Jake Martinez’s big summer moves him into Top 10.
NOTE: Although the summer passing circuit means little in the big scheme things, one area where you can make a pretty good judgement on talent is at quarterback. If a QB is displaying a big arm, good decision-making skills, ability to read coverages, ability to check down and has command of his team when it’s on the field, then I think you can safely deduce that QB is headed for a nice season. Things will obviously change when the pads come on and time to throw and running game are other important factors, but nonetheless, I would say that if a QB looks good in summer, he typically translates to the fall.
1. Travis Santiago, Charter Oak — Yes, we have a change at the top. Santiago moves to the top of the list after an excellent summer. If you saw him throw, you saw that the arm strength is there, the decision making is there and the field command is there. The guy was reading things beautifully all summer. Basically, he didn’t miss. Throw in being able to workout with NFL guys and even looking good there, and it’s pretty safe to say Santiago is headed for a monster year.
2. Steven Rivera, Arroyo — Like Santiago, Rivera put on display a knack for going to the right place with the ball on nearly every play. That’s what you want to see out of a FOUR-YEAR starter and Rivera’s got it. Rivera has become another member of the coaching staff. He’s got that much of his team. When ratchets up the intensity, the entire team feeds off of it. This guy has it all and looks poised for a very big season.
3. Nine, Bishop Amat — The pre-passing circuit No. 1 has dipped down because while I still think all the tools that made him No. 1 are there, the priority placed on football is not. And THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I cannot say it enough, Nine is likely headed toward a professional career in baseball, so why not make that the priority in his life? Anyway, part of his time this summer has been diverted toward a resume-building seleciton to Team USA. And while that’s great, Nine is still a QB that showed at times last year that he needed some more polish. Did he get it this summer? Probably not as much as he should.
4. Henry Omana, Diamond Bar — Omana put on display the type of big arm and decision making that you want to see out of next-level hopeful. He led the Brahmas to a win in the SGV Shootout. Like I said going into that tourney, if you’re a Maranatha or D-Bar and you have a potential next-level QB at the helm, YOU’D BETTER MAKE A DAMN GOOD IMPRESSION in a tourney like the SGV Shootout. Omana did just that. His deep balls were on the money. His deep outs were ropes. He’s got it all …
5. Andrew Elffers, Maranatha — Elffers has attracted a ton of buzz following his fantastic sophomore season. Still only a junior, he’s got the tools to become the player everybody expects. I saw him at the SGV Shootout and was impressed with how quick he got the ball out and how accurate it was. It was three-step drop and out. He needed very little time to go to the right place with the ball, which is a great sign.
6. Myles Carr, Arcadia — Carr had a very big summer, leading Arcadia to a very nice showing in several tournaments. It helps when you have a WR like Taylor Lagace, the Apaches’ skill talent evidently runs even deeper than just Lagace. Carr has the arm and the athleticism to do it all and now he’s showing he’s got the decision making, too. Couldn’t ask for a better summer in terms of putting his name on the map. Hence the reason he’s up three spots from the previous list.
7. Billy Livingston, Covina — Sadly, Livingston was missing from the SGV Shootout, which would have let a lot of people see that he’s gotten even better this offseason. But when you’re across the country at a Manning QB camp, that’s a pretty good excuse. Livingston looked impressive against Charter Oak, though. Some people even thought that the Colts won or pushed that matchup. Nothing’s changed here; Livingston is still one of the signal callers to fear most this fall.
8. Jared Leibowitz, St. Francis — Leibowitz and the Knights had some rather solid, under-the-radar showings in some pretty prestigious tournaments. Leibowitz is a big kid with a very nice arm, and he’s obviously being groomed very well by Knights coach Jim Bonds, who knows what he’s doing with QBs. I’m a little concerned with the lack of playmakers outside of WR Travis Talianko, but that’s not reflection on Leibowitz. He’s going to have the ball in the right spot if this summer was any indicator.
9. Vince Hernandez, South Hills — Those expecting Hernandez to simply be a caretaker-type QB may be surprised this season. All the tools are there. I just can’t say enough how much the experienced QBs in the area got better, and Hernandez was clearly one of them. He’s got the arm and the decision making is what it should be for someone with this much experience. If Hernandez gets time and a healthy Jamie Canada, he could shock people with his numbers.
10. Jake Martinez, Azusa — I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed by Martinez this summer. That’s because I thought there was an underlying reason why Jose Nunez got so much time, but clearly it was because Nunez was that good. Anyway, Martinez impressed all summer long, as did the rest of the Aztecs. He’s got the arm, knows the offense well and was making all the throws.
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