Sunday, December 29, 2013

Images of the DB Guru Veterans Bowl

The North All-Stars, led by Central Valley and Bay Area talent, defeated the South 32-14 on Dec. 28 at Central High School's Koligian Stadium. Here are the images of that game (all photos by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent):

Fresno event brings out state stars and future ones

The DB Guru Veterans Bowl brought out star power from the morning combine to the North-South All-Star game on Dec. 28.

Tom Lemming (National Recruiting Writer), Michael Bobino (Nike camp), Karif Byrd (Get It Done Sports/former University of Georgia wide receiver) and Tony Perry (defensive back coach with over 40 Division-I players produced) were among the notable names in attendance. Also at Central High's Koligian Stadium were rising underclassmen and some of the best 2014 had to offer.

Here's some pics of the festivities beginning first with the combine (all photos by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent):

Friday, December 27, 2013

DB Guru Bowl bringing star power

Photo by Chris Martinez/DB Nation
Notable high school football stars will align at Central's Koligian Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 28, as the first-ever DB Guru Veterans Bowl plans to bring out some big-time names from the California high school football scene.

The game is from the vision of Central defensive back coach Tony Perry, better known as "The DB Guru." Perry (right of photo) has helped coach nearly 60 college football players in his 30 years of coaching.

Here's some players to look out for:


- If anyone hasn't gotten a chance to see Quick play, now is the time. Quick (photo) is putting the finishing touches on an epic prep career that saw: three seasons on varsity, several highlight-reel plays on offense, defense and special teams, All-Tri River Athletic Conference/All-Area honors and lastly, over 30 colleges offering him a scholarship. Expect Quick to be used in a lot of ways.


- Brewer, a University of Arizona commit,  will help patrol the North squad secondary with his viscous hits and ball-hawking skills.


- Wilson, the other Arizona commit, will likely share the load in what's becoming a deep backfield for the North. Wilson has gone from elusive back to a north-south grinder this past season. His performances during the 2013 TRAC season proves that.


- Wright provides added muscle to the North. The Nevada commit is one of the hardest runners to bring down with his physical strength and breakaway speed.


- Segura has to be one of the hidden gems of the state. Segura broke school and state records for the Aztecs. A big performance could finally land him late interest from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS/Division I) ranks.


- Montgomery, like Segura, is another hidden gem in the state. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Montgomery shattered the Immanuel school record for rushing yards with 2,663. Montgomery also scored 32 touchdowns.


- Smallwood is also putting the final touches on a decorated career at Central. The three-year varsity starter led the Grizzlies in sacks in every season. Look for his explosion off the ball and hands in this game.


- Haynes was one of the cornestones on a talented and aggressive Tiger defense that was one of the best in the Central Section. Haynes combines power and quick feet off the line.


- O'Neal isn't just an ankle-breaking back at 5-foot-7, 170-pounds, but also has surprising toughness in between the tackles. O'Neal holds two offers from Eastern Washington and Sacramento State.


- A 2,000 yard rusher this past year, Doctor will be one of two players in this game that recently participated in the Blue-Grey All-American game.


- Duckett played linebacker in the Blue-Grey game and made one game changing interception. He may also be used in the backfield to help clear room for the deep North backfield.


- A hard-hitting ball-hawk in the secondary who's committed to Washington.


- The Nevada commit brings fluid hips and good coverage speed for the South defense.

Note: The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Admission is $7 but active military/retired military gets in for $5. Children under 2 years old gets in free with an adult. Also scheduled to be on hand is renown recruiting writer Tom Lemming, who's "Tom Lemming Report" has been featured on CBS Sports and ESPN.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

King Lazarus

Photo courtesy of Golden State Preps
Fresno State snatched the outright Mountain West title earlier in December. Now, the Bulldogs may have made the biggest steal of the 2014 recruiting period, by landing 6-foot-2, 215-pound behemoth linebacker Michael Lazarus on Dec. 19.

Lazarus, who hails out of Berkeley, turned down offers from Arizona State, Cal, Washington State and Wisconsin to join the Bulldogs. It's not often that a school like Fresno State lands a player of Lazarus' caliber.

What type of linebacker is Lazarus? In my eyes, he's a near complete one. Which is why this is such a big-time steal for Fresno State.

Lazarus has large hands and can rattle wide receivers/tight ends at the line with his palms. He not only showed off his press ability, but also looked like a ball-hawking safety while at the Passing Down camps. He was one of the top defenders at the Passing Down tournaments thanks to his eyes and instincts to the ball with forcing interceptions.

When he was in full pads, I saw a high-motor guy who destroyed running plays. I also saw a disruptive pass rusher who got 17 sacks - in 10 games.

He tends to be overly aggressive and can either be caught out-of-position or bite on plays. He can also continue to improve his hand technique when going against blockers. In the end, though, Lazarus is a game-changing linebacker who can dismantle an offensive game plan with his speed and athleticism. He's not only going to a team that went 11-1 under head coach Tim DeRuyter, but he's also going to the same coach who once turned NFL star linebacker Von Miller loose while at Texas A&M.

More on Lazarus:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Introducing: The first ever All-CGM team (2014 class)

From attending my first set of camps in January, to witnessing the talent level increasing at Passing Down, to meeting coaches at Oregon State and Arizona State during the season to lastly, seeing more players delivering a breakout year, the 2013 season has been a fun ride for me.

In two weeks, we'll be in 2014. I think it's time I do something different with all the players I've watched: I've decided to put together an All-Cali Gold Mine team.

This will be the first of three lists before the year ends. The others will highlight top underclassmen and junior college talent that I got a chance to watch or see on film.

Here's my first list, the best seniors I saw:


Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent

QB: Marcus McMaryion, Dinuba: Perhaps not since former Centennial-Bakersfield quarterback and current USC starter Cody Kessler has there been a more college ready quarterback in the Central Section than McMaryion. Along with his 6,136 yards, 71 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, McMaryion had the zip and composure college coaches fell in love with. He's now Oregon State bound.

Photo courtesy of

RB: Joe Mixon, Freedom-Oakley: Saw what the hype with Mixon was all about at Passing Down. The guy made highlight reel after highlight reel plays and even convinced some scout writers to give him a six-star rating. On the field, Mixon had 1,704 yards and 23 touchdowns for Freedom-Oakley. He earned comparisons to NFL star Adrian Peterson and was even called "The LeBron James of High School football."
Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent

FB: Darian Duckett, Bullard-Fresno: The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Duckett is a true throwback in the backfield. He looks for someone to pummel with or without the football. One of the only true fullbacks in the Central Section and a recent selection to the Blue-Grey All-American Game in Dallas.

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent

WR: Michiah Quick, Central-Fresno: A mismatch for anyone trying to cover him one-on-one. Quick's big plays energized Central for three seasons and at a school that's produced nearly 10 Bowl Championship Series prospects since 2011, Quick will go down as one of the most decorated Grizzly players in school history after completing three varsity seasons. Like I said in a recent blog, this could be the next DeSean Jackson.

WR: Tyrone Smith, Edison: A freak 6-foot-5, 200-pound wide receiver who convinced the read option-heavy Tigers to throw the ball. Smith was a red zone nightmare and got the attention of numerous PAC-12 schools.

TE: Darrell Cloy, La Habra-Los Angeles: The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Cloy had one of the softest and most consistent hands out of any tight end I saw at Passing Down. A future Arizona Wildcat. Played with McMaryion at Passing Down through Team B2G.

LT: Kameron Schroeder, Consumnes Oaks-Elk Grove: Future Duke Blue Devil really impressed me with his feet and athleticism. One of the most athletic tackles in the state.

LG: Arnulfo Navarro, Righetti-Santa Maria: A hard-nosed run blocker for traditional run-heavy Righetti, even if he wasn't considered the biggest lineman at 6-foot-2, 250-pounds.

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent

C: Ivan Espiritu, Reedley: He was, hands down, the best run blocker in the Central Section. Not too many lineman drove their defenders back 5-10 yards or planted them to the turf the way Espiritu did. Also a dominant nose tackle, there's college programs who love his motor. Enjoyed what I saw in Reedley.

RG: Chris Misaalefua, Lindsay: A mountain of a man at 6-foot-5, 350-pounds, Misaalefua could be a fixture at guard for someone at the next level. He was Lindsay's "Tower of Power."

RT: Joe Salcedo, Bishop Diego-Santa Barbara: Like Schroeder, Salcedo was big 6-foot-6 tackle with a mean streak. Has gotten Mountain West interest and was part of this list.


DE: Sumner Houston, De La Salle-Concord: Houston I saw at the Get It Done Sports Camp with former Georgia wide receiver Karif Byrd. His explosion off the ball and hands made him an intriguing one at defensive end. He's also Oregon State bound with McMaryion.

DT: Yasmon Haynes, Edison: A weapon of mass obstruction, Haynes was one of the cornerstones for a Tiger defense that was among the best in the Central Section. He dominated one-on-one blockers and swallowed running backs.

DT: Tashon Smallwood, Central: Like Quick, Smallwood has to go down as one of the most highly decorated Grizzlies ever. A dominant pass rushing machine who even got to play fullback this season too. Smallwood had a motor that only stopped after the game ended. Most dominant defensive lineman I got a chance to see. Now Arizona State bound (once committed to USC).

DE: Ainuu Taua, Lompoc: At a school that's produced former NFL running back Napolean Kaufman and Washington 2013 commit Lavon Coleman, Taua became one of the most sought after Braves in recent memory, with nearly 15 scholarship offers. The 6-foot-1, 270-pound Taua was freakishly athletic and versatile against Arroyo Grande in 2012, which was when I first watched him play. He'll now join UCLA.

LB: Michael Lazarus, Berkeley: One of the most complete linebackers in the state. Lazarus was a ball-hawk at linebacker at Passing Down, then became a pass rushing demon with 13.5 sacks this past year. He could be PAC-12 or Fresno State bound soon.

LB: Joe Castignani, Bellarmine Prep-San Jose: Castignani was one of the best in coverage and could blanket tight ends. An athletic 6-foot-3, 215-pound OLB.

LB: D.J. Calhoun, El Cerrito: Like Lazarus, Calhoun had impressive coverage skills when I saw him. His instincts and closing speed made him one of the most highly sought linebackers in the state. He's joining an Arizona State defense that could have a dynasty going.

CB: Adarius Pickett, El Cerrito: One of the most complete cornerbacks in the state also has to be the most physical. The 6-foot, 185-pound Pickett rattles wide receivers at the line with his muscular wing span then shadows over a receiver. Future UCLA Bruin.
Photo courtesy of Max Preps

CB: Naijiel Hale, St. John Bosco-Bellflower: Though undersized compared to Pickett at 5-foot-10, 175-pounds, Hale became one of the best ball-hawking corners in the state. The son of the late hip-hop music legend Nate Dogg showed a strong vision for the ball and wide receiver like hands, which made him attractive to a number of PAC-12 schools. Currently an Arizona Wildcat.

FS: Devon Brewer, Central: Brewer didn't just show off soft hands, the future Arizona Wildcat also was the hardest hitting Grizzly in their always-stacked secondary.

SS: Jordan Thomas, Inderkum-Sacramento: A tank at strong safety who blew plays up, Thomas was one of the best at playing up to the line of scrimmage. He's part of Arizona State's future defensive class.

PK: Tyler Bakker, Hanford West: Also a QB, Bakker can nail the 55-yard field goal.

P: Jacob Valladares, Madera South: One of the best at burying opponents inside the 20.

ATH: De’Aundre Terrell, Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove: An undersized quarterback at 5-foot-8, 175-pounds who became a valuable weapon as a passer, runner and receiver. Has a nasty vertical jump.

Honorable mentions: Matt Palmer, CB, Heritage-Menifee. Malik Beachum, ATH, American Canyon. Dejonte O’Neal, RB, Bullard. Don’Yeh Patterson, WR, Carson. Jomon Dotson, RB, American Canyon. Khalil Montgomery, RB, Immanuel. Manny Wilkins, QB, San Marin-Novato. Edgar Segura, RB, Mendota. Blake Wright, RB, Edison. Nautica Fleming, CB, Bullard. Nick Wilson, RB, Central. Teofilo Freeman, Safety, Central. Brad Kaaya, QB, West Hills-Chaminade. Richard Doctor, RB, Lemoore. Eban Jackson, QB, Narbonne-Harbor City. Malik Cyphers, CB, Oaks Christian-Westlake Village. Isaiah Justice, QB, Bullard-Fresno.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Miami native now zig-zagging defenders in the California desert

Hansley Fleurejus of Antelope Valley College has gone from being the No. 28 running back in the nation to becoming an under-the-radar wide receiver in the California Junior College scene.

When he has the ball, Fleurejus is a slippery one. He can make things difficult for defenders trying to stay square with him and going for the tackle. He can leave behind diving tackles and busted ankles in his wake.

He's a fluid route runner and his 4.44 40-yard dash time makes him difficult to cover one-on-one. He's also a return ace and can run circles around people.

A drawback for Fleurejus will be his size. He's listed at 5-foot-8 and not too many wide receivers at that height are in high demand. I also saw him go down right away on first contact.

Still, though, Fleurejus can stretch the field and fake out defenders. He can be a solid fit with a spread offense as a slot receiver.

Highlight film:

Fleurejus:  "Whether it's from the line of scrimmage or out of the backfield, I am certainly a player that can help you win games. A very versatile performer who has the speed to help on special teams and very reliable hands. Many have hinted I could be a quality defensive back at the next level as well."

Monday, November 25, 2013

All-Star game coming to Fresno

photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent
Central High School's Koligian Stadium will be the site of the first annual DB Guru Veterans Bowl, which is set for Dec. 28.

The game will feature some of California's top football players from the high school level this season. Notable names expected to play are Arizona commit Devon Brewer (safety, Central), Washington State commit Greg Hoyd (linebacker, Vista Murrieta), five-star athlete Michiah Quick (Central-Fresno, over 30 scholarship offers, feature photo) and Utah commit Jeremy McNichols (wide receiver, Santa Margarita Catholic).

There will also be an underclassmen combine held on Dec. 28 from 9 a.m to noon. Returning high school football players are invited to attend.

Announcing and scouting the game will be college recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who's scouting reports have been featured on and

For more information about the game or combine, call 1-855-821-0570 or visit

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Santa Barbara sledgehammer

Photo courtesy of
On the Central Coast, Santa Barbara City College has long been a junior college laughingstock - until now.

The Vaqueros were a surprise 7-3 this past season and the play of hard-nosed linebacker Morgan Nevin is one reason behind the turnaround.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Nevin showed versatility for the improved Vaqueros by lining up inside and stuffing the run, to pursuing from the outside and rushing the quarterback.

The thing that impressed me about Nevin were his reads. He didn't get fooled by option keeper quarterback runs and stayed disciplined to halt the play. His reaction to the ball is a strength.

I did catch him coming up too high on tackles. He'll need to be more consistent with his pad level at his next football stop. He'll also need to polish his coverage ability against the pass.

Still, though, Nevin is a high-motor player and versatile run stuffer/pass rusher.

More on Nevin:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Central and Edison loaded with Fresno talent

Central and Edison High School have been the two biggest hotbeds for college football talent in the city of Fresno.

Names from Edison include: Khari McGee (Arizona), Cliff Harris (Oregon), T.J. McDonald (USC/St. Louis Rams), Tevin McDonald (UCLA/Eastern Washington), Courtney Viney (UCLA/New Mexico State), Nat Harrison (Fresno State), Arkelon Hall (Memphis), Brandon Breazell (UCLA) and Ricky Manning (UCLA/NFL veteran).

Central's list also has sprouted since 2008. Names include: Brendan Bigelow (Cal), B.J. Kelley (Oregon), Matt Lea (UNLV), Hatari Byrd (Oklahoma), L.J. Moore (Oklahoma), Johnny Johnson (UCLA), Devon Brewer (Arizona), Shariff Williams (Arizona), Tashon Smallwood (over 10 scholarship offers, former USC commit) and Michiah Quick (over 30 offers, including Alabama and Oregon).

Now, the two schools that's been the big producers of Division I talent will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, in a quarterfinals playoff match up that has the makings of becoming one of the most highly-anticipated showdowns in the Central Section this year.

This game has been dubbed by some as the "DB Guru Bowl," since iconic defensive back coach and current Central assistant Tony Perry has played a huge role with getting prospects from both schools recruited by several D-I schools.

Then again, I've had people tell me that this could pass as the Cali Gold Mine Bowl! Since this game is big on college football talent. 

Time to sort through all the college prospects on both squads, beginning first with the 2014 players:

Photo courtesy of Rivals!.com


The Nevada commits have given Edison one of the deepest and most talented running back tandems in the state. Nutt (photo) is the long-distance threat with his 4.4 40-yard dash speed and is versatile enough to play cornerback and return kicks. Wright has a college football physique with his powerful 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame and can wear down defenses with his inside running. Wright, though, can also amaze people with his cutback ability and second gear when running the ball.

More on Nutt:

More on Wright:


A versatile and powerful lineman. Haynes has been a mismatch when someone tries to block him one-on-one, because he's got the quickness and power to blow past blockers. Even though he's also played guard and defensive end, his size and ability to explode through the gaps makes him an intriguing prospect at defensive tackle.

More on Haynes:


A freakish wideout that stands at nearly 6-foot-6 and 185-pounds, Smith makes life difficult for cornerbacks to try and lock up with him. He's not the fastest receiver on the field, but Smith is the one wideout the Tigers want to get the ball to. Look for the football to go his way if Edison is at the Central 20-yard line.

More on Smith:


The 6-foot-0, 170-pound Johnson has emerged as the sledgehammer in the secondary. He's the one providing the big hits for the Tigers. Not the fastest DB (his Hudl account says he runs a 4.9 40-yard dash), but Johnson has the kind of aggression defensive coordinators at the college level can love.

More on Johnson:

photo by Chris Martinez


One of the most highly recruited players in the state of California, Quick has rapid fire feet and wins numerous one-on-one battles with his speed and separation. He's also got an array of moves at his disposal when he returns kicks. You could be looking at the next DeSean Jackson with Quick.

More on Quick:


Brewer is the hitter and top ball-hawk in a stacked Grizzlies' secondary. The Arizona commit has shown to be the complete package at safety.

More on Brewer:

Photo courtesy of Central Valley Football


Wilson, one of three Arizona commits on the Grizzlies, has gone from one-dimensional outside threat to one of the most complete running backs in the state. Wilson's inside running game has almost looked Marshawn Lynch-like - with his ability to bounce off of tacklers and punish defenders with his shoulder. Perhaps his best highlight was when he drove a Clovis High defender nearly five yards into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown this season. A breakaway threat who runs a 4.4 40-yard dash time.

More on Wilson:


Like Haynes, he's another versatile mismatch for offensive linemen. I've yet to see Smallwood take plays off. He's got a motor on him and an explosion off the ball that got colleges flocking to Central. Smallwood also serves as the team's fullback and is a short yardage/goal line threat. His hand technique has improved from last year and some people have called Smallwood the next Warren Sapp.

More on Smallwood:


Freeman Jr. has emerged in the Grizzlies' secondary as an excellent box safety. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Freeman can play up to the line of scrimmage and halt running plays. His breakout night came against 2012 Tri-River Athletic Conference champion Clovis High, where Freeman helped crash in on Cougar running plays at the goal line. He plays like an extra linebacker in the secondary.

More on Freeman:


Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent


Horton has the potential to become next year's Michiah Quick in the Central Valley. The rising junior is another explosive and versatile playmaker with the ball. He's also a typical Edison cornerback: He'll press you at the line, cover you like a blanket, then makes a play on the ball.

More on Horton:

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent


Greeley, a two-year varsity letterman, already holds an Arizona State offer and is another explosive athlete. Like Horton, Greeley could be another highly recruited athlete through the 2015 class. Though he's been an explosive read-option quarterback for the Tigers, his future is at cornerback with his speed, closing pursuits and hands.

More on Greeley:

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent


You could be looking at the Central Valley's version of Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs with this Tiger duo. Sams (nicknamed Area 51) has improved his game significantly. Sams (photo) is a tackling machine on the inside and also is one of the best in the Valley at reading the pass from his linebacker spot. He's become the Ray Lewis-type for Edison and is usually a threat to get 12-17 tackles per game. Hamilton is the speed guy off the edge and can wreak havoc. A key match up in this game will be seeing both men collide with Nick Wilson.

More on Sams:

More on Hamilton:


The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Williams makes the Tiger backfield one of the deepest in the state. Williams is a long-distance threat with the ball in his hands and is capable of breaking the 40 or 70 yard touchdown run. If he adds bulk, more speed and improves his vision and inside running, he could also pile up the offers just like Nutt and Wright.

More on Williams:


Swearingen must've did enough to convince Edison to move Greeley out of quarterback and go with him toward the end of the regular season. Swearingen has provided a nice deep ball and is dangerous with the play action. A huge off-season could also see the 6-foot-2, 175-pound quarterback pile up the offers.

More on Swearingen:

Contributed photo


Whether on offense or defense, Simms is always a threat to go the distance and leave defenders grabbing the oxygen tanks. Simms has to be one of the fastest players in the Valley and has put together the kind of season that's gotten San Diego State and a few PAC-12 schools already showing interest.

More on Simms:

photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent


Page is a hard nosed safety and a Troy Polomalu-type for the Grizzlies. He's also lined up at cornerback and shows a mean streak with his jams at the line of scrimmage and coverage skills.

More on Page:


Preston had a breakout evening against Buchanan in the first round of the playoffs with his hands and return ability. He's another typical Tony Perry defensive back with his press ability and feisty demeanor. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Preston already holds a University of Houston offer.

More on Preston: