Saturday, March 30, 2013

Simms getting his name out

Photo courtesy of Savion Simms
The last time I saw Savion Simms of Central-Fresno on the football field, it reminded me of someone from Central I saw four years ago at Passing Down - current Cal return ace Brendan Bigelow.

Bigelow had his breakout day by showing his speed, hands and playmaking ability at the 2009 Passing Down camp. Recently on St. Patrick's Day at Livermore, Simms became a late edition to Passing Down's Nor Cal Regional. The end result was Simms becoming one of the biggest party crashers at the camp.

Simms turned heads with his acceleration, including on one 40-yard touchdown pass where he dashed past two tall Bay Area defenders. Simms also showed his hands on one interception good for the pick six. His foot speed and play making ability has now made him one to watch this off-season and under the lights this Fall.

The 2015 prospect will need bulk. He's only around 150-pounds and stands at 5-foot-8. He also will say he doesn't want the Bigelow comparisons, he wants to be his own guy and play off of his own name.

It will be interesting to see where Simms will get recruited as. In his game film, he's shown an ability to jam receivers at the line and have the speed to blanket wideouts. Offensively, he's a deep threat at wide receiver and has running back-like elusiveness in the open field. Continued work and continued exposure can make him one of the next highly recruited Grizzlies.

More on Simms can be found here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No. 100 (A message from CGM's owner)

This is the 100th post for Cali Gold Mine. This one is a different write-up, because this is where I say this:

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who took an interest in the scouting reports I posted. I want to thank the student-athletes for being inspired/motivated with what I write and taking the timeout to thank me for getting them out there. Thanks also to the student-athletes at both the prep and junior college level for sending me their film so I can help add my scout thoughts. I want to say thanks to the parents for both the high praise and for pointing out their players to me. I also want to give an important thank you to all the college coaches at any level for using CGM as a tool for their recruiting needs. My hope is that my connection base continues to expand by helping discover more talented football players ready for the next level.

While I'm excited about what the future holds for me regarding scouting and recruiting writing, I will say this: Most readers already know this but for those who didn't know, I also serve as the Sports Editor at The Reedley Exponent and I'm back at it with the fastest rising 7-on-7 football camp in the state of California - Passing Down - as their coverage writer.

Long story short, I'll try to update this blog as much as I can, but my true focus will always be with The Exponent and my scouting endeavors has now shifted over to Passing Down for the next few months. My plan at P.D will still remain: I'm helping discover prospects and using the pen and pad to create a platform for them to lure in scholarship offers. Except this time, I'm discovering them with my own eyes at a 7-on-7 tournament I attend.

Again, I'll try to update this blog as much as I can, but most of my scout work will be seen on Passing Down. Great features stories and camp recaps are lined up, trust me!

And trust me when I say that I probably wouldn't have gone this far with this blog corner if it weren't for your interest in my material! I can go to sleep every night knowing people up and down California and in other parts of the United States knows about what I do. Thanks again! The best is yet to come!

Lorenzo J. Reyna

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Edison Tiger earning his stripes

Photo courtesy of
Edison High School in Fresno has been known for two things in the Central Valley of California: speed and producing college football talent.

After the Tigers produced three more college football prospects in free safety Justin Holmes (Fresno State), strong safety Ronnie Manning (Northern Arizona) and quarterback Khari McGee (Arizona) through the 2013 class, looks like class of 2014 athlete Kevin Nutt Jr. will keep the college coaches flocking to West Fresno.

While all the buzz in the West side of Fresno may have been the exciting play of McGee as a dual-threat passer, Nutt provided explosive plays that generated even more excitement for the Tigers on Friday and Saturday nights.

Upon further review, Nutt could be one of the most explosive offensive weapons in the state and, after a surprise performance at the New Level Badger 7-on-7 tournament on Saturday, March 2 in Las Vegas, Nutt also showed some defensive game on the field.

As a running back, Nutt can turn heads with his speed. He's got an explosive burst through the hole and won't hesitate from hitting it. When he sees daylight, forget it, Nutt will turn on the jets and use his 4.4 40-yard dash speed to scorch the football turf. I'm even more blown away by his elusiveness. He can run around defenders and has good eyes to spot openings on the field while carrying the ball.

At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, he's obviously lacking ideal size for an every-down running back right now. He does tend to run upright and can work on consistently staying low to the ground with the ball. One area that may also impress colleges is his blocking ability. Even with a relatively small stature, Nutt hits like a fullback with his blocking and can knock a defender off of his feet.

At the recent Las Vegas tournament, Nutt reportedly was placed in as a defensive back and took advantage of being on the field. Nutt blanketed wide receivers and closed fast on the football. His performance in Vegas helped land him a recent University of Houston offer.

If he ends up playing in the secondary, I'll be curious to see how he does as a press cover corner. He's got the speed to be an effective man coverage player and has the closing speed to play safety. However, with his big plays last season on offense, it's likely he'll generate more interest as an offensive player. He's also currently running track this spring and runs a 10.9 100 meter dash. He could also be a state track and field qualifier along with being the next highly recruited Edison Tiger.

More on Nutt can be found here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Malik Magic

photo courtesy of the Napa Valley Register
We haven't really discussed too many dual-threat players for the 2014 class, until now. I found film and a possible steal from the Napa County region in California in the form of this wide receiver/defensive back.

Malik Beachum is quietly starting to gain ground on the recruiting trail with attending various college camps. He's yet to be offered, but after breaking down his film, he's got to be one of the best athletes in the Bay and possibly the state.

On offense, I love Beachum's explosiveness off the line. However, I was more in awe of his play making ability.

He's got an impressive vertical jump for a guy who's 5-foot-10 and has shown to beat defenders for the jump ball one-on-one. He's got soft hands and his body control after the catch will also attract college programs who may be looking to add receivers. It's his ability after the catch, though, that makes him explosive. He's shown a fast second gear after the catch and can stretch the field for the 50-70 yard touchdown.

Defensively, let's just say, he looks as if he's a wide receiver wanting the football. Beachum has a nose for the ball and will chase after it. He's got long enough arms to swat the football down or go for the diving pick. Even at 5-foot-10, he didn't come off as a guy who was hesitant about throwing his body around. He'll look to blow plays and wide receivers up with his aggressive nature.

Bulk is what he's lacking right now, plus true size at being a wide receiver or cover cornerback. I'll also be curious to see how he does in the press coverage, since he seemed to play more of a zone at American Canyon High School. A scheme like that, however, takes advantage of his closing speed. 

In conclusion, Beachum will either give an offense a big-play threat, or give a defense an aggressive ball-hawk. In the classroom, he's carrying a core 2.7 grade point average. Probably only a matter of time before he lands offer No. 1.

More on Beachum can be found here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Shellow now the lead 'Dog?

photo courtesy of
With Cameron Artis-Payne dashing his way to Auburn after a stellar career at Allan Hancock College-Santa Maria, could the usually run-heavy Bulldogs consider airing it out more for 2013?

If this is the case, followers of AHC football probably will know who will see the football come his way more often - the biggest receiver on the field for the Bulldogs.

Nicko Shellow seemed to quietly place together a strong freshman campaign down in the 805 while colleges inquired about the ultra-talented Artis-Payne. Shellow averaged 19.7 yards per catch with his 591 receiving yards. He also scored seven touchdowns while grabbing 30 receptions.

However, we shouldn't look at the stats to determine what type of player Shellow is. Look at the physical attributes:

For one, he's built like a tight end at 6-foot-3 and 238-pounds. The Columbus, Ohio native has a freakish burst off the line for a big wide receiver. His size and long arms already makes him dependable over the middle, but its his physical nature that has me glued in.

Shellow is tough to bring down and bounces off of tacklers like a glorified tight end, even though he's a wide receiver. His acceleration after the catch can make offensive coaches become enamored and defensive coaches develop nightmares. He's also unafraid of going for the jump ball when he's inside the red zone. He'll use his size, hands and basketball-like vertical jump.

He does hold the football away from his body when running after the catch. He'll need to correct his ball-handling to prevent potential fumbles. Still, with continued progression and a major 2013 season, I got a feeling Shellow will be on a lot of four-year program's wish list and be high up on several lists, just like his former teammate Artis-Payne.

More on Shellow can be found here.