Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Potential impact freshmen
National Signing Day is the biggest event for the highly-touted high school football star. It's the day they choose their future and give a program's coaching staff and fan base optimism for the next four to five years.
Some players are still deciding where they want to go. But for now, here's who Cali Gold Mine believes can make an impact right away as true freshmen since these California players have already committed:
Jake Browning, Folsom, Washington commit: Browning's monster stats makes him look like he could be a Fantasy Football player's ultimate dream. But I'm looking more at the physical tools. Browning impresses me with his accuracy, quick release and his pocket composure when the pass rush comes. He's already enrolled at UW, so he's already gunning for the starting quarterback spot this spring.
Kyle Kearns, Foothill (Pleasanton), Wake Forest commit: I'm perplexed that Kearns didn't come home with more than five offers because he had the on the field intangibles to be a big-time recruit. However, Wake Forest is getting a steal from the East Bay region of California. Kearns is a cerebral quarterback who plays mind games with defenses and can exploit their weaknesses. He's got a smooth deep ball and shows excellent vision with his throws. He's a former Southern Methodist commit.
Josh Rosen, St. John Bosco (Bellflower), UCLA commit: With Bruin star Brett Hundley vacating the quarterback position after declaring for the NFL Draft in December, Rosen could come in and snatch the open signal caller spot right away. He's got what pro style offenses like UCLA crave: size, arm strength, a high football IQ and the ability to make any throw, long and short. What I like the most about Rosen is his ability to recognize a potential blitz or coverage change, then shout an adjustment at the line of scrimmage to counter it. Few high school quarterbacks have that trait. And how legit is Rosen? His first scholarship offer came before he played varsity football. Fresno State made an early run at him while he was a freshman at Bosco.
Bolu Olurunfunmi, Clovis North, UCLA commit: I've watched Bolu run the rock since his sophomore year. I've never seen a running back more prepared for the next level. Olurunfunmi is a three-way threat with his size, destructive power and speed. He simply wore down defenses under the Friday night lights of the Central Valley. Like Rosen, Olurunfunmi could see the field right away because he's one of the most complete running backs in the class of 2015.
Trent Irwin, Hart (Newhall), Stanford commit: Irwin was one of the hardest receivers to cover down in the Los Angeles region. He combines his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame with speed and strength. He fights for the football in man coverage and comes down with the pigskin. His body control after a catch is another plus. But he's not just a possession guy. Irwin has a second gear with his speed which makes him a deep threat. He'll be contending with taller and more physical cornerbacks in the PAC-12 and he'll need to add muscle, but Irwin is a excellent pick up for the Cardinal.
Tyler Petite, Campolindo (Moraga), USC commit: The tight end position is looking crowded for the Trojans with Bryce Dixon and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick already on the roster, plus Caleb Wilson (Serra of Gardena) coming in as a walk-on. But Petite has the possibilities to oust all three men this fall with what he brings on the football field. Petite destroys coverages with his lateral agility, hands and 6-foot-5 frame. He's not the most physical tight end, though, and will need to build on his muscle and blocking ability, especially in USC's balanced Up-Tempo offense. Nevertheless, Petite's size and athleticism can come in handy for the Trojans.
Clayton Johnston, Servite (Anaheim), USC commit: Here's why I threw Johnston's name as a possible starter/impact player for the Trojans: USC started two true freshmen last year on the line and made an immediate influence in the trenches. Johnston looks like an ideal left tackle with his height (6-foot-6) and athletic feet.
Isaiah Trevino, Kingsburg, Fresno State commit: The Bulldogs are expected to lose four offensive linemen to graduation, so the powerful 6-foot-6, 320-pound Trevino could see the field right away. Trevino has solid athleticism for a big lineman and held his own as a left tackle for the Vikings during his senior year. An added bonus for Fresno State fans is that Trevino mainly blocked in the spread offense for Kingsburg, so he's used to pass blocking and should make a smooth transition to the Bulldogs' spread attack.
Ricky McCoy, Roosevelt (Fresno), Washington commit: Even at nearly 290-pounds, McCoy has unreal athleticism that grabbed the attention of the PAC-12, especially the school he's committed to. He runs like a tight end and has a powerful upper body. His size could convince the Huskies to move him inside, but his speed can place him on the edge.
Jacob Daniel, Clovis North, USC commit: Daniel went through an injury-riddled senior year after committing to the Trojans early. When healthy, though, he's a 300-pound wrecking ball against offensive linemen. Daniel shows a good burst after the ball is snapped and clogs the middle with ease. He obliterates the running game and can also chase down quarterbacks.
Keisean Lucier-South, Orange Lutheran, UCLA commit: Lucier-South could transition to defensive end down the road, but for now the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder is listed by several people as an outside linebacker. He's a high-energy player and excels in the backside pursuit. His best trait is his instincts. He doesn't stop until he gets his hands on the quarterback or whoever has the ball.
Cameron Smith, Granite Bay, USC commit: Smith is a bruiser at 6-foot-3, 225-pounds. He plows into the legs or torso of running backs. He improved his coverage ability during the 7-on-7 circuit and under the lights, showed good awareness in zones. His run stuffing ability makes him an ideal inside linebacker.
Mike Bell, Citrus Hill (Perris), Fresno State commit: Bell has the size to be a strong safety at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, but he's turned heads with his ability as a cornerback. Bell is physical at the line of scrimmage and his long arms makes it difficult for receivers to get receptions on him. He shows excellent hips in coverage and doesn't give up too many big plays. He could convince the Bulldog coaching staff to place him at corner.
A.J. Greeley, Edison (Fresno), Fresno State commit: It's been a long time - probably since the days of Marcus McCauley - that the Bulldogs have had a true tall, physical, press cornerback. The 6-foot-1 Greeley, though, is capable of changing that. Anyone who watched an Edison Tiger game probably saw Greeley jamming and locking up receivers in man coverage. Greeley also has lined up at safety, wide receiver and quarterback.
Stanley Norman, Serra (Gardena), Arizona State commit: Norman doesn't back down from challenges. He steps up and gets physical at the line against receivers, despite his small 5-foot-10 frame. He has excellent core strength and balance, but it's his speed and versatility that made him a wanted man on the recruiting trail with nearly 30 schools offering him a scholarship. Norman played receiver for Serra and showed a quick first step off the line. He could be a slot receiver if things don't work out in ASU's secondary, but he's projected to help the fast rising Sun Devil defense.
Isaiah Langley, Foothill (Pleasanton), USC commit: Much like Norman, Langley was another versatile playmaker under the lights who was highly recruited. Langley is a deep threat at wide receiver, but most people (myself included) have been enamored by his ability to play cornerback. Despite a thin-looking frame at 6-feet, 165-pounds, Langley doesn't hesitate to get physical at the line in press coverage. He's also unafraid to track down the ball, get behind a receiver, then extend his arms out and swat the potential reception. What I'm most impressed with is his athleticism. Langley jumps like a 6-foot-4 receiver and comes down with the rock on defense. His speed makes him look like he could be a CIF state qualifier in the 100 meter dash. Adoree Jackson got playing time on both sides of the football for the Trojans last year as a true freshman. Could Langley be next?