Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bradford a tasmanian devil down in San Diego

Two-year varsity defensive lineman Jaquille Bradford of Hoover-San Diego is a feisty one down in the 619.

He's not your ideal defensive lineman at nearly 5-foot-11, 230-pounds. But he's a wild man on the front line for Hoover. The 2015 prospect is currently the state leader in sacks with 20 according to Max Preps.

Bradford uses an array of moves from the bull rush, to the rip move all the way to a spin move. I've been most impressed with his explosion through holes when disrupting a play. Bradford attacks gaps with freakish quickness. The junior currently runs a 4.45 40-yard dash. He uses his speed to his advantage with chasing down ball carriers and getting around offensive tackles. He's also shown to have power with taking on double teams.

Size is obviously a drawback. He can also rely more on a swim or rip move instead of a bull rush for the time being, since he's not big enough to overpower every offensive lineman. However, this could be a future Dwight Freeney or Elvis Dumervil for a future school with his size and pass rushing.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Third Edison Tiger running back earning his stripes

Photo courtesy of Central Valley Football
Think Edison-Fresno's backfield will lose a beat after Kevin Nutt and Blake Wright (Nevada commits) graduate? I wouldn't count on it.

Just look closely at Edison's third running back Khai Williams.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound junior has battled for playing time with the Tigers' thunder/lightning duo of Wright and Nutt. However, when he hits the field, Williams can also provide plenty of electricity.

He's got a deadly cutback on him and can make defenders look silly if they're out of position. Like Nutt, he's just as quick to the hole and is capable of breaking the 40-plus yard run. Williams even spins out of arm tackles and does an excellent job of keeping his legs moving.

His bulk and power will need to improve during the off-season, especially since the Tigers will likely ask him to carry the load next year. I'll also be curious to see how he does as a blocker against linebacker blitzes and how he is as a receiver.

In the end, though, and judging by his three touchdown performance on television against Madera on Oct. 24 where he showed his breakaway speed, the future is bright for both Williams and the undefeated Tigers.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sac-Joaquin DB and future Sun Devil sticking the fork into people

Photo courtesy of 24/7 sports
Got a chance to break down Arizona State commit Jordan Thomas (Inderkum-Sacramento) in my film room recently and I must say, he's improved a lot in his senior year.

Thomas has become an instinctive safety who can run through ball carriers. He's emerging as one of the Sacramento region's hardest hitters. His closing speed has shown a change in acceleration. He's running a 4.5 40-yard dash now and runs a 10.7 100 meter dash time.

One thing I admire about Thomas is his ability to play up to the line of scrimmage. He's a box safety and a disruptor in the run/option game. Thomas will come in handy at Arizona State in the future, since USC, UCLA, Utah, Colorado and in-state rival Arizona all either run a balanced running attack or an option look.

I did catch Thomas stopping his feet when reacting to a tackle. I also saw him try to muscle ball carriers to the ground. He may get away with that at the high school level, but that has to change soon because PAC-12 running backs can pummel defenders who try to muscle them to the ground.

In the end, though, Thomas gives Inderkum an extra linebacker with his instincts and hits. He's capable of giving Arizona State the same thing.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Central prospects step up in emotional win

Photo courtesy of Central Valley Football
On a night where Central-Fresno got victory No. 5 in 2013, the Grizzlies perhaps won their most emotional game of the year on Oct. 17.

The Grizzlies entered Lamonica Stadium at Clovis High with a four-game losing streak against the Cougars. The same Cougars team that won the outright Tri-River Athletic Conference title last year.

Thanks to a dramatic goal line stand in the first quarter, an interception from a future Arizona Wildcat in the end zone during the third, a highlight reel punt return by the Grizzlies' most sought-after prospect and finally, the shifty and power running of their lead running back, Central prevailed in the emotional 13-9 win.

Here's some key moments from the Grizzlies' top prospects:

Nick Wilson: The Arizona commit showed elusiveness on one run by juking and even spinning out of an arm tackle. Then showed a stiff arm and breakaway speed on another. He gained 101 yards through three quarters against a Clovis team that's had one of the best defenses in the Central Section the last two seasons.

Wilson (photo) also hauled in a a 33-yard catch where he extended his whole body to grab the ball near the sidelines. The ball placed Central at the 18. However, his best play of the night was when he bulled his way to the end zone with a 12-yard run where he drove one Clovis defender back nearly five yards on the inside run. That touchdown became the game-winner.

Wilson: 18 carries for 152 yards and both touchdowns for Grizzlies.

Michiah Quick: It was a somewhat quiet game for the five-star Quick. But that changed when he erupted for a 30-yard punt return that helped set up the Grizzlies' final drive. Quick got the ball to the Clovis 27 before Central marched into the end zone. It was a return where Quick zig-zagged through Clovis' punt team by running to the sidelines, then turning up field before being brought down.

Devon Brewer: The other Arizona pledge hauled in a crucial end zone interception during the third quarter that halted a potential long scoring drive for Clovis.

James Brown and Teofilo Freeman: Relative unknown defenders for Central's talented secondary, until now. Brown got two sacks from his safety spot. Freeman had a key tackle for a loss during Central's early goal-line stand and finished with three tackles. Freeman has received late interest from Sacramento State, Eastern Washington and Fresno State.

Savion Simms and Jovonte Page: The Grizzlies' 2015 defensive backs began the game with crucial early stops. Simms had two tackles on the first drive including one behind the line of scrimmage. He finished with six stops. Page, who plays safety, got a quarterback sack and showed his nose for the football on several run plays. Both have received letters from Colorado. Simms also has heard from San Diego State and Missouri.

In the end, definitely one of the best high school games Cali Gold Mine attended this season. Outstanding effort by both Central and Clovis.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jackson fights off new scenery and injuries to keep name out there

Contributed photo
It's been an interesting journey for Los Angeles section quarterback Eban Jackson II.

It all began with moving from state powerhouse Long Beach Poly in January 2013 and transferring to another L.A area power: Narbonne of Harbor City. Then, Jackson broke a bone in his non-throwing hand and ended up missing the early part of his senior year.

However, since then, Jackson has inserted himself back into the Gauchos' starting lineup and is showing off his skill set.

When on the field, Jackson is actually one of the best deep ball throwers in the Southern California region. He did show off his strong arm at two tournaments through Passing Down and earned all-tournament honors in the Best of the West Finals.

He's also shown to be a mobile runner. Jackson can hide his fakes well then break off the long 20-yard scramble with his mobility.

The main thing that strikes me the most about Jackson, though, is his ability to be mistake free. He's shown to be accurate with his throws and has completed 61.8 percent of his throws. He's only lost one fumble and he hasn't been picked off yet.

One thing I'll be curious to see is his composure in the pocket and if that improves. I did see him bail out quick and make numerous throws out of the pocket. Most of his throws were also in long range, so I also have to see if he can be consistent with his short throws.

In the end, though, Jackson is actually one of the under-the-radar prospects in the always talent-rich L.A area. Maybe he sneaks in a few late offers by staying healthy and as accurate as possible. Schools who love the long ball could probably take a closer look at Jackson.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Palmer a tall option at wide receiver and cornerback

Photo courtesy of 24/7 sports
Matt Palmer of Heritage High in Riverside County is a potential match up problem.

He's capable of being a problem for defensive backs because of his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. He's the same way for wide receivers too, because of his tall stature.

Palmer has the size and vertical jump (31 inches) to be a red zone target on offense. Inside the red zone and judging by what I saw in my film room, Palmer also is a red zone disruptor - thanks to his hands, closing speed and of course, that tall stature. Palmer can make the red zone fade routes from offenses difficult, since he's got the height and hands to swat the ball away.

He's not the fastest defender with his current 4.6 40-yard dash time. However, he's shown game speed with his closing pursuits and backpedal.

I'll be curious to see if he can play up and press wide receivers consistently at the line. Also, I'll be wondering what type of blitzer he is and how willing he'll be to come crashing into a backfield.

In the end, though, here's an Inland Empire prospect that's received interest from Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Colorado of the PAC-12 and was a selection to the 2014 Polynesian All-American game.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mountain West showing Croney love - will others follow?

In the past week, Garces running back Sheldon Croney has come home to two scholarship offers from Colorado State and Boise State of the Mountain West Conference.

Judging by the way he's played this season, plus the interest he's been receiving, Cali Gold Mine predicts the scholarships will soon stack up.

Croney is already built like a grown man at 6-foot-1, 215-pounds. He runs the ball like a college football running back with his power, vision and, for a guy that big, he's got wicked straight line speed and sometimes goes untouched to the end zone.

Croney, a 2015 prospect, has a versatile running style for a big back. He has the straight line speed, he can cutback, he can pummel arm tackles and, he's even capable of hurdling over defenders.

He can continue to work on developing his speed. I also did catch him on a couple of occasions holding the football away from his body, which can lead to possible fumbles. He can also look to consistently hold the ball close to him.

In the end, though, this could be the most highly recruited prospect in Kern County real soon. He's also a basketball star for the Rams and helped lead them to a CIF Central Section title game run during the 2012-13 season.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mariscal - The Liberty Patroit Missile

Photo courtesy of Max Preps
Down in Kern County, perhaps no one has had a faster start than rising 2015 prospect Anthony Mariscal of Liberty-Bakersfield.

The do-everything type has to be one of the most slippery players in the Central Section. With the moves at his disposal, it's almost as if he's so slippery, he won't get wet during a heavy rain.

Mariscal is an ankle-breaking machine with the ball in his hands. His vision, cut back ability and versatility has gotten him off to a fast start for the 5-0 Patriots. He also has enough speed to cover wide receivers and close in on screen passes and sweeps. Surprisingly, despite not being the biggest guy, Mariscal has also been seen running over defenders and breaking through arm and ankle tackles.

Size is one drawback. He's roughly around 5-foot-8. However, he's been a mismatch for someone trying to cover him one-on-one this season. Mariscal is becoming one of the more explosive players in the Central Section, all the more reason he gets this new nickname by CGM: The Liberty Patriot Missile.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Texas QB building his own 'Inland Empire' at Riverside

He was once a walk-on at Football Championship Subdivision school Stephen F. Austin. Now, with 15 touchdown passes, one interception and a completion percentage of 73.2 percent through four games, looks like Texas-born Skyler Howard could go from being a former walk-on to being highly recruited out of Riverside City College in the Inland Empire of California.

Howard, who went to Brewer High in Fort Worth, has emerged as one of the better play-fake quarterbacks in the California junior college scene. He hides his hand offs well and his pump fake has fooled defensive backs in the first four games. He also has shown to embrace the long ball. Seven of his touchdown throws came from 30 yards or more.

Howard shows good patience in the pocket and can sit for a good four seconds before finding the open man. However, he can also escape rushers and shows mobility, thanks to his 4.6 40-yard dash time. His vision, patience, accuracy and arm strength a major pluses.

The downside for Howard is that he doesn't have ideal size for the quarterback position, since he's approximately six-feet-tall and 205 pounds.

However, there was one former Texas quarterback from Dallas who stood at barely six-feet-tall and he's shattering NFL passing records and won a Super Bowl ring: New Orleans' Drew Brees.

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