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."