Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2014 class deep in the trenches for the Central Valley

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna of Mid-Valley Publishing
If there's any college football program looking to add more strength to the defensive line, looks like the Central Section just might be a great place to start.

There's five guys I can think of who bring versatility, size, leverage, and a motor all to the table. Every single one of them aren't even seniors yet, all are 2014 prospects.

Here's a closer look at who I dug up:


It didn't matter if he was lining up at nose tackle or defensive end, Smallwood created so many mismatches and bullied his way to nearly 15 sacks on the Grizzly front three.

At 6-foot-1 and roughly 270 pounds, Smallwood keeps his feet under him and has an improving hand technique. It's his motor, leverage and desire to make plays, though, that won me over. Even at a school with a loaded and renown secondary, Smallwood just might help turn Central-Fresno into a defensive line factory as well. The versatile Smallwood already has a Nevada offer. Maybe another reason why the Grizzlies were so good in the defensive backfield last year was because of Smallwood helping create plays for them with his pursuit towards the quarterback. He'll be one of the better pass rushers and one of the most versatile defensive linemen in the Central Section for the next two years.


An impact player since his freshman season, where he actually landed a starting role with the Broncos' varsity squad, Duran has been one of the main cornerstones on a Clovis North team that won the Division-II Central Section title last season, and appears to be a threat to make a run at the D-I title this upcoming year.

Duran has been the most dominant lineman on both sides of the football for the Broncos. On offense, his run blocking spearheads a pro style attacks that's being run by former NFL safety and Clovis North head coach Cory Hall. It's his play on defense, though, that has me convinced.

Duran has the hands, motor and, thanks to also his wrestling background, a strong lower body that can win the low pad level battle. He has linebacker-like instincts when closing in on quarterbacks and ball carriers. He's bounced between defensive end and tackle at 6-feet, 260 pounds.

One other thing about Duran too, in this video at a Passing Down lineman challenge, Duran also proves to be a workout warrior. Even on a team with San Diego State commit David Wells at tight end and an emerging star quarterback in Christian Rossi, Duran could become the best college football prospect for the Broncos and the top of Clovis North's 2014 class.

MORE ON DURAN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mVD82ojw1M


The Edison 2014 class seems to be in strong hands with Haynes likely leading the Tiger pass rush.

The 6-foot-1, 270 pound Haynes already turned heads in front of Tony Perry, scout.com, and that performance over at the DB guru skills camp earned him a selection to the Proving Ground National Combine, which also is a ticket to the U.S Marines bowl thanks to Haynes showing off stunning feet and athleticism.

When you think about quick feet and the athletic portion, you immediately begin thinking about how he is when it comes to rushing the passer. Haynes has shown good angles and a full-year of being on the Edison front line under first year head coach Ricky Manning can lead to great potential for him. He's already at a high school that's proven time and time again to be a college football factory.


With the departure of Dakota Gordon inside, the Central Section's No.1 ranked defense from last season will likely count on the play of junior Nick Nevills.

He's got more size on him at 285 pounds. He also has shown an explosive first step once the ball moves. His power and leverage also has to come from a wrestling background, since Nevills competed as a state wrestler in his weight class.

Clovis thrived off of speed and running to the football last season, which included their defensive linemen. Nevills, even on a defense with an impressive secondary, could be the hidden gem of this Cougar defense with his brute force, power and motor.


The city of Reedley hasn't always been a hotbed when it comes to getting big-time college football talent. However, something tells me that the 6-foot-3, 290 pound junior just might change things up for the Pirates on the recruiting front.

Espiritu (photo) doubles as the Pirates' center and nose tackle. He's got a nasty streak at both spots and can set the tone for his team. However, it's his defensive game that has me in a situation where I got to keep my eyes on how he progresses.

Already in his second varsity year, Espiritu uses his massive size to occupy a lot of attention, but still have enough force and leverage to create penetration into the backfield. When you block him one-on-one when he's on defense, forget it, he'll either blow past you and eat your running back or just shove you to one side.

His run-stopping ability from his nose tackle spot should be a plus for a team going with mainly a 3-4 look. He'll need to refine his pass rushing skills and hand technique for the next two years. He's got a great opportunity to draw heavy interest if the work, exposure and desire to get better is there.

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