The Scouting Guru says there are three players he would pay money to watch … When’s the last time he paid for anything?

The Scouting Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent and teams in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas.

The Guru Says: We are officially at the halfway point in the season. Rather than give your favorite team grades and make a fool out of myself (did I say that it would take a miracle for a Bishop Amat to defeat St. Bonaventure…I meant to say that it would take St. Bonnie’s a miracle to win over Amat…yeah, right. And what is going to happen next…the Dodgers are going to sweep the Cardinals and take on Philly in the NLCS…oh wait – that happened too?…This has been some year!), I wanted to go in a different direction.

After watching all the game film for the high profile teams in the area (and no the Montview League is not considered a high-profile league) there are three players that I call “Prime-Time Players.” These are the players that I would pay money to watch them play on any night. They are the best playmakers in the area and standout on film. These are guys that have not had a bad game and are the most “electrifying “players on the field. Here they are.

1. Darian Johnson, DB, Bishop Amat – I had a conversation with ESPN Rise recruiting guru Greg Biggins (and believe me, he is a guru – not me) and he could not believe that this kid has not been offered so far after watching his game in-person against St. Bonaventure. Hopefully that will change because in every game that we have seen Amat on film (and we have every game of Amat so far this season), this kid has truly been the best player on the field for the Lancers. I love the fact that he is playing both offense and defense. I wish they would have used Sheldon Price the same way last year – but that is another topic for another day. This is the type of kid that I love to promote. Plays the game really hard, doesn’t take a play off and unlike many corners that we see in the SGV and the IE, this kid can tackle. Comes from a great family, our service is going to go the extra to make sure that this kid gets a D-1 offer. If Amat is not willing to do it, we will – that is how much we love the kid.

2. Geoffrey Vaughns, ATH, South Hills – No doubt you will have read the article in the Tribune about Ify Umodu (and trust me when I tell you, he will have a Division I football offer before the season is over) but when you watch the official South Hills game tape, Vaughns is the most entertaining player on the field for the Huskies. He is the area’s version of the Dante Hall and can safely be called “The Human Joystick.” He is very hard to tackle and has the capability to surpass the numbers that Dorian Wells did in his one year at SH. I love the fact that Bogan is using him all over the place on offense, and he is truly THE BEST CORNER IN THE SGV! I just don’t know how West Covina stops this kid on Friday night. I think that if SH makes a big run in the playoffs and gets to their ultimate destination, this kid has to be seriously looked at for top honors as Player of the Year. If he can get his academics straighten out, he will get that D-1 offer that he is looking for.

3. Ricky Johnson, RB, West Covina – I debated long and hard on this. I wanted to use CO’s Muema and Powell, along with several other players, but in the end this was the kid that had the less knocks than Muema (who has clearly lost his speed compared to his sophomore and junior film) and Powell (who put in a below-average effort against Rancho Cucamonga). Johnson Is the type of kid that keeps you on the edge of your feet. You never know when that big run is going to come for him, but when it comes – no one stops the kid. With his background in gymnastics, he has terrific balance. However, I just don’t see him as a D-1 RB for several reasons. First, he has not shown that he can catch passes consistently. Secondly, I don’t know how tough the kid really is. Remember, he was really banged up last year and had some injuries this year. He might not be tough enough to handle D-1 football. But for the area purposes only, he standouts out on film and thus becomes a player that I would be more than happy to pluck my money down and watch him in action.

Those are my three guys. Tell me the three that you would pay for your hard earned money to watch.


1. I think that I want to give a piece of advice to my good friend Joe Torosian of the Mid Valley News. To hear you talk about quarterbacks is like hearing Dick Vitale talk about baseball. It sounds awful and it makes you sound really bad. To pick a quarterback from Mark Keppel above Jacob Shirley at South Hills is like picking David Duval over Tiger Woods for the final spot on the Rider Cup team. Stick to the writing and I stay away from the player evaluations.

2. I think that when it comes to the best coaching jobs in the area this year, a tip of the cap goes out to the coaching staffs over at Bishop Amat and Charter Oak. They have done a great job in getting the most out of their players. Folks – this stuff is not any magic. These guys are breaking down film, getting the game plans in order and coach their players up hard on Friday nights. Keep working hard guys, hopefully the parents are leaving you guys alone.

3. I think that while most of you have taken your shots at me, and you have every right to do so (I did say that it would take a miracle for Amat to win and that Charter Oak would lose to Etiwanda – and the way the first half was going last week I don’t think you would get any disagreements from the Charger faithful) I still stand by the fact that the best football is played in the IE. The fact that only one team from the area has stood up and played some of the top teams in the IE, shows that the SGV wants no part of the area. If you think that I am wrong, let’s see what happens in the off-season when pre-season schedule have to be adjusted again. You watch; I’d be surprised if more than one team from the area will go to the IE and play a big-time team in the area. And if your team is looking for a team to play, call Redlands East Valley – they are always looking for a great game.

4. I think that the two best leagues to watch for the area this year are the San Antonio League and the Sierra League. Anything can happen and if the wrong team takes a night off, it could be curtains earlier than anyone can think of. I am not picking the winners in those leagues, but it will be interesting to see develops at the end of the season.

5. I think that there are two words to best describe the CIF Southern Section Office – arrogant and unprofessional.

a. Along the same lines, you know when kids “get it” when you read the article about Ify Umodu in the Tribune today and he makes this following comment, “”You know, it feels like everyone’s against us, like it’s us against the world,” Umodu said. “When you win a lot, there are a lot of haters, that’s what it feels like right now. But there’s a way to shut them all up, and that’s to win. We have to come together as a team and just win.” Yeah Ify, a lot of those haters are right here on this site. That’s right folks, Ify was directly talking to all of you that make high school football seem like the NFL. GET A LIFE!!!!

6. I think that you really owe it to yourself to make it out to Covina District Field for the South Hills vs. West Covina game Friday night. I had a conversation with Oregon Defensive Back coach John Neal recently and he said that he really thinks that the WC v. SH game is one of the best rivalries in Southern California period. Every game is a competitive game that comes down to the wire. Look for the 2009 version to be no different. In these economic times, spending your money at this game Friday night will be well worth it.

a. One other side note, I think one of the more compelling match-ups Friday night will be the match-up between West Covina Offensive Coordinator Brian Murphy and South Hills Defensive Coordinator Danian Rios. In the three games that SH has won this year, they have held the opposing offense to an average of 35 yards rushing. And if there is one thing that West Covina loves to do is run the football. Something has to give here boys. Who will prevail?

7. I think that for anyone that thinks that Citrus football is getting the point of being competitive against Mt. SAC, I have one answer for them….Mt. SAC 55, Citrus 0. So please don’t waste my time telling me that Citrus Football is turning the corner, because it has a long way to go to get to that point.

8. I think that anyone who think that South Hills lost to a below average team in La Habra should know that La Habra defeated San Clemente last week 28-27. Let’s just say that La Habra has the inside track to winning the Southwest Division.

9. I think that I am going to try this picking winners think one last time, I’m taking Rowland to not only win Friday night, but to crush Walnut. I’d like to see how Walnut would have done with a schedule like Bishop Amat, Charter Oak or South Hills. My hunch is that Walnut would not be 5-0 as they are right now. Talk about a cupcake schedule.

10. I think that I really don’t want to go off the football highway, but I have to indulge here. Your faithful scouting guru is now a brand spanking new uncle. My sister Jolene (who by the way is the best sister anyone can ever have) gave birth on Monday afternoon to a 6 lb. bouncing baby boy named Dean (I’m liking this Dean thing. First there was Cameron Deen and now it’s this Dean). Mom and Dad are doing great, the grandparents can’t wait for him to come to their house for the weekend and the Uncle’s (myself and my younger brother Marc) are totally fired up. And in case you are wondering, he watched his first football game last night (Boise St v. Tulsa) and will begin to watch high school football film next week. We have another guru in the family…It’s great to be an Uncle…finally!!!!!!

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