Sunday, October 28, 2012

An emerging big man in the state capitol

Contributed photo
When teams have gone against Burbank-Sacramento's defense, not one has been able to break the 30-point mark.

Maybe its the massive size that the Titans (9-0) have in the front four. Or maybe, its the presence of imposing 6-foot-3, 275-pound Feaumoengalu (Ngalu) Tapa.

The 2014 prospect is carving out a name for himself up in the Sac-Joaquin Section. While his first name seems to be a mouthful, he's been a handful for opposing offenses.

After watching him on film, Tapa has a defensive line motor that four-year schools should love. He may not be the fastest player on the field, but he won't stop moving his legs until the whistle blows after what I saw.

What I also got was a powerful defensive player with a push. He'll look as if he's drive blocking an offensive tackle, when the offensive guy should be driving him. His brute force on the outside helps clog the perimeters. Yet, Tapa isn't just a space eater at defensive end, he's emerging as a legit run-stopping and pass rushing force for Burbank.

He already has four games of 12 tackles or more. His better games were against traditional Sacramento-area powerhouses Grant and Del Oro-Loomis, especially with getting six sacks total in those contests. In nine games, he's reached 15 sacks and he's forced two fumbles.

He'll need to get better about using different hand techniques instead of relying on strength and power in the future. He also tends to bite on plays and can over pursue. However, Tapa has been playing at a level that should get someone convinced, especially with his size and motor.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Marquee matchups centrally located

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
It seems like its been awhile since I've done this, but with two huge games in the high school scene in my backyard and one down in the Central Coast, I couldn't resist.

Time to highlight two marquee games that will have league and state bowl game implications for both the high school and junior college scene:

High School


The Broncos have been rolling and they recently took down a Central-Fresno team that many thought was the Central Section's No.1 squad in their 50-7 onslaught. Clovis North, however, will have to contend with a dangerous Cougars team who's never lost to Clovis North in their program history. On top of that, Clovis has also claimed quality victories against some of the Central Section's best in Edison, Centennial-Bakersfield, Central-Fresno and Stockdale-Bakersfield.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR CLOVIS NORTH: There's size, speed and pure nastiness across the board and it begins on the lines. Junior offensive tackle Kyle Riddering (6-foot-6, 220-pounds) has the potential to be the most athletically gifted lineman to ever come out of the young Clovis North football program. Versatile lineman Isaiah Duran (6-foot-1, 245-pounds) helps set the tone on both lines with his power and mean streak. Massive sophomore Jacob Daniel (6-foot-5, 300-pounds) is a potential match up nightmare for offensive linemen and running backs picking up the rush on pass plays, because of Daniel's imposing size and physical nature. Tall and strong Josh Lovingood (6-foot-5, 250-pounds) doubles as a road clearer on offense and space eater at defensive end. He's up to three offers with Fresno State his latest one. In the skill areas, quarterback Christian Rossi showed an even faster mobility in him against Central, as he avoided several late blitzes the Grizzlies threw at him. San Diego State commit David Wells brings a valuable security blanket and red zone target at 6-foot-5, 215-pounds. The Bronco running game is the heart and soul of the offense with gritty senior Carson Guzman (5-foot-8, 175-pounds) and versatile sophomore Bolu Olurunfunmi (5-foot-11, 190-pounds) punishing and running around defenders. On defense, outside linebacker Hayden Haupt (photo) is emerging as a rising pass-rusher with his explosive first step and closing pursuits. The secondary also has a capable playmaker in senior Mark Rassamni at safety, who has a good nose for the football.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR CLOVIS: The Cougars have the potential to turn this into a low-scoring affair with the defense they have. The speed they bring can force lots of turnovers. Senior Adrian Salas is a do-everything type who has nine touchdowns running and receiving, plus 5.3 tackles per game at his safety spot. Some of the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Salas' highlights include an interception against Edison-Fresno's highly-touted quarterback Khari McGee and 12 tackles in the 15-12 upset at Central-Fresno. Up front, rugged 6-foot-3, 245-pound Nick Nevills could have a physical confrontation with Clovis North's Duran. Nevills has a quick explosion off the line once the ball moves and brings powerful force when dealing with blockers. He's leading the Cougars with five sacks so far this season. Cornerback C.J Broussard (6-feet, 180-pounds) remains Clovis' top lockdown guy with his arms and an improved ability to jam receivers at the line. Safety Jason Black, who's drawn heavy interest from the Mountain West, is a threat to take one back on interceptions. The three-year varsity letterman has also blocked a field goal this season.

Junior College


The Pirates have been one of the best surprises in the junior college football scene and are one of four teams not only undefeated, but having their sights set on a state championship. Looking to play spoiler, though, is a Bulldog team at Righetti High School's football stadium with one of the most dangerous running backs in the J.C scene.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR VENTURA: Ebahn Feathers hasn't been spectacular, but he's done enough to help key the Pirates' success. The former Fresno State commit has 16 touchdowns through the air and three more rushing. His completion percentage, though, will have to improve since its at 56.6 percent. But in the end, his play has made the Pirates move very quick offensively. Emerging freshman Dylan McDaniel is a dangerous speed demon and the Pirates' best deep threat. He's very deadly after the catch and can also break tackles. On defense, cornerback Drek Reid is the team's top playmaker with four picks. Even at 5-foot-10, Reid has a wide receiver vertical jump and is a ferocious hitter who's drawn interest from the Mountain West and PAC-12.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR ALLAN HANCOCK: The Bulldogs have been known for pounding the ball with the running attack, but Cameron Artis-Payne just may be the best to ever come out of AHC's backfield. His most recent outing saw 32 carries, four touchdowns and 351-yards versus traditional state power Pasadena College. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Payne is a bruiser and outside threat, plus he's up to four offers including Washington and Utah. Wide receiver Nicko Shellow is a tall, physical and speedy threat who has three 100-yard games this season. He does tend to extend the ball dangerously away from his body after a catch. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound freshman, however, is still freakishly athletic and strong.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Versatile Vinson

It doesn't matter if he lines up at wide receiver or if he'll return kicks, either Merced College wants to get the football to Tyrell Vinson, or opponents hope he doesn't touch the football.

Its because Vinson has emerged as one of the more dangerous wide receiver/return man combinations in the state junior college football season.

Despite Merced being 2-6 overall, the Blue Devils has seen a spark in the offense with the 6-feet, 185-pound Vinson getting the ball in his hands. In the last two games, Vinson caught six passes for 202 yards and a touchdown versus Chabot College, then followed that performance up with his nine catch, 164-yard day versus Reedley College this past Saturday.

On returns, Vinson averages 25.5 yards per kick, so one reason for Merced's offensive success also stems from the field positioning Vinson puts his team in. On the year, he has 43 receptions, 796-yards, five touchdowns and an average of 18.5 yards per catch and 408 return yards.

His speed is one explanation for his big-play ability. He has an explosive get-off from the line and the last thing any defense needs is to see him in a one-on-one matchup, because Vinson will win that battle with his speed and hands.

I was also impressed with how gritty he is. He has a running back-like ability with the football as he's shown to break tackles and keep his legs pumping for the end zone, even with two defenders latched on to him. He seems unafraid to go across the middle, so he also has a possession ability to his game.

Vinson told me that so far, East Carolina and Fresno State are two schools who have shown interest. While he's not the tallest wide receiver and has trouble fighting double coverage when the ball's thrown his way, Vinson is still a big-play waiting to happen - regardless if he's on offense or special teams.


Driven by horsepower

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
No one in the California prep football scene seems to be making a bigger statement than a school that had their first varsity football season just four seasons ago.

All Clovis North (8-0 overall) has done is win the Central Section Division-II championship in 2011, then rout three different powerhouses this year in Buhach Colony-Atwater (ended 23-game regular season win streak), Frontier-Bakersfield and back on Thursday, a deep and loaded Central-Fresno squad with a 50-7 score.

Looking at the Broncos for the first time since the Fresno State football camp, this team isn't just fast, they're physical and young. They not only overwhelm their opponents with their speed, but also their physical nature under head coach and former NFL safety Cory Hall.

Hall's team is now getting noticed in the high school football scene. The same is the case for his hard-hitting defense that's not only full of young talent, but looks ahead of their peers.

Along with some notable defenders, I came up with five players total to keep an eye out for on the recruiting trail for Clovis North:


With his hard nosed running style at 5-foot-11, 192-pounds, Olurunfunmi brings a change-of-pace option in the Clovis North backfield. But against Central's talented defense, the sophomore showed an elusive side to him, as he often made cuts to the left then had the Grizzlies running from behind. He scored three touchdowns in the Thursday game on just nine carries and 64 yards. As a sophomore, he has the potential to become the most complete running back ever produced at Clovis North. He could be the top running back in the 2015 class for the Central Section.



While Olurunfunmi and senior Carson Guzman punish the trenches in the running attack, Riddering is one of two key linemen that helps spring them loose. Riddering is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound tackle with some smooth feet and an improved run block from his sophomore season. He'll need to bulk up after the season, but his athleticism has given pass rushers fits this season.


While Riddering brings the most size and athleticism, Duran brings the mean streak on both Bronco lines. He's a fierce competitor with a motor that stops after the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Duran blows defensive linemen off the ball in the run game with his low pad level and upper body strength. On defense, he's creating a push that can make running lanes congested and life miserable for quarterbacks looking to throw. Duran is also a star wrestler at Clovis North, so that should explain his ability to stay low and push people around. He's a fierce run-stuffer and could be a valuable nose tackle in the 3-4 real soon, or a 3-technique defensive tackle in a four man front.



Daniel already looks like he can play college football, since he's 6-foot-5, 300-pounds. Funny thing is, he plays like he can be at the collegiate level with his size and power. The massive Daniel occupies plenty of space for the Bronco defense. He helped collapsed the pocket in his last game versus Central. He and Duran provide a deadly 1-2 punch on the interior line for the Broncos.


While Duran and Daniel bring the muscle up front for the Bronco defense, Haupt (No. 30 in the photo) brings the heat from his outside spot. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Haupt has a viscous first step and with his closing speed, he's in front of a quarterback in just 1-2 seconds, which was evident against Central as he came in untouched on at least three different occasions. Haupt will obviously need bulk, but he's a good-sized linebacker for a sophomore and he could become the fastest linebacker in the Central Section soon. One reason for that is Haupt does speed training with former NFL and Sacramento State wide receiver Elon Paige during the off-season.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

East heading the Ivy leagues

Contributed photo
One of the more underrated prospects in the Central Valley and California was good enough to get noticed by the Ivy Leagues - and now Buchanan-Clovis versatile weapon Billy East is Yale bound.

East, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back/wide receiver held four different offers including Cornell, Northern Arizona and Eastern Washington. But the Bears star will look to carry the ball for the Yale Bulldogs.

East is used in a variety of ways for Buchanan. Through seven games, he has nine combined touchdowns running and receiving. He had a 24 carry, 206-yard and four touchdown outing in a 28-14 victory over Porterville on Sept. 7, then had four receptions for 100 yards and a score versus a loaded Central-Fresno defense. Including punt and kickoff returns, East has a combined 1,164 yards from scrimmage.

Yale should love his breakaway speed and vision with the football in his hand. Bulldog fans may also be surprised how gritty East is, since he's also shown a determined running style where he won't go down on first contact.

East was practically a hidden gem in the Central Section. Maybe now, with his Yale commitment, East will get recognized as a potential future game breaker for the Ivy Leagues.


Monday, October 15, 2012

The JUCO scene: week eight

Photo courtesy of Lee Central Coast Newspapers
Here's what stood out on the junior college level from Saturday:

--Much like how his late uncle Junior Seau terrorized opposing ball carriers, Ian Seau is doing his part at striking fear into quarterbacks at Grossmont College. Seau, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound versatile demon rusher collected three more sacks and tallied 11 tackles in the 26-23 victory over Golden West College. Seau also forced a fumble and recovered one. The former Kansas State commit returned to his home region because of the stories of him not liking being far away from home. Now, with 16.5 sacks through seven games, maybe a stateside four-year institution, especially Big East bound and nearby San Diego State can try and pursue him. He'll fit perfectly for a 3-4 as an outside linebacker.

--Though his team lost, Allan Hancock College-Santa Maria running back Cameron Artis-Payne has put together a dazzling year. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back is becoming one of the most highly coveted prospects to ever come out of the 805 junior college, thanks to 135 carries, 1,116 yards, an average of 8.3 yards per carry, 14 rushing touchdowns and, in all six games for the Bulldogs, his lowest rushing output was 125-yards versus Cerritos College on Saturday in the 55-25 defeat. Artis-Payne (photo) combines as a north-south grinder and a breakaway threat to go the distance with his 4.5 40-yard dash speed. His combination of burst, vision, power and determined running makes him one of the top running backs in the state J.C scene. He's also getting the attention of Utah and Washington now of the PAC-12.

--Another running back starting to get attention is Kristoffer Olugbode of San Francisco City College. He's another speed demon on the field, but his power and inside running has improved as the year progresses on for the 6-0 defending state champions. His most recent outing saw an average of 4.4 yards per carry on 28 carries, 124-yards and two touchdowns. His last game was a 31-carry, 216-yard and five touchdown game against previous unbeaten American River College. Kind of skeptic how a guy from state power Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, who drew the interest of Washington and a slew of PAC-12 schools would still end up at the J.C level. Maybe Olugbode got lost in the shuffle for the always deep Bells' backfield. But nonetheless, the Rams have an electrifying and productive runner.

--For quarterbacks, Diablo Valley College's Quinn Kaehler is breaking out as a pocket-passer. The tall 6-foot-4, 205-pound signal caller has had just one game where he's thrown two touchdowns only. All the other games? He's reaching three to five, including the five he tossed as the Vikings lit up Reedley College 49-21 on Saturday. Kaehler was even picking apart a Tiger defense that's been good about creating turnovers and rushing the passer. Kaehler threw for 441 yards in the Saturday win and currently has 2,813 yards, a 61.4 percent completion percentage, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His cannon, quick-release and vision are making him a potential top prospect in the state junior college scene now.

--Finally, is there perhaps a more rejuvenated Ebahn Feathers down at Ventura College? The former top recruit for Fresno State, who had a very decorated prep career at Washington Union-Fresno but had an awkward throwing motion, plus struggles with learning the playbook has still remained the starter for 7-0 Ventura. His season so far has 1,534 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, six interceptions and some Offensive Player of the Week recognition earlier this season. On Saturday, he threw 289-yards and four touchdowns as the Pirates won a shootout with College of the Canyons 44-37 on Saturday.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vercher's big night

Photo courtesy of
In the 2011 season with Fresno City College, safety Donnell Vercher recorded three interceptions.

He's added four picks now to his resume - all in one game that occurred on Saturday.

The former Clovis High star had a monster night in a defensive battle with Sierra College at Rocklin, CA. Vercher, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound safety hauled in an astonishing four interceptions against the traditional Northern California powerhouse in the 23-16 win.

His huge night versus the Wolverines may look as if it was a breakout night, but if you ask me, this animal in the Rams' secondary has been making huge defensive plays even before the junior college scene.

While at Clovis High School, Vercher had linebacker-like instincts and was a wicked hitter in the Cougar secondary. His eyes and ability to lower the boom made him one of the more feared safeties in the Central Section. If anything though, his four interception evening goes to show where his ball skills are now at.

Along with being a rough hitter for the Rams, Vercher's hands has made him the Rams' top defensive playmaker. He leads the way with five picks in 2012 and now has eight in his junior college career.

But he still has the nasty shoulder hit. He recently buried his right shoulder pad into one Reedley College wide receiver, which got the wideout to fly towards the track.

He once drew the interest of Oregon State and hometown Fresno State before landing at Fresno City College. But more big plays, like the ones he got versus Sierra, could regenerate some interest again for this emerging safety star in the state J.C scene.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Davis

contributed photo
While Kenny Davis may be one of the smallest players on a rather massive-looking Liberty-Bakersfield squad, he's their biggest threat on offense when they need to air it out.

The 5-foot-8, 190-pound wide receiver is a machine when he gets the football. With his routes, hands and big-play potential, it's almost like looking at Carolina's Steve Smith.

While Davis may not be putting up Smith-like numbers on the prep scene at Liberty (he's yet to have a 100-yard outing), his production and on-field traits still makes him one of the more dangerous wide receivers in the Central Section.

In fact, Davis has actually had more receptions or his best production against two of the better defenses in the state - Central-Fresno and inner-city rival Bakersfield High.

 Davis went toe-to-toe with highly-touted cornerback L.J Moore of Central. While held to 65 yards receiving, he still hauled in eight receptions and caught one deep ball versus the ridiculously talented Moore. The following week versus traditional Kern County powerhouse Tehachapi, Davis shook some Warrior defenders for seven catches, 95-yards and two touchdowns in the 45-7 rout back on Sept. 7.

Most recently, in certainly the biggest stunner of the 2012 season, Davis was held to three receptions - but he averaged 24.3 yards per catch against the loaded Driller secondary in the 28-17 shocker last Friday.

Davis has an explosive get-off from the line that gets him lots of separation, even against a press coverage. His feet are smooth when he's running routes. Speaking of the route-running aspect, Davis' speed on that end has to make him one of the faster players in the Central Valley.

He also hasn't been caught slowing his feet down, even when he doesn't have the football. Sometimes, after running downfield and helping throw a block, Davis will then reach a second level and bury his body into the next defender, so he can free up more running space. He's a run-blocker to watch out for too for run-heavy Liberty.

Maybe, his small stature is a drawback. But this Patriot can make big-time plays. He can be a dangerous threat in the play-action and has enough speed to be used on reverses or special team returns.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bond...Devante Bond

Photo courtesy of
 He's not shaken or stirred, or a guy that will bust out a golden gun.

No, this Bond is all about wreaking a different kind of havoc on the football field at Sierra College.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Devante Bond has been a demon in both a three-point stance or when he doesn't place his hand on the turf to get set. The versatile defensive linemen and outside linebacker is a threat to record two sacks a game - because he has four games where he reaches that sack total.

He's got a freakish explosion off the line and a rugged tackling ability. His speed off the edge makes it hard for opposing offensive tackles to adjust their hips and pad level right away. He's gotten the attention of three Mountain West schools and one from the PAC-12 on the recruiting front.

His versatility is perfect for an exotic 3-4 defense looking for a pass rush. Even 4-3 looks can use him versus up-tempo, pass-first offenses. He does get caught over-pursuing, and sometimes stretches out his hand like he's trying to arm tackle.

He's a hustle player, though, who won't give up on a play. His size, versatility, pass-rushing skills and instincts makes him one of the more highly coveted junior college linebackers in California. His speed and hustle should make a defense at the four-year level want him. He's one of the easiest players to spot on the field when you watch a Sierra game, because he's usually one of the first defenders right in front of a ball carrier.

On a "Frontier" to stardom?

Photo courtesy of
Jordan Nichols brings a bruising attitude - no matter where he lines up.

As a tight end, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior will use his brute strength to power through any defensive linemen who dares to try and touch his Frontier Titan ball carriers. When he's not blocking, Nichols looks for an opening, or contact when he runs routes at tight end.

As a linebacker, Nichols (No. 44 in the photo) looks for two things: someone to hit, or where the football is flying towards.

The Kern County 2014 prospect is beginning to make a name for himself, especially on a team where his quarterback Evan Moore and fellow two-way fullback/linebacker Triton Douglas has generated the interest of the Big 10, PAC-12, Big East and Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Nichols looks to be next in line at the Bakersfield area high school. Offensively, his route running is smooth for a prospect at 220-pounds, but its his power and determination that makes him an intriguing tight end prospect. The Titans will use him in a three-point stance or at the slot receiver position.

On defense, he's the type who can set an aggressive mindset. He'll deliver the nasty highlight reel hit where he'll bury his shoulder pad and make a ball carrier feel the grass. He's shown strong instincts at locating the football and making the tackle.

He does tend to resort to wrestling a runner down. Though he has good eyes to see where the ball is, he does tend to bite on plays and has to chase down players. His angle pursuits will need refinement as the year progresses and for his senior season. He's also not much of a pass-rusher, but his coverage skills makes him very effective versus the pass. Nichols will play the football like he's a safety. He'll patrol his territory, then use his tight end hands to haul in interceptions. He's even a threat to take picks back to the end zone with his determined running, proven by his game against West Bakersfield this year.

In the end, this Titan is on his own Frontier to get noticed. More development between now, the summer months and his senior year could keep colleges coming back to Frontier High School for him.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

State's leading rusher a late bloomer

If Shadow Hills-Indio running back James Toland would've put up the numbers he has now back in his sophomore and junior seasons, he would've been one of the more highly-recruited running backs in the country, not just California.

Still, though, with a ridiculous 1,516 rushing yards through just five games, an average of 10.3 yards per carry and 23 touchdowns, people down in the Southern Section and different colleges are starting to take notice.

Toland's set back from his junior year were injuries, including a high ankle sprain in the beginning of the 2011 year. He seems to be running like he has no real ailments, with the 303.2 total rushing yards per game he's averaging. His best game was a 490-yard, seven touchdown evening in the 50-47 loss to Banning High on Sept. 21.

The 6-foot, 185-pound senior has a number of intangibles that makes him the top rusher in the state right now, plus eighth in the nation statistically according to Max Preps.

For one, he's a deadly cut back runner who can zig-zag through holes. He has an outside burst towards the sidelines that can get 3-4 defenders running from behind. His vision can explain how he's able to run around different defenders when trying to find an open hole. His final strong trait is he'll hit a second gear when sprinting with the football.

I won't lie, though, even being the state's top rusher does have flaws. He seems to be inconsistent at running with a low pad level, as I caught him running upright when hitting a hole. He's not the most powerful runner, as he tends to rely more on his ability to juke out defenders or his outside speed. Lastly, he also tends to hold the ball dangerously away from his body, which can lead to fumbles. Ironically, he's lost the rock once this year.

In the end though, it's hard to overlook the state's leading rusher with the numbers and on-field skills he possesses. His production has made him one of the better late bloomers in the California recruiting scene. He can fit a fast-pace, run-oriented offense such as a pistol or triple option. Maybe be a change-of-pace back in a pro style scheme that's heavy on the ground game. This late bloomer is exploding.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A "Diablo" at throwing the ball

Up north at Pleasant Hill, Quinn Kaehler is one Diablo Valley College player sticking his fork into opposing defenses.

This Diablo Valley signal-caller is putting up strong numbers through five games on the junior college scene. Even at 2-3, the Vikings could easily be 5-0 with how close their contests were. Kaehler has been on his game in all five outings, even against state title threat San Francisco City College.

In the week one opener, the Vikings nearly dethroned the state champion from 2011, behind 459 passing yards and four touchdowns from Kaehler in the 48-41 loss. The following week, Kaehler went off on Santa Rosa with 36-of-51 passing for 401 yards and four more touchdowns despite the 28-26 loss.

His Viking team is currently on a two-game win streak, and Kaehler is one of the driving forces behind the turnaround at Diablo Valley. He had a season-best 479 yards and five touchdowns in the 44-20 rout over Chabot College, then followed that with 269 yards, a 74.3 completion percentage and two more touchdown tosses.

At 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, Kaehler already has the look of a college football quarterback. One reason behind his 19 touchdown throws through five games is how quick his release is. Not only does Kaehler do an excellent job at releasing the ball rapidly, his ability to quickly locate his target is a plus from a vision standpoint.

His zip, tall frame and composure when dealing with a heavy rush are strengths. Kaehler looks calm in the pocket and won't hesitate to fire away even with one guy ready to bury him. I will say, his footwork isn't the most polished. He hasn't been the most fluid at planting his feet properly.

Kaehler, though, does have mobility in him, proven by his reported 4.67 40-yard dash time. The sophomore has two strong defenses forthcoming in Monterey Peninsula (Oct. 6), then Reedley College (Oct. 12). If he continues to fire away, he could be on pace for a 40 touchdown season.

After evaluating him, he looks better fit for a spread offense at his next college stop with his quick release and vision.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Nate "King" Cole

Photo courtesy of max preps
It's a Cole world down in Orange County.

But we're not talking about the rapper J. Cole, we've begun to discover a football talent at quarterback down in the Southern California region - Aliso Niguel quarterback Nathan "Nate" Cole.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Cole may already impress people down in the O.C with his college football-like stature already. But its the on field stuff that's getting me influenced.

For one, he's got a excellent zip to his throws. His field vision and accuracy also scored major points. His senior year right now is also probably going to get different colleges to make a move.

This season, Cole has thrown 27 touchdown passes in just six games, along with a 70.7 completion percentage. He had six in a 42-12 win over Coronado High back on Sept. 15. His most recent outing advanced his prep game even further - with 37-of-48 passing for 491 yards and seven touchdowns in the 50-41 victory over Woodbridge-Irvine. He only has four interceptions, and that was all in one game - the 84-20 loss to undefeated Mission Viejo. He still tossed three touchdowns and 302 passing yards that game.

He's got the arm, size and vision to make someone glad at the next level. A couple of flaws to think of are his mobility, since he looked slow running around while being chased. His release is also a gray area. Most quarterbacks usually take just three seconds or less to release a throw. Cole, on average, didn't release the ball until 4-5 seconds while watching his film. This will raise questions on whether or not he can adjust his throws while facing heavy pressure, where he's forced to make a quick pass right away.

In the end, Cole is emerging as a late-blooming talent in California. More progress can make it a different kind of Cole world down in Southern California on Friday nights.