Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Will anyone go their "route?"

contributed photo
The Southern California region has long been the one stopping area for recruiters and college football programs to pick up all the necessary items they feel they need on their trip to a championship.

However, along with the guys who play for the likes of Long Beach Poly, Carson, Crenshaw, Monrovia, Dorsey, Loyola, etc., there also tends to be some players in that same So Cal region who may get overlooked.

One position that's heavily deep in this region is the wide receiver spot. I found at least seven different names who may be worth looking at even more and could be some potential sleepers.

Here's what I dug up:


He's actually a former quarterback transitioning to the wide receiver position, and he's starting to pick up interest after a solid performance over at Passing Down's So Cal Regional back in the spring.

So far, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound Swindell has Tulsa and UNLV offers. He's freakishly quick with a 4.3 40-yard dash time for a receiver that tall and physical. Speaking of being physical, he seems to toy with any defensive back who dares to try to jam his strong upper-body at the line, and he's one nasty blocker who can deliver an offensive guard-like pancake block.

He still looks like a guy who can polish his skills as a receiver, especially with being familiar with his routes and the offense. He has shown his catching potential by making the tough sideline grab or even the ones away from his body. He's an effort player who could be due for a breakout season. He's also got the backing from one former Oregon receiving star James Finley.



He's the younger brother of former Washington wide receiver and now Illinois State transfer Marlion Barnett. Much like his brother, this Barnett also brings the size aspect, except Dorion stands at 6-foot-3.

Looking at Barnett, he does the kind of things that gets his sidelines in a frenzy, and the Shark fan base on their feet. For one, he's shown to be a deep threat with his impressive 6-foot-3, 200 pound frame. He's also made the tough sideline grabs, but even shows an elusiveness to beat defenders one-on-one, then out-sprint people for the lengthy touchdown. He's also got the jump ball aspect down when he's glued to two defenders in the end zone, the same trait that helped turn Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, and now Calvin Johnson into NFL stars.

His size and leaping ability makes him a dangerous red zone target. He's also powerful enough to give defenders a piggy back ride on his back if they try to tackle him. He's even made one-handed grabs in a tight man-to-man coverage. Maybe an area of improvement will be his overall speed, since he's not much of a burner with a 40-time of 4.7. But if that improves, you could be looking at one of the more dangerous wideouts in the Inland Empire. His size, power, and soft hands makes him one to watch.



Savage has two offers in South Dakota State and Eastern Washington. Sherwood is seeking his first. Both, however, have made head-turning plays, especially one of them at the Passing Down So Cal regional.

The 6-foot-1, 190 pound Savage is an explosive target who averaged over 23 yards per catch and seven touchdowns. He has very smooth feet, can haul in the tough middle reception, and can even break tackles like a glorified running back. He's got quality wheels on him thanks to his 4.5 40-yard dash time. He's also a willing blocker who stays on his defender and can even shove them out-of-bounds.

Sherwood tends to get picked on by some defenses because of his small size. But then the 5-foot-7 slot man picks on defenses with his stunning big-play potential. He had defenses fooled on wheel and screen routes as his 7-on-7 team won the So Cal regional title back in April. He's a Danny Woodhead type who can be utilized in a variety of ways. He also shows to be unafraid of going inside on short routes, and still breaking tackles for the long touchdown reception as proven by his highlight video. Sherwood scored 10 total touchdowns receiving and running last season for Damien.

These are two explosive wide receivers who aren't even the protypical playmakers colleges mainly look for. A big senior year for both could make them get more love on the scholarship front. They're a very underrated wide receiver duo in the L.A region and both run a 4.5 40 time.




Clark is one of many weapons at the disposal of Washington commit and highly-touted quarterback Troy Williams.

The tall 6-foot-1, 180 pound Clark is a blazing route runner who even has a leap to his catching ability. He caught just 32 passes and four touchdowns for Narbonne, but he averaged over 17 yards per catch for the Gauchos.

Clark has the speed to create separation and space between his defenders. He's also got some elusiveness in him. So far, New Mexico State is his lone offer. But an increase in numbers, especially with Troy Williams looking to improve even more his senior year could mean a breakout season for Clark.



Karsh comes from an area that has often been heavily overlooked in the southern section, the Central Coast region.

The dynamic wide receiver, though, has become active this off-season thanks to both Passing Down and the Fresno State camp, and the potential is there for him to become perhaps the most explosive wide receiver in the 805 region.

Karsh is already a speed demon with soft hands. He scored points with me though because of how smooth his feet are when going down field and even breaking off of defenders for the extra yards. He's a tough, competitive spirit who even has enough size and jumping ability to be a red zone target. He totaled nine touchdowns as a receiver and return specialist.

I can't think of any real downsides to him, other than the fact that maybe he's barely six feet tall and maybe the team he played on was 3-7 in 2011. However, he lead his team in receptions, yards and tied the lead for touchdown receptions in a spread offense. Maybe a mid-major who runs a spread offense can look into him, especially if he has an even bigger 2012.



Terry (photo) is probably also facing the dilemma of not being big enough to be a wide receiver.

That changes though with his speed and competitive attitude.

On defense, Terry (5-foot-9, 160 pounds) gets low enough to make the necessary stops from his cornerback spot. He'll latch onto a defender and won't let go, plus he'll use his size to his advantage to make his stops. His defenders on defense also have a hard time trying to keep him at bay with his speed and route-running. He's capable of making the 15-50 yard grab for the first down. He's also an effective end around guy and a valuable return weapon on kickoffs. 

Maybe teams are turned off by his size. Or maybe, West Valley didn't use him as much. However, the fact he received an unofficial visit to Oregon does say something about him. If he's used even more, watch out. He could be a potential sleeper in the Inland Empire.


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