the PAC-12 and have thrived on players who are either in their first or second season with ASU.

Arizona State’s history of playing newcomers right away can be intriguing. While ASU recruited 5-foot-11 Stanley “Scrappy” Norman in the 2015 class and received a verbal commitment from Robbie Robinson for 2016, Davis can give the Sun Devils a tall, physical shutdown cornerback.



Like MSU, the Tigers came on Davis late.

Shockingly – with Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Florida offering Davis – it is Mizzou making Davis’ cut among the Southeastern Conference teams.

The Tigers will have to replace three defensive backs to graduation after this season, plus might lose junior Aarion Penton to the NFL draft.

Another motivating factor? The Tigers have the second best defense in the SEC behind LSU. We won’t be shocked if Davis heads to Columbia.



Left tackle Sean Chisolm (No. 76)  is one of several underrated college football prospects on Camarillo. He'll deal with a fast and athletic St. Bonaventure (Ventura) team at Ventura College on Friday, Oct. 9 (photo by Lorenzo Reyna). 
For too long, St. Bonaventure High School was the face of Ventura County football, while Camarillo High was the middle child: the one getting overlooked.

But today, the Scorpions have gotten the 805’s and the state’s attention with their 5-0 start, and are now ready to prove that they’re the big brother of the county football scene.

The Seraphs don’t plan on laying down easily. St. Bonnie comes in red-hot with a five-game winning streak, including a 63-34 trouncing of CIF state playoff qualifier Redlands East Valley.

This heavyweight showdown at Ventura College could be standing room only, with seats likely to get filled early. Here’s a breakdown:

ABOUT THE SCORPIONS: Camarillo doesn’t just score at will, the Scorps are led by some of the most underrated stars in the state.

Quarterback Jake Constantine continues to be a nightmare for defensive coaches with 1,257 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions. Plus he’s put up those numbers without a single scholarship offer. Running back Isaiah Otis has become a late bloomer on the recruiting trail with 94 carries, 719 yards and 12 touchdowns. He too is without an offer. 

Camarillo is deep at wide receiver; with Frankie Tostado, Elijah Alexander, Colby Stevens and Desmond Clancy all catching an array of passes. But the Scorps discovered a new weapon in Ryan Muscarella against Ventura. The senior caught four passes for 143 yards and caught two touchdowns in the 48-7 trouncing of the Cougars.

In the trenches, Sean Chisolm protects the blind side for Constantine and opens the running lanes for Otis. Defensively, Bronson Smith sets the tone at defensive end, while linebackers Brett Herron and Brett Triebold lead the run-stuffing charge.
Safety Collin Kirksey is Camarillo’s go-to-guy when the Scorps’ defense calls for a blitz from the secondary.

ABOUT THE SERAPHS: After a 32-30 loss to West Hills (Chaminade), St. Bonnie has gone on a scoring frenzy – with five straight games of scoring 40 points or more.

Leading the offensive charge is dual-threat quarterback Darius Vines, who recently got his first scholarship offer from Eastern Washington. Chris Santoyo returns at running back for the Seraphs. He had a breakout night of 286 yards and one touchdown in last year’s 28-10 victory over the Scorpions. Santoyo has also emerged as one of St. Bonnie’s top cover cornerbacks. 

Chris Santoyo took control of the Seraph running game with 286 yards and one touchdown in last year's 28-10 road win at Camarillo (photo by Lorenzo Reyna). 

Big 6-foot-4, 320-pound Casey Roddick doubles as guard and tackle for the Seraph offensive line. The Seraph defense brings loads of speed to counter the Scorpions’ fast-paced offense. Linebacker Josh Inglis leads the LB unit, while Keegan Romero brings versatility at strong and free safety. Romero is an aggressive hitter especially on angle pursuits. 

BEST MATCHUP: Casey Roddick versus Bronson Smith. This should be a scrapper fest at the line of scrimmage. These two will likely cross paths especially in the passing game.

DON’T SLEEP ON: Ryan Muscarella. He broke out in Camarillo’s last game, especially on a team with more celebrated wideouts Tostado, Stevens and Alexander. Camarillo will likely go to him on swing passes and play action bombs.

GAME INFORMATION: The varsity football kickoff is 7 p.m. at Ventura College. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Camarillo's Colby Stevens is one of a handful of underrated seniors on the undefeated Scorpions, who now face the meat of the schedule starting first with the Friday, Oct. 9, showdown against 5-1 St. Bonaventure (photo by Lorenzo Reyna). 
As we continue our series called “Gold Mine at the half,” it’s time to see what teams and prospects have stood out between the 805 to San Diego through the first few games.

One undefeated team in Santa Barbara County has been a pleasant surprise. Another Central Coast team has unleashed a scorpion invasion on the region’s top teams. Then there’s the traditional powerhouses in Los Angeles and Orange County that figure to be in the section and state championship mix come November.

Here’s what’s stood out at the half in Southern California:



The last time Santa Ynez High School got off to a fast start, the Pirates had future UCLA offensive lineman Matt Mosebar and Michael Jackson roamed around the nearby Neverland Ranch.

At 6-0, the Pirates have been the feel good story of the 805. They’ve gone from 1-9 last year to a dark horse Los Padres League championship pick.

Helping power the Pirates’ turnaround is quarterback Tanner Shean, who has completed 74.2% of his throws with nine touchdown passes and no interceptions. The most dynamic athlete on the SY roster is Austin Vreeland.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Vreeland - who is an offspring from the popular Vreeland Ford Dealership household - has been all gas, no breaks with 993 total yards and 12 touchdowns.

The defense is led by rising junior Michael McCoy, who has a team-high three interceptions and four pass deflections.


In years past, the chatter down in Ventura County always centered on how well St. Bonaventure, Westlake and Oaks Christian were doing…and how Camarillo football was overlooked.

But now, the 5-0 Scorpions have a vice grip on the 805 rankings – and eyeing a possible perfect regular season.

A balanced and college football fast offense has averaged 46 points per game with quarterback Jake Constantine dropping bombs, running back Isaiah Otis overpowering defenses and a deep core of wide receivers who have proven to be unguardable.

Defensively, the Scorps are just as fast like their offensive counterparts. Defensive end Bronson Smith sets the tone, while linebackers Brett Triebold, Brett Herron and safety Collin Kirksey are the wild ones getting unleashed on blitzes.

Here comes the fun part for the Scorps: a brutal second half schedule beginning first with St. Bonaventure on Friday, Oct. 9, followed by future meetings with Calabasas, Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks.

If Cam survives the second half of the season, you could be looking at the CIF Southern Section Northern Division’s No. 1 seeded team.



Led by a dual-threat at quarterback in Quentin Davis, a future PAC-12 running back in Sean McGrew and a talented receiving core, St. John Bosco has moved along nicely from the illustrious Josh Rosen era; by starting 5-0 and earning a No. 3 ranking in the Max Preps state poll.

Davis has accounted for 1,507 yards, 14 touchdown passes and one interception. McGrew, who committed to Washington in May 2015, has 584 yards on 61 carries, giving him an average of 9.6 yards per carry. The trio of Devin Fleming, Kristian Gilbert and Jared Harrell have a combined 53 catches and 891 yards in the first five games.

Heavyweight battles loom in the next two Fridays for Bosco, beginning first with Rancho Santa Margarita on Oct. 9 and then the big one on Oct. 16 at Mater Dei of Santa Ana.


Arleta High’s Isaiah Gable and Felix Vega both stand at 5-foot-5, but with the way they’re carrying undefeated Arleta, you can tell their hearts are as big as a Los Angeles skyscraper.

The pint sized backs have combined for 1,088 yards and 15 touchdowns for the 5-0 Mustangs, who are currently Max Preps’ No. 1 ranked team in the Los Angeles City Section Division I standings.



It’s one thing to be the starting quarterback at traditional state power Mater Dei. But when you’re a freshman guiding Mater Dei to an undefeated run, colleges are going to have a blast making an early run at you.

That’s the case with J.T. Daniels, who is listed as a freshman but has 1,018 yards, 14 touchdowns and only one interception.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Daniels already has Miami and USC expressing early interest. He took over for the injured Matthew McDonald, who broke his left arm in the 35-14 victory over Tesoro on Sept. 5.



Daniels isn’t the only freshman quarterback on varsity who’s setting defenses on fire. So is Cajon (San Bernardino) frosh sensation Jayden Daniels.

Through five games, Daniels has thrown for 1,250 yards, 17 touchdowns and one pick for the undefeated Cowboys. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound quarterback also has two rushing touchdowns.

He’s led Cajon to four consecutive lopsided wins, with the Cowboys beating their last four teams by an average margin of 48.75 points.


One year ago, Centennial High was blasted in the CIF State Open Division title game 63-42 against De La Salle.

Now, the Huskies sit at the top of the Max Preps state rankings by unleashing an offensive stampede.

This year’s Huskies have pounded state powerhouses Serra of Gardena (52-13) and Orange Lutheran (35-14) en route to the unbeaten start. A balanced offense has been led by dual-threat quarterback Anthony Catalano (1,254 all-purpose yards, 15 touchdowns), Arizona commit J.J. Taylor at running back (620 yards, 12 touchdowns) and 4-star wideout Javon McKinley (15 catches, 416 yards and four scores).



From 2007-14, El Camino (Oceanside) had trouble with getting past the eight win threshold.

But now, the 5-0 Wildcats are not only half way toward regular season perfection, but find themselves among three teams in the San Diego Section D-I standings that hold an undefeated record.

Sophomore Chris Brown has revved up the running game. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has 323 yards and three touchdowns; plus had his first 100-yard game of the season against San Pasqual, which was a 12 carry, 113-yard night.

John Armentrout should be in the conversation for top San Diego County player. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior has been EC’s most reliable weapon in all three sides of the field. Offensively, he’s tops in receiving with 20 catches, 295 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, he’s the Wildcats top aerial snatcher with five interceptions. Then on special teams, he has 192 yards on kick and punt returns.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Shurod Thompson flexes his biceps in an Oregon State uniform during his September visit to the PAC-12 university. Thompson, who once committed early to Cal, decided that the Beavers will be his collegiate team after verbally committing to Oregon State on Monday, Oct. 5 (photo credit: Shurod Thompson). 
Shurod Thompson – a versatile, athletic and hard-nosed safety once committed to Cal – has now landed in Corvallis after announcing that he’s made a verbal pledge to Oregon State on Monday, Oct. 5.

The move to land the 4-star Thompson is a golden one for the Beavers, especially after pilfering one other 4-star safety on Sept. 24 from Midland, TX: Sealy High stud Christian Wallace.

Thompson is listed as the state of California’s third best safety according to Fox Sports recruiting website If you’re a Beaver fan and you love defense, there’s four things to like about the Liberty (Brentwood) senior:

1) Size wise, Thompson is a big, lurking safety patrolling the middle of the field. At 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, he’s already built to play college ball.

2) Thompson is a cerebral defender. In the first five seconds of his junior highlight film, Thompson is shown lining up over the top of the inside slot receiver on his left hand side. However, after the ball is snapped, he abandons his side of the field and immediately treks to the middle, where he reads the drag route and steps in front of the intended receiver for the easy pick six.

3) Thompson is an instinctive player. He follows the football and will either bury the ball carrier onto the sprint turf or stretch out his hands to take the interception.

4) Finally, Thompson is the kind of safety you don’t want to take out during goal line situations, even when defenses load up on defensive tackles and linebackers in that scenario. Thompson plays up to the line and disrupts the easy 1-yard scoring run.

The key now for the Beavers and head coach Gary Andersen is keeping Thompson in Corvallis between now and National Signing Day come Feb. 2016. But in the meantime, Oregon State’s newest pledge for the Class of 2016 is a big-time hire, especially for a team that landed one other tall, athletic safety. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Ryan Robards exploded with six touchdowns against the always formidable Grant Pacers on Oct. 2. The dynamic Robards is a big reason behind Elk Grove High's fast start (photo credit Brian Baer). 
Most teams have now completed five or six games, which signifies that we’ve reached halftime of the 2015-16 football season.

Some teams have lived up to expectations, others have come out of nowhere and then there’s the teams heading toward a downward spiral. In the process, there’s players who are not only instrumental in their teams’ development, but have risen their recruiting stock value in the process.

Here’s some gold mine thoughts from the Northern part of the state:



The Thundering Herd have placed the Sac-Joaquin Section on notice, following its masterful 42-7 trouncing over traditional state heavyweight Grant on Oct. 2, placing EG at 6-0 overall.

And the ‘Herd plastered the mighty Pacers behind a star’s performance that looked reminiscent of a young Lance Briggs in an EG uniform.

Ryan Robards took the air out of Grant with six touchdowns – three of them rushing, two on defense, one on a punt return – and blistered Grant with 176 rushing yards. The Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson pointed out a similar epic night from Briggs back in 1998: when the NFL All-Pro ran for 320 yards and six touchdowns in EG’s 77-21 rout of Atwater.

Robards has reportedly had a quiet recruiting period, with the University of Pacific surfacing as the only college showing interest in him as a baseball player. On the football field, though, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Robards is EG’s most dynamic playmaker and now has 932 yards with 13 rushing touchdowns.


The Bulldogs continue to put their paws down on any challenger in the state, as Folsom is not only 6-0, but has won 37 straight regular season games.

Folsom has transitioned nicely from the Jake Browning era with senior Jake Jeffrey at the controls. Jeffrey has thrown 1,525 yards, 18 touchdowns and just two picks through the first six games. The 6-foot, 180-pounder has impressed as a runner too, with 299 rushing yards and four scores.

Tre Green is emerging as Folsom’s most underrated college prospect. Green is not only providing balance for Folsom’s pass-happy offense with 358 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, he came home to a Cal Poly offer on Oct. 3.



De La Salle doesn’t look like it was fazed by the opening loss to Trinity (TX), as the Spartans have won four in a row behind the electrifying legs of Antoine Custer and Andrew Hernandez.

Custer, who holds four offers including a Washington State pledge, leads DLS with 573 yards and five touchdowns. Hernandez has 531 yards and four touchdowns in the DLS running game.

Both are diminutive but explosive backs who come equipped with a fast second gear.


Antioch High – once 1-9 in 2013 – is now halfway toward a possible undefeated regular season with a fast 5-0 start.

Energizing the Panthers’ turnaround is current Alabama pledge Najee Harris, who is listed by several recruiting outlets as the nation’s top recruit for the 2017 class. Harris has run through, around and over defenders with 1,122 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Another 2017 player to watch is tight end/defensive end Joey Gray, who has done his most damage on defense. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Gray has 16 tackles and a team-high five sacks.



One Clovis school located on Fowler Ave. has been ranked No. 1 in the area throughout the year. The other school off of East Teague Ave. is trying to recapture its championship glory days in football.

Clovis High and Clovis West are a combined 8-1 heading into the brutal Tri-River Athletic Conference slate. By surviving the next four games, the annual Water Bucket game on Nov. 6 could be for the TRAC title – and possibly the top seed in the Central Section Division I playoffs.

Clovis has won with last minute heroics on offense or a rampaging defense. While national recruits Coltin Velasquez and J.J. Wills have carved up secondaries, the play of rising star quarterback Sean Kuenzinger has been the feel-good story at CHS. The little-known senior has 1,339 yards, 17 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Defense remains a staple at Clovis with Josh Hokit, Jared Hill, Tanner Rice and Trevor Hartmann all averaging above 7.6 tackles per game

Clovis West, which endured three sub .500 seasons following its 2010 section title run, has created new enthusiasm under second-year coach George Petrissans.

The Petrissans-led Golden Eagles have taken down traditional powers Merced and Edison to lead into their 3-1 start. While Clovis West is powered by the big plays of UCLA wide receiver commit Darian Owens and 5-star linebacker prospect Caleb Kelly, CW has a future college football talent on its hands with sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound dual-threat combined for 286 yards and three touchdowns against an always stout and feisty Edison defense. He could emerge as CW’s most wanted quarterback prospect since Jeff Tuel.


It’s one thing to start the season 5-0, but when your team beats city bosses Liberty and Bakersfield High, that’s when you know life is good for Ridgeview.

The Wolf Pack have taken down both powerhouses by a combined score of 56-24. A high-powered running attack led by Darius Smith, Lawrence White and Jamar Moya have made the difference for the defending section D-II champs. The trio has combined for 846 yards and 16 touchdowns in the first five games.

While White is considered the Pack’s top recruit after landing six offers and committing to Iowa State earlier in the week, Smith has to be the biggest sleeper. Despite his 5-foot-7 frame, Smith is a lightning bolt with the ball in his hands proven by his track background and 4.5 40-yard dash time. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Grant's DeShawn Collins has run wild on defenses this year for the undefeated Pacers. He figures to carry the load once again for Grant's huge city showdown with Elk Grove on Friday, Oct. 2 (photo contributed). 
It’s a heavyweight showdown in the state capitol, as the battle of Sacramento supremacy takes place between Elk Grove and Grant.

While the Thundering Herd lost last year’s meeting to Grant 26-19, Elk Grove has taken the last three of four meetings. This year’s game will likely feature lots of punishing runs and two-headed backfields.

Here’s a breakdown:

ABOUT THE THUNDERING HERD: Elk Grove has had four lopsided victories to start the year, with all of its games decided by 31, 27, 34 and 55 points.

A powerful running attack is the reason behind Elk Grove’s scoring outburst. The Herd is averaging 283.5 rushing yards per game and has scored 15 touchdowns through the ground game. Leading the charge is senior Ryan Robards and his 756 yards with 10 touchdowns. He’s also an ace in the classroom with a 3.8 grade point average. Fellow senior Julius Fullah provides depth in the EG backfield with 246 yards and four touchdowns. He's also one of EG's top cover cornerbacks on defense. 

On the receiving end, junior Gavin Reinwald is EG’s go-to-guy with team high’s in catches (13), yards (230) and touchdowns (three).

In the trenches, big 6-foot, 265-pound senior Lau Ta’amu sets the tone on both lines. At guard, Ta'amu is reliable on pulling plays where he removes the outside threat away from the running back. Defensively, he leads EG with three sacks and has 18 total tackles. 

The EG secondary has nine interceptions so far this year. 

ABOUT THE PACERS: With the exception of the 21-14 nail biter against Bullard (Fresno) on Sept. 12, the Pacers have also enjoyed one-sided victories en route to a 4-0 start.

Like EG, Grant relies on two backs to take the oxygen away from defenses. Leading the way is national recruit DeShawn Collins. Forget about the senior’s 5-foot-9, 190-pound frame, Collins is a lightning bolt when he sees an open hole and is one of the hardest running backs in the state to catch up to. Not only that, he's improved his power, proven by bulldozing two defenders at the 14 second mark of his senior film. He currently holds a Northern Colorado offer and has had Ivy League schools asking about him. He leads Grant with 756 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

Spelling Collins is fellow senior Michael Green II, who is second on the Pacers with 370 yards and four touchdowns. The main lead blocker for the Grant running game is guard Soape Tupou, who got offered by UCLA in February 2015.

Tupou also anchors the defensive line with his 6-foot-4, 300-pound frame. Defensive end David Moala leads the pass rush with four sacks.

BEST MATCH UP: Ryan Robards versus Soape Tupou. Whoever gets the better of this running back/defensive lineman duel will likely open things up for their unit. Tupou has made his living on defense by feasting on running backs, while Robards wears down the trenches with his running.

DON’T SLEEP ON: LAWRENCE HARDY. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior gets plenty of touches at wide receiver, running back and as a return ace for Grant. He has 230 all-purpose yards through four games.

GAME INFORMATION: Kickoff is 7:15 p.m. at Grant High School. 


Chris Jellison of Santa Barbara High tries to elude past a Rio Mesa defender during the Dons' 47-45 loss on Sept. 18. Jellison has become one to watch for the Central Coast's 2017 class (photo by Lorenzo Reyna). 
He goes by the nickname “Tick,” but Chris Jellison of Santa Barbara High reminds people that his other name has nothing to do with the arachnid, even with his small frame of 5-foot-10, 170-pounds.

Jellison would rather be known as the tick who burned defenses with his routes and big plays; which he has done for the Dons and has now earned a “Rising Star Watch” label from Cali Gold Mine.

What makes him the receiver that he is? Time to break down:

WHAT TO LIKE: Shows a burst after the catch, then slips by defenders like an ice cube on the kitchen floor. Has excellent concentration for the football when defenders play aggressively close to him in man schemes. A reliable deep threat who knows how to get open. Fluid route runner.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: Has to show an ability to make the catches away from his body. Need to see his ability to fight off jams consistently, but most of the time he lines up in the slot, which makes it hard for defenses to allow its defenders to play up to him. I’ll have to see his blocking ability in the run game. His speed can always improve - currently runs a 4.64 40-yard dash time according to his Hudl account.

OVERALL: Jellison has emerged as the Julian Edelman for the Dons’ offense, which operates with mainly three or four wide receiver sets. His head coach J.T. Stone called Jellison “A big time prospect.” He’s Santa Barbara’s most explosive option at receiver right now.

More on Jellison can be seen here.