|Nehemia Abera has received late interest from different colleges, including a visit from the University of Redlands on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Abera stands at 6-foot-2, 225-pounds for University-Los Angeles (photo contributed).|
Some of these versatile athletes are still requesting for their first offer from a big-time college football program. After spending some time in the CGM film room, I definitely like what I see out of these crop of big men.
Here's some underrated trench warriors:
NEHEMIA ABERA, DEFENSIVE END, UNIVERSITY-LOS ANGELES
Abera - who's parents are Ethopian - has picked up late interest because of his skill set and academics.
On the field, Abera stands at 6-foot-2, 225-pounds and uses hand technique, athleticism and high energy effort to disrupt offenses. Off the field, Abera is heavily involved in his community as a tutor, church leader and Vice President of the Westwood Branch Library.
Academically, he holds a 3.6 grade point average and scored 1530 on his SAT.
Lastly, he comes from the prep alma mater of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith.
More on Abera can be found here.
DANIEL DUNHAM, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, VALLEY CHRISTIAN-SAN JOSE
Think of Dunham as an angry wolverine searching for a fight in the woods.
Dunham lacks size (6-foot, 270-pounds), but he's one viscous curmudgeon on the Valley Christian line. I like his ability to shoot through the gaps and halt running backs. He also does an excellent job of locking his palms into his blocker's numbers and pushes them into the backfield.
He can be an effective 3-technique defensive lineman at the next level (lines up on the outside shoulder of an offensive guard). Along with his motor and hand placement, Dunham is quick off the snap.
EMIL GRAVES, TACKLE/GUARD, LOS ALAMITOS
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Graves brings a defensive lineman's motor to the Los Alamitos line.
He won't just stop his feet or hands on first contact, he'll eliminate his blocking assignment from the play and ensure they don't come within 5-10 yards of his running back.
I believe Graves' strength is his run blocking, which is why I believe he's better suited as a guard in the college ranks.
He recently was named the Sunset League Lineman of the Year.
More on Graves can be seen here.
ZACK FRAZIER, DEFENSIVE END, LEMOORE
Frazier brought speed and disruption to an improved Tiger defense.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior helped turn Lemoore into one of the best defenses in the Central Section. He used his athleticism to collapse the pocket and create a wall for opposing running backs.
According to Max Preps, Frazier finished second in the section with 16 sacks for the 11-1 Tigers.
More on Frazier can be seen here.
NICK VILLALOBOS, DEFENSIVE END, DINUBA
Villalobos is quite similar to Frazier in size (6-foot-4, 225-pounds) and athleticism.
His quickness off the ball and pass rushing ability helped set the tone for the Emperors' defense, as he led DHS in sacks with nine. He had two sacks in the 30-22 upset over Lemoore - the Central Section's No. 2 seed in Division II.
He's a cat-quick blindside rusher who uses his explosive first step and a swim move to beat his blockers.
Villalobos and the Emps are chasing back-to-back section titles on Friday, Dec. 5, against Ridgeview-Bakersfield in the third consecutive meeting between both teams in the finals (met in the DIII title match up the last two seasons).
More on Villalobos can be seen here.