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 in the San Gabriel Valley.
Guru Says: It’s a new day in the San Gabriel Valley. With the playoff placement of the Sierra League slated to go into the Inland Division (which is Division 2), the overall composition of high school football has changed in the San Gabriel Valley. That can be the only conclusion you can make after seeing the realignment of football divisions for the 2010 and 2011 season. There is a upper echelon, a middle echelon and a lower echelon of high school football in the area. So how does it break down?…Real simple …
Upper Echelon: Bishop Amat, Charter Oak, South Hills, Damien
Comment: These four schools are playing in the two toughest division of high school football in Southern California. Chaparral Head Coach Tom Leach made an interesting remark in the Press-Enterprise on last week when he said that the Inland Division “is the toughest Division in our state.” Wow, I think that will no doubt raise the eyebrows of the bloggers on this site. There is doubt that Bishop Amat wants (and deserves) to be in the Pac-5. And their past results have indicated that they are just fine where they are. Charter Oak has always been well-coached and brings a quality line-up to the table when the season begins in September. South Hills takes a back-seat to no one and has a pre-season schedule that was masterfully put together by Steve Bogan and staff. It’s tough but not too tough. And Damien is coached by the legend himself, Greg Gano, and that is always worth a win or two every year. Can’t help but also noticed that these four schools are also the schools that have college prospects year in and year out. Amat and South Hills are the two most consistent schools in getting players out at the D-1 level.
Middle Echelon: Teams in the Hacienda League
Comment: It was tough putting all the Hacienda League teams in here. One can make a very valid argument that Diamond Ranch deserves to be in the category above. And in most instances…I would agree. They’ve been to the CIF Finals twice, get their kids out to the next level. But two things come into play here. 1) They’ve not beaten Charter Oak in a long while. 2) If the Panthers are upset about being in this league and division, maybe they should have expressed it better. A good barometer for them being put to the upper echelon would be a win over Damien in September. And you can also argue that West Covina should be in the upper echelon as well. But, they haven’t beat Charter Oak either and lost to Diamond Ranch in the semi’s in 2008. But that could change with two big seasons within the next two years. And let’s be honest, the new Southeast Division is not looking so tough now that Charter Oak is gone.
Lower Echelon: Teams in the Valle Vista, Mission Valley and the Montview Leagues
Comment: This could change after the end of the year. We could move the Valle Vista League to the Middle Echelon after this year, but it’ll all be reflective on how some of the teams in the league fare against quality competition. All eyes will be on San Dimas and Baldwin Park. Same thing goes with the Mission Valley League. Can’t find that quality win against big-time competition. If Arroyo beats Hart (which I think is a legitimate possibility), the perception of the league changes.
Like I said, 2010 should be a very interesting season.
QB CAMP THAT WILL BE VERY GOOD
I highly recommend any of the top QB’s in the area to make it a point to go the Kaiser High School in Fontana for the Field Generals Quarterback Camp this Saturday. Registration starts at 8 a.m and the camp (which include classroom instruction as well as field instruction,) begins at 9 a.m.
The camp is being run by Corona Santiago HC Jeff Steinberg (who has won CIF championships at Ridgecrest Burroughs HS), new Colony HC Matt Bechtel (who’s work with Richard Brehaut speaks for itself) and Citrus College’s Ben Noonan. The fee is $225.
NOW YOUR ENTERING MY PART OF THE WORLD
For all of you fans in the Sierra League, let me be the first to welcome you to my part of the world, The Inland Empire. There are no beaches out here. Don’t look for Disneyland to be moving out here in the near future, it’s kind of on an island on its own. So you want to know about the teams in the Inland Division….
Well, first things first… they are some quality schools out here with teams that are very good. But, let me be the first to give some teams in the Sierra League some hope. Unlike the last three years, where the talent in the IE has been phenomenal, it’s a little bit down year in the 909 and 951. But, that doesn’t mean that they are some really good players out here and teams that will be factors when the playoffs begin. Let’s take a thumb-sketch look at these leagues.
BIG 8: The high profile league in the Inland Empire. Eight quality schools with tremendous football traditions and players to watch. Obviously, the big favorite will be Centennial HS. My good friend and head coach Matt Logan always has players that are D-1 material, and this year is no different. Quarterback Michael Eubanks is a big kid that throws a decent ball, but he needs to learn the position a little better. At 6-4, 200, he had a big upside. We really like middle linebacker Ryan Jack. He is a sideline-to-sideline demon and always see to have a nose for the football. Dion Bass has great family pedigree, but we have concerns about him surviving a full-year of college football. Only played part-time last year due to injuries. Norco should have won the Inland Division last year. But Norco fans are still reeling after seeing a three touchdown lead get a way from them against Vista Murrieta in the semifinals. But, if you know anything about Norco football, they will run the ball and then – when you think you seen enough of it – they will run it some more. If they throw it more than five times, consider it a passing night for them. Their big stud is running back Kelsey Young, who committed to Stanford last week. On tape, the kid is legit fast! They also have one of the better defensive backs in the area in Gregory Henderson. Corona Santiago is my sleeper to win the league. Jeff Steinberg (a great friend of the guru) is one of the better HC’s in the league. He came from AB Miller and Ridgecrest Burroughs (where he won several CIF championships) and has a sterling record of working with polished quarterbacks. Their main concern is replacing QB Brandon Connette, who is playing at Duke University. But they sport one of the fastest WR’s in the league in Jermond Hazley. This is an inside slot receiver that is really good and fast! Simon Connette (Brandon’s younger brother) is a prospect at safety and sophomore Isaiah Folasa is the best offensive lineman for the class of 2012. He’s really good! Riverside King has arguably one of the best RB’s in the area in Todd Handley. He was voted the second best RB in the league last year by the league coaches (and that says something) and ran an electronic 10.93 for the 100 meters last year (he also put up an electronic 4.56 at the Nike Combine last year). Corona has best defensive lineman prospect for the class of 2011 in Devonte Wilson (who reminds us a lot of Don Lugo DL George Uko) and has offers from Colorado and Arizona. J.W. North brings back Bishop Amat legend Mark Parades as their new HC and has one of the better offensive lineman in Dylan Golightly. This kid is a pure offensive tackle prospect. He is huge!!! Corona Roosevelt loses a ton of skill guys due to graduation (and nearly knocked off eventual champion Chaparral) and could be on the outside looking in. Riverside Poly will struggle just to even make it to playoff contention.
Citrus Belt League: This will clearly be a league that has three really good teams (Redlands East Valley, Redlands and AB Miller) and then there is the rest of the league. REV is coached by one of my best friends Kurt Bruich (you may have known his father Dick Bruich – the long time HC at Kaiser HS that is now retired). One thing about REV, they are one of the best coached teams in the IE. I just love watching them on film. Their biggest question is who are they going to replace at QB now that Tyler Shreve is going to be playing QB at Utah. Knowing Bruich, I wouldn’t worry about that. They will always have a quality QB. Their best college prospect is CB Josh Armstrong. A pure cover corner, he’ll make a MWC or WAC team very happy. Defensive Tackle Devon Lewis reminds me a lot of South Hills DT Peter Nonu. He is active and nasty as a NT. And we really like offensive lineman Zachary Martinez. He can play! Redlands HS has one of the top offensive line prospects in the IE in offensive tackle Jordan Smith, Plays with a nasty streak on him, he’ll be one definitely follow next year. A.B. Miller has one of the best LB’s in the IE in Jamal Wilson. As one league assistant coach told me, “That kid is a friggin’ stud!”
Southwestern League: This has turned out to be one of the better leagues in all of Southern California. And it’s also one of the longest. Most of the schools are located in Temecula, and when we went to the CIF Inland Division Finals two years ago, it took us nearly TWO hours to get there. There are two really good teams that fans should focus in on. Chaparral HS are the defending Inland Division champions and are coached by former Diamond Ranch head coach Tommy Leach. To say that Tommy is a character is quite an understatement. But, one thing about Chapparal last year, the played some defense! They were clearly one of the better defensive teams in Southern California. The big stud for the Pumas is wide receiver Antoine Arnold. All I can say guys is that this prospect is a Sunday player. If he stays out of trouble and does everything in the classroom as he does on the field, you’ll be seeing him play on Sunday’s. The kid is an unbelievable talent and is the top-rated player on our board for the entire IE. If you combine our IE lists with our Orange County list, he’s second behind Victor Blackwell of Mater Dei. The Pumas also have another stud in WR/DB Darius Guillory. If you are basing everything just on film study and not upside, this kid rates higher than Arnold. We love him and have him in our top -10 for the IE. There biggest rival in Vista Murrieta High School. Head Coach Coley Canedele does an awesome job over there. He doesn’t have the best players (nor the biggest), but they play their butts off for him and his staff is wide respected for the work that they have done. It’s a pleasure to watch their film. Their biggest recruit this year is quarterback Derrick Brown. And he is a big kid. And when I say big, I mean big. As in 6-3, 230 and a load to bring down. He doesn’t throw the best of balls, but he manages a good game. He’ll be recruited in 2010. They are playing Crespi early in the season, so that will be a bell-weather game as to what they look like during the season. Great Oak and Murrieta Valley usually battle it out for third. Murrrieta Valley has one of the better class of 2012 safeties in Matt Morin. Temecula Valley is coached by former Santa Margarita OC Mike Maxwell and has one of the better TE prospect in the division in Andrew Pulsipher. He already sports an offer from the University of Buffalo.
We’ll take a look at the Baseline League next week.
IF THE NFL IS DOING IT, WILL THE HIGH SCHOOL’S FOLLOW?
I found a very interesting note in Michael Lombardi’s must read column (for NFL fans) on NationalFootballPost.com that the NFL has deciced to take the umpire (in charge of watching for holding calls and offensive face-mask calls… yes umpire’s do call them, even when the don’t occur ) who has been located behind the defensive line and are placing him in the offensive backfield.
Personally, I think this a great move. You could only watch so many umpires get run over during the game. It gets a little old after a while. The players today are bigger, faster and stronger and the umpires just don’t have the reaction to get the heck out of the way.
I’m going to ask the upper echelon in the Foothill-Citrus officiating association and see if we will see the umpire move to the backfield on the high school level.
WE ARE NOW STARTING TO GET THE RESULTS INTO OUR NEWSROOM….
No, we are not talking about election votes or votes for Health Care. Since we are in track season, our service tracks the best marks for the 100 meters, 200 meters and the field events for football prospects that are running track. We use episports.com as our made source for the results and also tap into the resources of dyestatcal.com. We also make it to the big meets so that we can size up the kids, see how they compete and get to know them a little better. So, here’s hoping that we see you this weekend at the Pasadena Games at Pasadena City College.
THE GREAT DEBATE IS ON….
I’ve had a lot of people in the coaching profession ask me about the video companies that they should go with to do their video work and player highlight tapes. For me, the two main ones are Digital Sports Video (DSV) and Hudl (Hudl.com). Let me say at the start that both companies are very good. They deliver high quality work and would fit any high school program. But there is a difference in both of them.
DSV — They are the kings and are getting bigger everyday. Their software is state of the art and would enhance any football program. I know that Bishop Amat, South Hills, Charter Oak and West Covina (I Think) use DSV. But, my biggest knock on DSV is that if you want more, you have to pay more. They also have a website program called www.dsvanywhere.com. And it’s great. One big problem though is that for you to use the website, you must be using Microsoft Explorer. And with a lot of schools using I-Mac’s, that’s not going to work. Plus, the quality of the video online with DSV is good but not great. If you are football program that has some money and is willing to make the investment, DSV is the way to go. DSV has just entered an agreement to provide game and highlight film with Rivals.com and ESPN.
Hudl.com — They just got started this past season and I am a big fan of them for a program that is not exactly flush with money. The first thing to note is that it is very Internet browser friendly and can be used with Mac’s or PC’s. Hudl’s selling point is that once you are online (and your game film is on-line) your computer basically becomes a coaching video terminal. And it’s true. You can watch film (and so can your players) from any computer at anytime. The quality of the video is truly outstanding and it is easy to use. The packages that Hudl offers are very competitive (their most bought package is only $800) and making highlight tapes for your players is very easy. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the film going to unwanted places, it’s on an encrypted website so that the coaches and players can watch the film only. Player’s can’t download games onto DVD’s. It has become the rage of the Inland Empire and South Hills HS is the only one in the area that is on the site. I know that they are many programs that are looking for affordable packages so that they can start getting ready for the 2010 season and if you fall into the category of “I have money, but not the money to get DSV” this is for you. I can’t recommend it highly enough, Plus, Hudl.com has just entered into an agreement with Maxpreps.com as their partner for football season. Oh, and one more thing, the customer service is truly outstanding! If your school is planning on going with Hudl, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use my name, I get a $50 referral fee. Hey, even I need an extra $50 these days!….
ONE FINAL NOTE…
As you may know, I’ve been a little rough on the boys over at the CIF-SS office. I call it constructive criticism, but they called it something else and we’ll just leave it at that. So for a while, we’ll leave those guys alone. My main bone to pick this week is with the Tribune’s very own Aram Tolegian. Aram, speaking for the football fan in the area, we want our football fix EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING! Not once in a while, not once every two days, EVERY DAY! Your blog should be the area’s version of NationalFootballPost.com. All football all the time. So let’s get to work Aram and start giving us what we want….FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Next week, a look at some of the sleepers that could end up being recruited by colleges during the spring. Have a great week!