Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Prospect watch for week one: Southern Section

Photo courtesy of The Lompoc Record
It's Central versus Southern this week with these highlighted games featuring some PAC-12 commits and some under-the-radar prospects. Here's a closer look:


The Cougars showed last week that last year wasn't a fluke, as they dismantled a talented Edison squad last Friday thanks to another stellar defensive outing. They get one more highly-touted quarterback to contend with this time down south.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR CLOVIS: Adrian Salas had a breakout performance on both sides of the ball, but was especially active on defense with 10 tackles and one interception from his linebacker spot. Salas, who's a 5-foot-10, 185 pound linebacker, could get some looks at safety with his nose for the football and ball skills. Safety Jason Black showed big time ball skills with two interceptions of Khari McGee. Black has garnered interest from mainly Air Force and a few other Mountain West schools. Defensive tackle Nick Nevills brings a nasty motor to the front line that can cause pocket protection to fall apart. C.J Broussard was another player who doubled up as a play-making wide receiver and shutdown cornerback with one interception. If they find ways to humiliate another highly-touted quarterback this week, the curtain might finally be pulled and Clovis could be unveiled as one of the best defenses in the state.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR EL TORO: Conner Manning will look to avoid the kind of performance that Khari McGee endured against this Cougar defense. The Utah commit already got off to a great start with six touchdown passes and 466 yards on 46-of-68 passing. Manning has a deep receiver core, with senior Alec Shoffeit having a career day with 12 catches for 121 yards last week for the Chargers. Dominic Collins, a 6-foot-3, 170 pound junior, had his breakout night with eight receptions for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Blake Murphy had seven catches for 106 yards and two scores in the 47-24 rout over Huntington Beach. Finally, Manning's fourth and last weapon Cody White, a 6-foot-2, 190 pound possession type, hauled in nine catches for 66 yards and one touchdown. White also has the size/speed/height advantage when grabbing the jump ball deep.


In a rare battle between two catholic schools, the brute force of the Panthers takes on the speed and finesse of St. Joseph, who's produced the likes of former San Jose State player Brian Nunez, 2011 Louisiana Tech commit Scott Cathcart and, of course, former NFL All-Pro quarterback Mark Brunell.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR SAN JOAQUIN MEMORIAL: Quarterback Nick Kinder has been very impressive in the classroom, with a grade point average of over 4.0 and the interest of the Ivy Leagues. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound passer might get his true chance of impressing as a quarterback. Kinder has a much younger Panther team and gets his chance to perhaps throw a little more, especially with top running back Chris Brown now carrying the rock at Oregon State. He's impressed people with his ability to adjust his throws versus certain coverages, his improved zip, and his field vision, which could make him one of the better thinking man quarterbacks in the Central Section. Kinder could fit a play-action, pro style offense at the next level.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR ST. JOSEPH: Zak Karsh is on pace for getting over 100 receptions in this spread offense. The leading receiver for the Knights last year already caught 11 passes for 167 yards last week for St. Joseph. Karsh is a smooth route runner who can make all kinds of grabs.


For those in the 805 who gripe that Lompoc High plays too soft of a schedule, and doesn't want to come near the Central Valley, well you finally get your wish, in the form of the Frontier Titans.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR FRONTIER: A clash to watch will be hard-hitting Triton Douglas at linebacker going against elusive and physical Braves running back Lavon Coleman. Douglas brings a mean streak that can energize the Titans. The linebacker and fullback has an Arizona offer and even one from the SEC in Missouri. Eddie Torres and Evan Moore provide strong quarterback depth. Torres is more of the mobile threat while Moore, who's taken unofficial visits to Boise State and Nebraska, has a strong arm. Junior Troy Banks is an emerging star at safety. The 6-foot-tall, 165 pounder has impressed people with his angle pursuits and hip direction. He had one interception in last week's defensive battle with Bakersfield rival Ridgeview.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LOMPOC: The Braves seem to develop a swagger to them once Lavon Coleman gets going. In what was looking like a closely-knitted and boring contest at home last week versus Arroyo Grande, Coleman (photo) broke loose and ran through four tacklers for a 68 yard scamper, and the rest was over with. The Washington commit finished with 17 carries for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-0 rout, which extended Lompoc's win streak to 21 games. Ainuu Taua anchors the lines as a rugged blocking tight end and defensive end for the Braves three-man front. Taua, who now holds six offers after adding Washington, Hawaii and Cal recently, has a relentless motor but tends to dive for ankles while tackling. If he can correct this and regenerate a pass rush, he's due for an even bigger junior year.

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