The junior college football season in California is starting up this week and, much like the high school talent, the JUCO scene is full of future college football stars and, quite possibly, future NFL players.
Keep in mind Sheldon Richardson of the New York Jets (College of the Sequoias-Visalia), Cameron Artis-Payne of Auburn (Allan Hancock College-Santa Maria), Zac Diles of the Cleveland Browns (Fresno City College), Maurice Morris of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (Fresno City College), Steve Nelson of Oregon State (College of the Sequoias) and Skyler Howard of West Virginia (Riverside College) all began at the JC level.
Here's some notable JC players worth watching this fall:
CORY BUTLER, ATH, LOS ANGELES HARBOR
Butler is a Percy Harvin type for L.A. Harbor. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound athlete is deadly when he turns the corner. Butler has the speed to leave a trail of dust and leave behind defenders who try to catch up with him. As a receiver, he's dangerous after the catch because he can make defenders miss and shows a running back-like elusiveness. I was mostly impressed with his willingness to make the middle catches then turn on the jets. I didn't see him hesitate when going to the middle of the field. He's a soft verbal with the University of Kansas right now. Butler runs a 4.35 40-yard dash time.
More on Butler: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/3183851/highlights/70922375
LIO LAFAELE, TACKLE/GUARD, RIVERSIDE COLLEGE
Lafaele has a defensive linemen's motor on offense, and he attacks defenders like a menacing bear. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Lafaele combines his mean streak and athleticism to the RCC line. He's currently committed to Texas Tech.
More on Lafaele: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/2598378/highlights/115224375
ANTHONY FOTU, DEFENSIVE END, LANEY-OAKLAND
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Fotu is a versatile high energy defender for Laney. He mixes his power and speed to push around offensive linemen, then attack quarterbacks. He'll need to improve his hand technique since I've noticed he tends to rely on physical strength to get around offensive linemen. But Fotu is a hard blocking assignment in the trenches. He currently holds four offers from Maryland, Illinois, Miami and Mississippi.
More on Fotu: http://jcfootball.scout.com/a.z?s=87&p=8&c=1&nid=7622781
DOMINIC DESOUZA, OFFENSIVE TACKLE, CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO
The 6-foot-8, 290-pound Desouza holds 12 scholarship offers because of his size, powerful hands and ability to keep defensive linemen in check. I noticed Desouza didn't allow defenders to go near two to three yards of his quarterback during pass blocking. He's also willing to run down field during run plays and knock linebackers or defensive backs to the turf. Oklahoma State, Texas Christian and Mississippi State are among his offers.
More on Desouza: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/2563832/highlights/91647382
WILLIAM ABT, QUARTERBACK, GROSSMONT-EL CAJON
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Abt was a mad bomber for Grossmont last season, as he constantly attacked secondaries with the play action. Abt not only shows a strong arm, but he won't shy away from attacking two defenders and force his throws into tight windows. I'll have to see his consistency with his short throws, but Abt has excellent patience in the pocket and can do damage on the roll out throws.
More on Abt: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/66542/highlights/102042375
KENDALL WILLIAMS, RUNNING BACK, BUTTE-OROVILLE
He combines speed and power with his 6-foot, 210-pound frame. Williams runs a 4.45 40-yard dash for the run-heavy Roadrunners. He's currently committed to Arizona.
DEONTE REYNOLDS, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, CONTRA COSTA-SAN PABLO
Reynolds has freakish speed for a 6-foot-5, 325-pound behemoth. He'll penetrate through the interior line like a young Vince Wilfork. He holds eight offers including Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington. He'll need to improve his hand technique, but Reynolds is a game changer at defensive tackle. His nickname is "The Big Ticket."
More on Reynolds: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/3070418/highlights/107202380
WILLIAM IRIBARREN, MIDDLE LINEBACKER, ALLAN HANCOCK-SANTA MARIA
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Iribarren has the size/speed/reaction trifecta that most college football defensive coordinators would want out of a linebacker. He's instinctive with locating the football then punishing a ball carrier. He also has good cover speed.
More on Iribarren: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/2925881/william-iribarren
ANTOINE ALBERT, CORNERBACK, DIABLO VALLEY-PLEASANT HILL
He's a physical 6-foot-2, 198-pound lock down corner who hits like a safety. Albert is valuable in man coverage. He excels in playing up to a receiver and shadowing over his route with his frame, hip direction and quick feet. He'll bury his shoulder into a ball carrier and knock the ball loose. He holds 10 offers including Arizona, Oregon State and Washington State. His nickname is "Alcatraz."
More on Albert: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/2647011/highlights/84858399