I listened to what everyone said about expanding our blog coverage to the Inland Empire. I will not overdue it, but I think including all Sierra League teams in here is fine because of the crossovers with Glendora, Diamond Bar and Damien. We should also be including Ganesha and Pomona too. Football is a different story. Each week I will do an Inland Empire football top ten in the fall, and let the Scouting Guru do his thing as well. There’s nothing wrong with giving I.E. folks a thread to talk. So, the Guru has a Spring Top Ten Inland Empire Poll that he broke down over the weekend. Check it out by clicking on the thread….
From the Scouting Guru…..
So, the fearless one — Fred Robledo — asked me last week to put together an early top-10 for the Inland Empire for the upcoming season. Since we cover the Inland Empire and with the amount of resources available, we said “Sure…why not.” First off, speaking for many in the IE, let me make this observation, other than maybe Charter Oak and South Hills, there is not a team in the East SGV that can handle any of our top-10 teams. These teams are way too loaded and have too many weapons for teams in this area to handle. And when you start reading about some of these teams, you’ll see why. So here we go.
1. Corona Centennial — To be the champs — you have to beat the champs. And until somone beats the champs, they are still the champs. Last year was one of the truly amazing seasons at Centennial and it topped off with a boat load of players getting D-1 offers. What you’ll see of this team this year will be a bit different. This is a very young team – but it’s got a ton of talent. You can start at the QB position with class of 2011 prospect Michael Eubanks. He was the talk of the Nike Camp several weeks ago and it continued up at the Elite 11 workout last week at Cal-Berkeley. A very rangy
kid with a lot of length to his size (he measures 6-4, 200) he has a bit of a long release, but he has plenty of RPM’s to his ball. He is in position to be the top QB in the IE for the class of 2011. Then you have Norco transfer Brandon Brown (6-2, 235, 4.86) who was hampered by injuries last year and would be advised to play Defensive End if he wants to meet his potential. Word has it that he doesn’t want to play with his hand on the ground. Such a shame. And wait to you see WR/CB Chris Simpson (6-2, 193, 4.7e) when CC comes down to CDF and scrimmages SH. He is very athletic and we project him being an early September offer kid for colleges once they get his film during the season. One other thing to consider, the schedule clearly works in their
favor. Two of the first three games are at home, so the farthest they’ll have to travel is down to CDF for the scrimmage. Should be a fun night at CDF.
2. Rancho Verde -- One my good friends said it the best last summer when we both watched Rancho Verde in action at the Bonita Passing League Tournament, “This is a Junior College Football team.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This is going to be a very good football team. Any discussion of this team has to start with Defensive Lineman stud Ronald Powell (6-3, 240, 4.90e). Clearly one of the top defensive ends in the country, this kid has a body that make you ashamed of the body that you have. Plays with a relentless energy, a playmaker and it sounds like it could be down to the USC, UCLA and Florida to get his services. The kid is the real deal. It doesn’t stop there. You have class of 2011 quarterback Travis Champion (6-2e, 200e, 4.9e) how looked pretty darn good at the Nike Camp, wide receiver Necho Beard
who is one of the fastest WR’s the IE and will be offered by the time the season is over with; Ryan Henderson (5-10, 167, 4.40) who looked real good at the Nike Combine three weeks ago at the RB position, and keep this name in the back of your pockets for right now; Kapeali Pomee (6-4.5, 230, 4.6e). This is class of 2011 Tight End that looked awesome at the Tight End spot at the Nike Camp several weeks ago. He played sparingly in 2008; but HC Pete Duffy has promised us that he will be used a ton in 2009 — and if that is the case, he could end up being the second best player in the IE for the class of 2011 at this time next spring. And if that wasn’t enough, RV has one of the better lineman in the IE Avery Poates (6-4, 308, 5.4e) who has offers from New Mexico and Nevada Reno. Other than that — this is a very average team. Good luck beating these guys!
3. Chaparral -- Our good friend Tom Leach is calling the shots up there and if there is a team that can legitmately dethrone Centennial, it could be these guys. First, they have the best player for the class of 2011 in Southern California in athlete Antonine Arnold (6-4, 180, 4.5). Leach calls him a freak and fans that watch the FSN Prime Ticket Game of the Week saw this guy play twice last year and have career nights. He can play all the skills positions on offense and can either play corner or safety on defense. You have to watch him in person to really appreciate the skills that he has. Another Class of 2011 kid that will be an early offer kid is athlete Darius Guillory (5-10, 190, 4.7e). He had a great championship game last year against
Corona Centennial, this kid projects to being a ATH at the next level. He’s not at the level as Arnold, but there are few that are. Add to that junior Mitch Glasman – who got
better as the season progressed – and RB Jonathan Diaz (5-6.5, 157, 4.81) who just got
his first offer from the Air Force last week and this is a very dangerous team. The only question with this team is how they will be up front as they lost two lineman that signed with D-1 schools (Trevor Fox – Oregon; Nate Devan – Cal State Sacramento). Solid!
4. Redlands East Valley — Ah yes, the Wildcats are always a top-teir team in the IE on a perennial basis and they will be loaded again in 2009. HC Kurt Bruich has been around the block a few times (good pedigree as his dad just retired as the HC at Kasier) and they are the early favorites to win the Citrus Belt League. Any talk of these guys has to start with quarterback Tyler Shreve (6-4, 2-6, 4.95). As much as we loved So Hills QB Cameron Deen last year; we are just in love with this kid. He has the size, the skill, the athleticism and speed to be a really good QB. We would not be surprised to see this kid get his first offer this summer while on the summer camp circuit. He is our top-rated QB prospect for the class of 2010 in the IE.
Then you have defensive end Andrew Hudson (6-3, 220, 5.16) who owns three Pac-10 offers right now (Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington). When you watch him in on tape he excels with a relentless motor. When you watch him in person, he catches your eye with his size and hustle on every play. And not a bad wrestler either as he placed eighth at the state championships at 215. The Wildcats sport one of the top centers in So. Cal in David Peterson (6-4, 255, 5.28). Peterson shows excellent leverage at the point of attack, rarely snaps a bad ball in the shotgun formation and has a nice mean streak to his play. He has just been offered by Nevada Reno. These guys made a nice run in 2008 in the playoffs and one can easily envision a similar run in 2009.
5. Corona Santiago – Finalists in the Inland Division two years, new HC Jeff Steinberg inherits a squad that is very talented. One kid that we are not very high on is quarterback Brandon Connette ( 6-2, 184, 5.06). In speaking to many of the coaches that have played against him – the key word phrase that we kept hear again and again is that “this kid is overrated.” We agree with the assessment. We saw this kid last summer at the USC Rising Stars Camp and thought that he would be a player to watch in 2008. What we saw was a kid that was making bad decisions, completing his passes at less than a 50% clip, and not willing to take a serious hit. What Duke
saw in this kid – we’ll never know. But one thing is for sure, if the Sharks are to make a big run this season – he has to have a huge season. The Sharks do have one of the fastest WR’s in the area in Marcels Peoples (5-8, 163, 4.70) who performed well at the Nike Combine and camp. Couplethat with interesting game tape and this is a kid that we are following closely in 2009. RunningBack Derrick Hawkins (5-10, 198, 4.8e) is a between the tackles type of kid that is not the fastest guy around, but gets you those five to six yards that you are looking for. Offensive lineman Eric Gorski (6-3, 247, 5.9)
is a lineman to watch, but has to show more on game film than he did in 2008. Defensively,
this should be an interesting unit to watch. It starts with linebacker Thomas Kenny (6-0, 210, 4.9e)
who always seems to find the ball. And safety Earnest Sales (6-2, 190, 4.8e) just got his first
offer from New Mexico and is an interesting prospect. This team is loaded — no question about it.
6. JW North — Talk about a talented team – this could be another squad that can dethrone Centennial as league champions. Leading the way for the Huskies (yes – there is that key word again) is running back E.J. Scnexayder (5-11, 202, 4.50HT) who has offers from San Diego State, Fresno State and could get a Pac-10 offer in the very near future. One thing we are sure, this powerfully built RB with speed to burn will be offered by a BCS school before the 2009 season comes to an end. Really
love this kid. Alongside him in the backfield is Sedale Foster (5-6.5, 170, 4.50HT) who has to catch the ball on a consistent basis for us to get really excited about him. But he can move and is a change of pace type of player that a lot of teams don’t have. We really like offensive lineman Lamar Bratton (6-1.5, 260. 5.22) who plays offensive tackle, but projects to being a center at the next level with his body type. And don’t forget about Dres Anderson (6-1.5, 170, 4.57HT) who we have rated as the 4th best WR
in the area. He is an outside WR with a great upside. And he has a little pedigree as well as his father was the former LA Rams star Flipper Anderson. The only question about this team is what will happen at the QB position. One last note. The Huskies boasted one of the top TE in the area in Dominique Carr (6-4, 200e, 4.9) who recently quit the football team and has said that he doesn’t want to play football
anymore and concentrate on basketball. Oh did I forget that he had two offers from Reno and UTEP to play football? Unbelievable!
7. Citrus Hill — CIF champions last year with a 14-0 record and they can thank one player for their success — Deontae Cooper (6-0, 174, 4.67). We have him ranked as the third best player in the Inland Empire and has a number of offers that include Arizona, Colorado and Stanford. His highlight tape is very impressive in that he make it look so easy. He ran a 10.70 for the 100m at the CIF Prelims several weeks ago. And he has a tie to the SGV. His former offensive coordinator was a guy named
Steve Hegarty — who is now the head coach at Bishop Amat. I wonder if he would love to have this guy on his team this year? He makes J. Anderson look very, very slow. He’ll make it at the next level.
8. Rancho Cucamonga – The defending Central Division champions clearly outplayed Upland on championship night last year. A number of weapons makes this team very dangerous in 2008. QB Greg Watson (6-0e, 180e, 4.7e) already has an offer from Oregon and USC Trojan fans will like Tight End Randall Telfer (6-4e, 215e, 4.7e) who will be more of an H-Back for Pete Carroll once he makes it to the land of Troy. Nose Tackle Sione Kauvake (5-11e, 245e, 5.50) has to show us more on film in 2009 for us to get excited. HC Nick Baiz is one of the better guys in the business and their game against Charter Oak in week 4 will be a barometer on how good they will be in 2009.
9. Corona — Yes, it’s back to the city of Corona and to one of the more interesting teams in the area in the Panthers. First off, we calling it right now, it’ll be Corona vs. Rancho Verde in the finals of the Bonita Passing League Tournament next month. One area assistant coach after watching these guys in action came up to me and said, “if they were in our area, we’d all get our butts whipped.”
The Panthers sports one of the top running back in the United States in Jordon James (5-9.5, 187, 4.42). The name of his game is speed and he has more than 25 offers for schools throughout the US. He’s really, really, really good. Then there is safety Demetrius Wright (6-1, 185, 4.49), who brings a lot of physicality to the secondary and plays a nifty WR as well. He has just been offered by USC recently and could very well commit to “Uncle Pete” fairly soon. And keep an eye out for defensive back Devonte Wilson. This class of 2011 player had 49 tackles last year and caught the
eye nicely on film. He is one to follow.
10. Vista Murrieta – This is my sleeper team in 2009. HC Coley Candaele is one of the top rising HC’s in the area and they are always in the hunt to make a run in the playoffs every year. VM has one of the top class of 2011 QB’s in the area in Derrick Brown (6-3, 210, 4.8e). A very impressive looking kid, who
runs the Pistol offense very well. He not only throws a great ball, but he runs extremely hard as well. He will generate a lot of recruiting interest next year. Defensive Back John Hardy (5-10e, 160e, 4.8e) had a terrific sophomore highlight film but his junior film was just OK at best. A sleek looking body, Hardy brings a lot of value to his team in the special teams department. He comes off the edge on FG and Punt block as fast as anyone in the area. Another kid to follow is WR Hollis Jones (5-11e, 175, 4.8e).
The one thing that they have to look for is a quality RB to replace Washington State signee Bradlee
Final Thoughts: This was a tough list to put together. You can make a case for teams such as Corona Roosevelt, Kaiser, Colton, AB Miller, Riverside King and others. But, we took a shot — and that is all we can do.
One last note, we would like to thank a lot of the fans from Bishop Amat HS. Whether it was a track meet, a combine or a camp, they were extremely thankful and passed along great words to us. It’s great to see Amat Nation appreciative of the work that we do.