Friday, July 13, 2012

Sleeper Signal-Callers

One of the great debates in the world of football is which state produces the best talent on the field.

For Alabama, their bragging right is the fact their top two college football programs have won the last three national championships with mostly in-state prospects. For Florida, they seem to always believe that speed kills and the Sunshine State has all the burners. For Texas, a state that loves boasting about how everything is big around there also believes that football was born there.

Not to brag about my home state, but as of 2011, California has actually produced the most NFL talent. If you don't believe me, know that DeSean Jackson (Long Beach), Marshawn Lynch (Oakland), Jared Allen (Los Gatos), Troy Polamalu (Garden Grove), Tom Brady (San Mateo), Aaron Rodgers (Chico) as well as NFL legends Marcus Allen (San Diego), Troy Aikman (West Covina), Daryle Lamonica (Clovis), and Lorenzo Neal (Hanford) are among the handful of talent California has produced.

Yet, no matter what state you're from, I'm a firm believer that you don't need to be a huge star in a city like Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco to get recognized. The same should be the case for Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio in Texas, or Miami, Orlando and Tampa Bay for Florida.

That being said, there's been a number of talented players from small areas outside of the big cities that should be getting offers at their door on the recruiting trail, but seem to be overlooked. Most of these young men I've not only seen under the lights, but also through tagging along with Passing Down.

Here's some of those players at QB I can think of:

Contributed photo

Corbin is teammates to Kevin Palma, a versatile tight end/outside linebacker who has captivated the attention of UCLA, Oregon State, Colorado, Fresno State and eight other schools all on the offer front. Palma even showed his rare skills as a tight end at a football championship tournament I attended while in Santa Maria. But guess who was making Palma into a tight end star? The man throwing it his way.

If Palma can gain the attention of many schools, so should a young 6-foot-4, 195 pound kid with a 4.2 grade point average, an ability to run and roll out thanks to his basketball background, and what I feel is one of the strongest arms in the Central Valley, perhaps the state too.

Quinonez went wild with the deep ball, and even out-dueled Cal commit Jared Goff in a recent 7-on-7 camp. Even without Palma recently, Quinonez continued his deep zip at the Redwood High Tournament in Visalia's Mineral King Bowl. Along with his summer work, Quinonez was also the quarterback who helped give Mission Oak their first-ever winning season in 2011.

Quinonez (photo) has the look of a pro style quarterback with his ability to set the play action up and go deep. Polishing his mobility and becoming faster on the run is one issue that can be worked on. As of now, its just San Jose State in contact with him, but no offer has been made. A huge senior season, including a valley title, should see a flock of schools though.

More on Corbin can be found here:
 and here:


Smith, like Quinonez, has hit the ground running during the summer, with a strong desire to land offer No. 1. After not only looking at his films, but also exchanging messages with him, I'm very perplexed with how a young quarterback with nearly 20 letters is yet to land a single offer.

The 6-foot-3, 195 pound Smith though sounds like he's not too distraught over that. He tells me that's added motivation for him. But he's also told me that he wants to focus on his weaknesses so they can become strengths, surround himself with people who want a bright future, and even emerge as the top student-athlete in his graduating class through his academics.

His attitude is a plus. And if colleges are overlooking that, than they may regret overlooking his on the field potential. What I saw from his films was a kid with a smooth zip to his throws, a deep ball that can make you drop your popcorn while jumping in the stands with excitement, and even a running ability that can hurt defenses when Smith isn't throwing the ball.

As of now, a trip was made to Portland State on an unofficial visit. Maybe the Vikings will come through. Truth be told though, there should be more. A huge senior year could finally get perhaps the best kept secret in the L.A prep football scene to finally be heard.



Though Greenlee actually has an offer from Fresno State, he's impressed enough people over the summer to land more than just one offer.

Much like these other two quarterbacks, Greenlee is another play-action, deep ball type. Greenlee though looks more like a pocket passer, since he hasn't been seen much with taking off and running. While I do like his arm strength and his reads, an ability to make the quick throws will have to be needed if he ends up playing in the spread offense that the Bulldogs are trying to implement.



He only started seven games for the Scorpions, but his worse performance was a 240 yard outing with three interceptions, and he still threw four touchdown passes in that 36-29 win over Channel Islands. All other games, Valdez passed for 300-400 yards.

Valdez picked up Camarillo's pass-happy approach right away, so that's a plus. He can also spread the ball around, with ten different receivers catching his passes last year.

One thing to pinpoint though is that Valdez has this awkward looking lunge forward type set up when dropping back. Before releasing his throw, the right-hander was caught lunging forward while putting weight on his left leg. Foot work and his set up will likely need refining this upcoming year. Another area of concern will likely be his size (6-feet, 175 pounds).

Still though, Valdez showed to be a big-time performer in the 805. He threw 34 touchdowns in seven games. That number could go up with a full year and more knowledge of Camarillo's down field passing attack during his senior season. At the most, he has the look of a mid-major quarterback. He could be perfect for someone like June Jones at SMU, who's done very nicely with undersized quarterbacks who throw all day.


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