|photo courtesy of scout.com|
Central-Fresno just might very easily bust out a 40 in the secondary--their four defensive backs getting nearly a combined 40 offers that is.
Led by the coaching of well-known Central Valley and even state known defensive back guru Tony Perry, the Grizzlies should once again have one of the most ridiculously talented secondaries not just in the Fresno region, but the entire state.
All four men, including one up-and-coming 2014 prospect, have been offered by more than three schools.
Cali Gold Mine takes a closer look at all of them:
L.J MOORE, CORNERBACK, SENIOR
It won't be hard to miss or even identify Moore on the football field. Just look for No. 2 flying towards the ball, and either going for the turnover or delivering the big hit.
While Hatari Bryd (whom we'll get to soon) just might be the hardest hitter the Grizzlies have, Moore is capable of being the most complete defensive back in Central's secondary.
His size at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds is a plus. His long arms and ability to jam at the line also scored some points. But the other two areas that solidifies the skill set Moore has? His smooth footwork with his backpedal and closing pursuits, and his jumping ability.
Moore (photo), who also was a state track and field qualifier in the high jump, has actually used that leaping and jumping ability to swat down some crucial passes in the closing seconds. He made those game-changing type plays versus Central Section Division-II champion Clovis North in the Grizzlies' regular season win.
Through all the praise people can give Moore, at the end of the day, I'm still a firm believer that he needs to continue to build his craft. Adding bulk to his frame is one area he can certainly build on. Maybe not always buying into the hype and continuing to work on his skill set can be another.
But plain and simple, in the end, you could be looking at the best defensive back in the state. Yes, the state.
HATARI BYRD, SAFETY, SENIOR
Byrd is the most muscular out of the four defensive backs in Central's secondary. He's so big, if you were to place him on Fresno State's secondary depth chart in 2011, the chiseled 6-foot-2, 200 pound safety would have been the biggest and most muscular defensive back the Bulldogs would have, as a high school junior keep in mind.
If that size won't intimate you, maybe his hits will. Bryd is probably Central's knockout artist, who thrives on delivering the punishing blow and getting the straps and helmet to come loose.
Last season though, Bryd appeared to look more like a run-stuffing linebacker from his safety spot. He often bit on plays, and his backpedal wasn't fluid enough to recover. However, his hip flexibility and direction has improved over the summer, and he's even showing his breaks and ball skills in the secondary.
Truth be told, the safety class in California is very loaded, with talented prospects like new USC commit Su'a Cravens, Max Redfield of Mission Viejo (another USC commit), Tyler Foreman of Crespi-Encino, and another highly-touted safety in Tahaan Goodman of Rancho Cucamonga. Bryd, though, also ranks as one of the more sought-after safeties in the state and country with PAC-12 and even SEC schools (Georgia and Ole Miss) offering him.
JOHNNY JOHNSON, SENIOR, CORNERBACK
Might want to remember this name if you attend a Grizzly game this upcoming year.
Yes, Johnson didn't even play the entire season with his last team San Joaquin Memorial during his junior year. So how is it that a kid with limited varsity experience still gets offered by 10 different schools?
Simple, he's showing his skills through his summer work, and his skills have captured a number of BCS schools' attention.
Johnson is already a typical Tony Perry defensive back--he'll press at the line of scrimamge and play very physical. He shows excellent body control when adjusting to different routes, and has enough speed to blanket someone's No. 1 receiver. The downside I can think of for Johnson is he's not the tallest or biggest compared to Moore and Byrd.
But why did I mention remembering his name? Since most Central Valley or Central opponents already know who L.J Moore is from last year, they'll likely try to throw away from him. That could mean a huge breakout year in Johnson's lone season with the Grizzlies.
DEVON BREWER, JUNIOR, SAFETY
The youngest member of the Grizzly secondary already has a bright future, with four offers already on the table.
Brewer was overshadowed by UNLV bound Matt Lea last season, but did show some spurts of what he can do in nickel coverages the Grizzlies had.
Brewer already has excellent size for a junior at 6-feet, 170 pounds. He has good instincts for the ball that can only continue to improve. Brewer, like Johnson, could be in for a huge year if teams also throw the ball away from Central's big safety Hatari Bryd.