|Tristan Gebbia of Calabasas High School put together a dominant outing at Passing Down's Southern California regional on March 20 in Fontana, proving to the spectators why he's highly recruited (photo by Lorenzo Reyna).|
April is fast approaching, which also means that the spring 7-on-7 tournament season is nearing the finish line.
Like it or not, this is the time of year when a high school football player chooses to hone his craft instead of sitting at home playing a video game, cell phone game, or glorifying themselves on social media.
A number of athletes - either holding multiple offers or itching for scholarship No. 1 - have used this period wisely, which is why I chose to highlight them. They’re clearly not satisfied with their high recruiting ranking or their other accolades. Here’s who has stood out to me so far in the tournament season starting with the quarterbacks.
Disclaimer: These players are who I think has stood out in my eyes. Unfortunately, I can’t get to or watch everyone. So if your quarterback isn’t on this list, nothing against you but do not, I repeat, do not try to persuade me to change my list.
Tristan Gebbia, Calabasas
Gebbia has made good use of the weapons around him. He’s spread the ball around to the likes of Tyjon Lindsey, Brian Hightower, Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Darnay Holmes with pinpoint accuracy and a quick release. He’s also done damage on roll out throws. He clearly has shown why schools like Ole Miss, Washington and Alabama are hunting him down on the recruiting trail.
Jake Haener, Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista
Haener, who is the son of renown Bay Area news anchor Julie Haener, has shown a cool composure when out on the field. All he’s done is refuse to get rattled over any mistakes and fires the long ball. The Most Valuable Player of Passing Down’s Northern California Regional on Feb. 28 has been courted by mid-major programs so far, with Hawaii, Toledo, Akron and Middle Tennessee all offering him.
J.T. Daniels, Santa Ana-Mater Dei
Think of Matt Barkley or K.J. Costello with athleticism and a cool demeanor. That’s what you’ll get with Daniels. Not only does the Class of 2019 prospect possess a rocket arm and sharp touch to his throws, but has shown to be mature beyond his years by the way he controls and leads the offense. Six Football Bowl Subdivision programs have already offered the star freshman, with Norte Dame and Cal jumping on him early.
Jayden Daniels, San Bernardino-Cajon
The other Daniels from the 2019 class is a mad bomber and school record breaker at state powerhouse Cajon High. Daniels has an impressive trajectory with his throws and doesn’t hesitate to unleash the long ball. What sticks out the most, though, is his high football IQ; helping him figure out coverages right away before picking a defense apart.
Chase Garbers, Corona Del Mar
Garbers proved to me why he got invited to the prestigious Elite 11 camp (for the top quarterbacks in the nation) and why he holds 11 reported offers. He knows how to move an offense quickly down the field with his arm and vision.
Adrian Martinez, Clovis West
Like Garbers, the Daniels and Haener, the Class of 2018 prospect Martinez has shown that he’s never rattled by his mistakes. His release and deep ball capability are two major strengths right now. He not only holds offers from Fresno State and Nevada, but comes from a high school known in the Central Valley for breeding quarterbacks (Billy Volek and Jeff Tuel).
Trent Tompkins, Fresno-Central
Tompkins could headline the Central Valley’s 2019 class. Despite standing at 6-feet and 180-pounds according to his Hudl account, Tompkins plays bigger than his size indicates. He’s got a nice zip to his throws and is a strong decision maker.
Devoreah Allen, El Cerrito
He’s undersized at 5-foot-8 and has an awkward release, but make no mistake, Allen takes shots down the field and isn’t afraid to thread the needle against coverages. His prowess in the short passing game helped propel his club squad Silly U Orange to a top four finish at the Passing Down Northern California Regional tournament in February, a tournament that had 40 teams.
Armando Muzquiz, Merced-Golden Valley
Muzquiz looks every bit like another former Merced County star: Tyrone Williams of Azusa Pacific. Muzquiz is near similar in size, has mobility and has identical throwing mechanics. The Class of 2017 prospect is good about sharing the wealth among his receivers and going deep in the end zone.