Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Langley in the fast lane

Photo courtesy of 24/7 sports
Two PAC-12 schools have begun to recognize an explosive and emerging athlete from Pleasanton: Isaiah Langley of Foothill High School.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Langley lines up at wide receiver, running back and cornerback and has done damage with all three so far this season.

Langley has a fast first step, but then shows a second gear once he gets the ball in his hands. In four games on offense, he's proven to be a speed mismatch for anyone trying to cover him one-on-one.

As a running back, he shows the same explosive burst through a hole as if he's running a route at receiver. He also can change directions and still have defenders playing catch up with him.

From the cornerback spot, Langley looks more like a zone defender and excels there. He's got the wheels to stick with wide receivers one-on-one. One area I'll like to see more of from him is his ability to jam wide receivers.

Langley first emerged through Passing Down this past spring while playing with Team EBAL Elite. Langley showed his play making skills early on and now, it's carried over. Cal and Oregon State are his two PAC-12 offers and a continued monster season out of the 2015 athlete could make him one of the most coveted prospects in the Bay Area.

More on Langley:  http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1636103/isaiah-langley

Monday, September 23, 2013

The JUCO scene: Fresno City College quadruples the share in the backfield

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
Time to get back into the junior college scene. I've gotten a chance to check out Fresno City College in the last two Saturdays. The Rams look deep and almost flawless in the two games I saw.

The traditional state junior college powerhouse delivered two lopsided victories against Merced (76-19) on Sept. 14 and Reedley College (48-7) on Sept. 21.

One area I've examined the most is their backfield. The position that's produced NFL running back Maurice Morris and future Fresno State walk-on Rob Johnson has gone with four running backs that wear down defenses. These four guys have rushed between 144-165 yards through three games this season. As a team, the Rams have produced 237 team rushing yards this season (eighth best in the state).

Here's who's gotten their share of carries for the Rams:


* The former Bullard High running back is deadly on outside runs especially counter plays. He's averaging a team-high 10.3 yards per carry.


* Wingfield has a small stature at 5-foot-7, but is almost Maurice Jones-Drew like with a similar running style. Wingfield has improved on breaking tackles from his high school playing days at Sunnyside High in Fresno. He uses his blockers well with hiding behind them, then darting through an opening. Wingfield is tied with Ledezma with 165 rushing yards and averages 6.3 yards per carry.


* Mechikoff (photo) might be the fastest Ram running back. He's got an explosive burst through the open hole and is also valuable on sweep plays. He'll need to improve his ability to break tackles, since he has gone down on first contact numerous of times. Like Wingfield, he's another 5-foot-7 back. However, Mechikoff, who played his high school football at Clovis North,  is a cutback artist at running back and has proven to be a big play threat in the Rams' backfield. He's leading FCC with five rushing touchdowns and averages 5.4 yards per carry.

More on Mechikoff: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/773632/alek-mechikoff


* Shufford is the biggest back out of the four at nearly 6-foot-1 and 210-pounds. He's a powerful inside runner who can break tackles but also has enough speed to bounce outside. He's also versatile enough to play quarterback, since he did that briefly during the 2013 City/County All-Star game in June. Shufford has 144 yards and an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

More on Shufford: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/437457/highlights (Sanger High School film)


* Sticking with Fresno City, a Ram secondary that produced three Division-I recruits may soon see Gerald Nutt continue the lineage. Nutt, a former Fresno State walk-on wide receiver and Clovis West star, currently leads the Rams with three interceptions, including two in the 48-7 win against Reedley College on Sept. 21. Nutt is a tall 6-foot-2, 200-pound press corner who's beginning to improve his nose for the ball under new Ram secondary coach Ricky Manning Jr.

 * Brad Odeman is putting up ridiculous numbers at Ventura College. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound pro-style quarterback has thrown 15 touchdown passes, has a completion percentage of 65.2 percent, and is yet to be picked off. His numbers have also increased each game (249 yards against Riverside, 337 yards against Long Beach, 432 against Los Angeles Harbor).

* De Anza College is 3-0 and has one of the most productive wide receivers in the state. Bryan Fobbs is averaging 9.7 catches per game with his 29 receptions. Fobbs also has a Nor Cal best 455 yards and six touchdowns. What's impressive about Fobbs is despite being just 6-feet-tall and 180-pounds, he's established himself as a dangerous jump ball wide receiver and red zone target. He's shown excellent body control on his catches.

More on Fobbs: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1686817/bryan-fobbs

Monday, September 16, 2013

Juniors making statements

A few class of 2015 players are making their impact under the Friday night lights. Check out who else have made their statements:


Mariscal joined the 100 club for both rushing and receiving against Tehachapi - as he finished his evening with 132 rushing yards on 12 carries, then added 105 receiving yards on four catches as the Patriots blanked traditional Kern County powerhouse Tehachapi 34-0. Mariscal has earned heavy interest from the PAC-12, including a recent unofficial visit to USC.


As a sophomore, Browning put up ridiculous numbers (5,248 yards, 63 touchdowns, 16 interceptions). The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Browning went off again on Sept. 13 by going 23-of-32, 371 yards and seven touchdown passes in Folsom's 56-23 rout against a previously unbeaten Roseville team. Browning, considered a pro-style quarterback, currently holds four scholarship offers (Boise State, Utah, Washington, Washington State).


The 6-foot-3, 190-pound White first burst on the recruiting scene with his accuracy, zip, vision and arm strength at the Passing Down tournaments with his Team B2G (Beyond Two Grand). White is helping elevate his status with 10 touchdown passes and zero picks in two games. His most recent performance saw him go 39-of-56 for 508 yards and seven touchdown passes in a Sept. 6 55-54 shootout win over Chaminade, who has Miami commit Brad Kaaya at quarterback. White so far holds a San Jose State offer.


Wright might become the guy that keeps college recruiters coming to Dinuba, since they've already saw Emperor quarterback and Oregon State commit Marcus McMaryion. Wright has rushed for 607 yards and 11 touchdowns in three games for Dinuba. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Wright has rushed for 207 yards in two games this season for 3-0 Dinuba. His elusiveness provides balance for the Emperors, who were a pass-happy team last year.

More on Wright:  http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1063236/michael-wright


The reigning Central Section Division-II champs have had a slow start at 1-2 this season, but Croney is an elusive and powerful back at 6-foot-1, 215-pounds. He's off to a productive start with 593 yards, an average of 8.24 yards per game and six touchdowns. His best performance was a 26 carry, 380 yard night against Golden Valley-Bakersfield, which also saw four touchdowns in the 49-14 rout. Croney is a powerful north-south back who trucks people with a 4.5 40-yard dash time and 40 inch vertical jump.

More on Croney:  http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/2034375/sheldon-croney


The six-foot, 181-pound Sweet is on the rise, after breaking school records in his performance against traditional power Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. Sweet caught 13 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns in that contest despite the loss. He added one more touchdown grab on an 18-yarder in RSM's 24-6 victory over Dorsey on Sept. 13.


The tiny North Bay Area of town of 204 is currently the home of a tall defensive lineman who has 10 sacks through three games.


The versatile Vaccher will need bulk from his 5-foot-10, 155-pound frame, but he's an explosive and gritty talent who has four interceptions in two games for Troy. He's also an athletic wide receiver with a nice vertical jump and fierce blocking ability in the run game.

More on Vaccher: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1419034/dominic-vaccher

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Five gold mines emerging

From Stockton to Bakersfield, five upperclassmen are beginning to etch a name for themselves with their high level of play. All five have either begun seeing the interest increase or are flying under-the-radar. Here's who they are:
Photo courtesy of hudl


* Ratliff, who holds a Wyoming offer, was part of this Cali Gold Mine list before the season began. Now, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Ratliff has 11 catches, 224 yards, a whopping average of 20.4 yards per catch and five touchdowns. He's becoming one of the best kept secrets in the 209.

Contributed photo


* Simms, another athlete highlighted by CGM back in the spring, has emerged as one of the more dangerous playmakers once he gets the football. Simms made a name for himself with one interception against Valor Christian of Colorado in front of ESPN2 cameras, then added a 67 yard touchdown catch against Hanford and now, Simms added a 44 yard touchdown catch against Kern County power Liberty-Bakersfield. The Grizzlies have had a slow start at 1-2, but Simms has given Central another game changer to look forward to. He's recently received heavy interest from San Diego State.

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna


* Espiritu and the Pirates endured a rough 37-6 loss at Dinuba on Sept. 6, but the 6-foot-3, 270-pound versatile lineman had at least three pancake blocks and helped pave the way for a running attack that tallied 263 rushing yards. Last year, Espiritu played all five line positions. Along with his versatility, he's got the best mean streak out of any Pirate lineman.


* First, it was mobile quarterback David Rico (Cal Lutheran) who helped create a buzz in the Tulare County city of approximately 24,000. Then, it was Marcus McMaryion taking the Central Section by storm at quarterback and is committed to Oregon State. Now, Michael Wright looks to be next in line. Despite being 5-foot-9 and roughly 175-pounds, Wright has carried the Emperors' offense with his cutback ability and speed. Wright has 38 carries, 400 rushing yards and eight touchdowns for the 2-0 Emperors.


* Despite being barely six feet tall and playing in a traditional run-first offense, the Patriots look like they're starting to trust the arm, smarts and athleticism of Medina. The senior looked Alex Smith-like last season with his ability to showcase his accuracy, be a game manager and limit his mistakes. The end result was Medina throwing for 1,831 yards, completing 63.9 percent of his throws, tossing 18 touchdowns and being intercepted just three times. However, this year, Medina has raised his level of play with his arm and mobility. He went 24-of-30 for 228 yards, three touchdown passes, then added 11 carries for 42 yards and three more touchdowns in a thrilling 43-41 overtime win against Central on Sept. 6. His performance was also against one of the top secondaries and defenses in the state. A performance like that could generate late interest.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Opening statements: The week one JUCO scene

The 2013 junior college season kicked off on Sept. 7. Here's who and what stood out:


* Robert Frazier of Elk Grove and Kendall Williams of New Orleans combined for 280 yards and three touchdowns in Butte College's 45-14 rout of Feather River. Frazier is a deadly outside runner and also a gritty runner at 5-foot-7, 170-pounds. Williams is a power back at 6-foot, 210 pounds who also runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. At Riverside, the sophomore duo of Anthony Knight and Sir Darius Yarbrough combined for 333 yards and three touchdowns in Riverside's 59-41 victory over Ventura College. Yarbrough is an elusive game breaker at RB with a 4.45 40-yard dash time and 35 inch vertical leap.


* Ex-Clovis High linebacker Nate Palomino delivered three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, while former Clovis West star and Fresno State walk-on wide receiver Gerald Nutt picked off his first pass at the college level, as the Rams smashed West Hills 35-14. Despite his size (6-feet, 210-pounds), Palomino has a nose for the football and gives the Rams a valuable pass rusher. Nutt gives a young Ram secondary a tall shut down corner at nearly 6-foot-1, 180-pounds. Nutt is known at Clovis West for locking up Oregon WR commit B.J. Kelley of Central during a 2010 game.


* American River gave up -31 rushing yards, then had four different defenders get an interception in its 40-2 rout of Monterey Peninsula. Ethan Clark had one interception and fumble recovery in the 38-point win. Malcom Scott, Nathaniel Smith and Derek Bryant all had interceptions. The Beavers also had eight sacks.


* Khary Livingston-Coleman delivered a breakout night in a much younger College of the Sequoias' secondary, thanks to two interceptions in the Giants' 41-26 victory over Reedley College. Coleman currently holds an offer from Houston. He's having to step up after COS produced Oregon State, Cincinnati and West Texas A&M commits last year in the secondary.


* Tavita Faaiu helped bring the energy and havoc for San Francisco City, as the 6-foot-3, 245 pound defensive end got three tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks in the 41-9 win against Diablo Valley College.


* Dual-threat quarterback Taylor Laird of Sacramento City went 32-of-58 for 434 yards and five touchdowns, as SCC won its shoot out with Sierra 37-31. Freshman Bobby Garza led the way in receiving with 10 catches, 118 yards with one score. Garza is an athletic slot receiver who can be used in a lot of ways. Nick Whitaker had four catches for 115 yards and two scores, while David Oates caught six passes for 96 yards with two touchdowns. On defense, defensive lineman Raymond Coen had three sacks while fellow defensive lineman Anthony Berkavatz had two sacks.


* De'Andre Mann, a slippery and versatile running back, carried the ball 12 times for 130 yards and scored three touchdowns in Hartnell's 41-7 romp of Los Medanos. Mann, who runs a 4.46 40 time, can run around defenders and break tackles.


* Cody Clements of Cerritos College went 19-of-24 for 243 yards, which gave him a completion percentage of 79.2 percent. The former Washington State commit also tossed four touchdowns as Cerritos cruised to a 50-19 rout of Los Angeles Harbor. His go-to wide receiver Xavier Shepherd also had a breakout game with nine catches, 130 yards and three touchdowns.


* William Abt, a 6-foot-3, 215 pound pro-style QB, goes 21-of-32 for 359 yards and throws seven touchdown passes in Grossmont's 65-14 stomping of Desert. His performance came just two days after Manning tossed seven touchdowns for the Denver Broncos to kick off the NFL season.


* Morgan Nevin of Santa Barbara City College delivered 15 tackles and two fumble recoveries, as SBCC stunned traditional rival Allan Hancock 15-14. The undersized 6-foot-tall, 220 pound Nevin is a disruptor against the run game. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lindsay's tower of power

Photo courtesy of hudl.com
It's not hard to spot Lindsay's biggest player if you're in the Central Section. If anyone is looking for Chris Misaalefua, just look for someone who's 6-foot-5 and 350-pounds on both lines.

The behemoth Misaalefua is one of the biggest and most imposing linemen in the Central Section. Because of his size, the Cardinals know how to use him, in terms of running plays up his side because they trust his dominance.

Misaalefua overpowers and flattens defenders in the run game. His upper body strength and mean streak makes him just as valuable. On defense, his size and power makes him a mismatch for anyone who tries to block him one-on-one.

Personally, I feel like right now he's better suited for a run-oriented offense at the next level. His footwork with pass blocking needs improvement since he's been caught stopping his feet and relying more on his strength. Defensively, he's not quick off the snap and also resorts to just muscling blockers.

Still, this is a big hidden gem in the Central Valley and a mauler who helps set the tone in the trenches. Oregon State and New Mexico are two Football Bowl Subdivision schools who have taken notice of Misaalefua, who also was named to the All-State Division-III First Team by Max Preps in 2012.

More on Misaalefua:  http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1758441/chris-misaalefua?nextAthlete=

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lockdown corners are about to do the 8-clap

Two of the best California cornerbacks in the Class of 2014 are officially Westwood bound, as El Cerrito's Adarius Pickett and Centennial-Compton's Denzel Fisher committed to UCLA on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

What type of corners are they? Time to weigh in:

Photo courtesy of espn.com

* Pickett (red shirt, pressing a WR) is a big, chiseled DB with his 6-foot-tall, 185-pound frame and brings lots of strength. The last time I saw him was at Passing Down's Best of the West State Finals in April at Fullerton. Pickett simply manhandled wide receivers with his long arms and upper body strength. His speed and hips also allowed him to shadow wide receivers for over six hours while at the tournament. He's an aggressive playmaker but does tend to bite on plays. In the end, looks like UCLA is beginning to load up on physical press cornerbacks since they got Central-Fresno's Johnny Johnson last year and now added Pickett.

More on Pickett:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8UCBohVr60

Photo courtesy of ucla.scout.com

* Fisher I also saw at the same tournament. He's leaner than Pickett at 175-pounds, but he brings a tall frame with him at 6-foot-1 and comes with athleticism. Fisher has a wide receiver-like vertical jump and can haul down the jump ball. He's also a hitter and unafraid to play in the box to stuff the run. He's another physical press corner. Bulk will be needed, but the Bruins are getting a near-complete cornerback in Fisher.

More on Fisher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJA6j78jRuo

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Opening statements: Week zero

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
Some notable under-the-radar running backs hit the ground running in the Central and Southern Section this past weekend. One team in Fresno loaded with potential future college football stars also made a significant early statement.

Here's what stood out in the eyes of Cali Gold Mine:


* The running back and quarterback duo was responsible for all eight touchdowns in Bullard's 56-30 rout of Paso Robles. 

O' Neal (middle of photo), a 5-foot-7 running back, dashed through Paso's defense for three touchdowns and well over 150 yards on the night. O' Neal showed new toughness in the Saturday, Aug. 30 contest by bouncing off of tacklers and keeping his legs driving between the offensive tackles. He's still an ankle-breaking machine with the ball in his hands and had to have juked out at least four defenders total throughout the night. O' Neal will have to improve his patience as a runner as the year goes on, since he tends to make his cuts before the hole develops. Still, this could be one of the best kept secrets in the Central Section and now, O 'Neal landed a recent Sacramento State offer.

Justice, an undersized 5-foot-11 quarterback, was nearly Russell Wilson-like with his five touchdowns running and throwing. Justice ran for a 90 yard score, then found Jordan Ahart on a 79-yard touchdown pass. The jury is out on whether or not Justice can beat a team by throwing for 300-400 yards and become a true quarterback. One thing is for certain, though. Justice can make plays.


* Defensively, Newman was the punishing hitter that set the tone for the Knights. He delivered two viscous sticks behind the line of scrimmage. Another player underneath six feet, Newman just sets an aggressive tone when he's on the field.


* Edison High sent an early warning to the rest of the Central Section Division-I slate with its dominating 43-6 victory over powerhouse Clovis High. The Tigers dropped 43 on arguably the best defense in the section and saw their young players dominate early. A.J. Greeley and Tyler Horton were among those juniors who made statements.

Greeley combined for 241 yards throwing and running, including bursting through the Cougars for a 72 yard touchdown run. Horton doubles as a play maker wide receiver and cornerback. Also, on a night where Nevada Class of 2014 commits Blake Wright and Kevin Nutt combined for 145 yards and two touchdowns, Khai Williams, another 2015 player, showed a glimpse of the Tigers' backfield future by scoring his first varsity touchdown.

Also on defense, two punishing hitters in Xavier Hamilton and Vance Sams are at linebacker. Both helped disrupt Clovis's offense throughout the night. Sams recently received interest from Nebraska of the Big Ten.


* Doctor had 294 yards on 22 carries for three touchdowns - all in three quarters and had one long touchdown run called back in Lemoore's 47-0 rout of Monache-Porterville. Doctor, who's another ankle-breaker at running back with his elusiveness, has gotten most of his interest from the Ivy Leagues.


* You could be looking at the next most highly-recruited Clovis North player. The powerful 5-foot-10, 200-pound Olurunfunmi gashed Atascadero on touchdown runs of 80, 67 and 98 yards on an evening where he finished with a school record 341 rushing yards in CN's 47-25 victory. Only a junior, Olurunfunmi has received interest from Washington and San Jose State.


* Dawkins, the 6-foot-4 quarterback who's bound for Arizona, threw for 395 yards against an athletic Bakersfield defense and tossed six touchdowns in the thrilling 51-50 victory. Davis caught eight passes for 165 yards and touchdown scores of 70 and 23 yards.


* Looks like the Braves won't miss too much of a beat in their backfield, even with Lavon Coleman committed to Washington. Florez, a senior, ran for 182 yards on 30 carries in Lompoc's 28-16 victory over traditional Central Coast power Arroyo Grande. Portis, a junior, gave the Braves' backfield a bright future with his 24 carry, 150 yard night.


* Parham, an athletic 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback, combined for 213 yards running and throwing and scored four touchdowns in the Knights' 47-7 rout of Santa Barbara.