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.
Random musing and notes while on the Passing League circuit for the next two weeks….(to read all of it, click thread).
* Having seen all the teams in Southern California, clearly the best team in the Pac-5 is Lakewood High School. They have it all. Speed on the perimeter with the big guys up front. Their QB is nothing more than a great high school quarterback, but with all the personnel that they have on the field, the QB doesn’t have to Joe Montana. They looked really good in the championship game of the Santa Fe Tournament and made both San Clemente and Loyola High School’s (which are pretty darn good teams this summer) look like mid-level high school teams. I make them the 4-5 favorite to make one of the two spots in the Pac-5 finals in December.
* Another team that looks really solid in passing league this summer is Chino Hills HS. I have a philosophy when it comes to teams in the Sierra League. If have you have at least one D-1 bonafide college prospect on your team, your team becomes the team to beat. Well, I really like Ifo Ekpre-Olomu of the Huskies along with Nate Harris. Now, Olomu’s strength is on defense, but he clearly a playmaker on offense and I love the way that the CH offensive coaching staff is using him on offense. Nate Harris is also a solid RB, but he needs a lot of work at CB before colleges can label him as a DB prospect. But the thing about Chino Hills is that their WR’s are doing a great job in running routes and their linebackers on defense are showing that they can play in space. They are clearly the team to beat in the Sierra League and their bell-weather game during the pre-season is against Redlands East Valley. And folks that have read us on a regular basis know how much I think of REV.
* In case you didn’t hear, South Hills finished 8th in the lineman competition at Saddleback College in South Orange County. When you consider that Mission Viejo finished first and that teams behind South Hills included Mater Dei and Tesoro, it’s easy to see why many have tabbed the Huskies as the best OL/DL in the SGV this year.
* I had a chance to watch Santa Fe High School as well and I will tell you this, they are as solid a team as I’ve seen in a while from a Jack Mahlstede team. I make them -3 favorites to beat Charter Oak in week 4.
* People have asked me what my board looks this summer and what colleges are hitting home runs in the SGV/IE. Well, if had to pick a team that has made the most of their offers, it’s San Diego State. These are my second-tier prospects and where they with their recruiting.
1- Chad Jefferies, QB, Glendora (Committed to San Diego State)
2 – Darius Guillory, ATH, Chaparral (Committed to San Diego State)
3 – Dennis Rufus, ATH, Charter Oak (12 offers including San Diego State)
4 – Ryan Henderson, DB, Rancho Verde (Committed to Utah)
5. Jemond Hazely, WR, Corona Santiago (Committed to San Diego State)
6 – Dominique Williams, WR, Garey (three offers)
7 – Taj Teague, ATH, Pomona (two offers)
8 – Jordan Smith, OL, Redlands (Committed to San Diego State)
9 – Aaron Almond, DB, Diamond Ranch (only offer is from San Diego State)
10 – Superiorr Reid, RB, Arlington (no offers)
As you can see, 4 of my 10 second-tier prospects have committed to San Diego State with two more having offers from the Aztecs. I seriously don’t see them getting a sniff out of our 1st tier prospects, but they have done a great job so far. And if I’m the two players that have offers from San Diego State, I’m not saying to commit to San Diego State, but….
* Which leads me to this interesting little note regarding Charter Oak’s Dennis Rufus. Earlier last week, South Hills OL Siaosi Aiono committed to the University of Utah. I like the move for two reasons. One, Utah has done a great job in getting players that are on the board of a lot of Pac-10 schools and are fringe players to getting offers from schools like UCLA, USC, etc. A perfect example of that is Rancho Verde DB Ryan Henderson. This is a kid that runs a legit electronic high 4.4 40 yard dash and has very good DB skills. He was on the board of a lot of Pac-10 schools, but no one would give him a shot and offer the prospect. Henderson did it the right way, he went to their camp, did real well and got offered.
Well, when word got out that Rufus got offered by Utah as a WR, my thought was that this kid needed to commit to Utah right away. As of the date of this column, he hasn’t and now it may cost him. This was a recent item in ESPN.com’s College Football Insider Blog…
Recruiting coordinator Morgan Scalley told Lya Wodraska of the Salt Lake Tribune that with 16 commitments already, Utah may slow down the recruiting process for the time being while it holds out for some higher-rated recruits
who are more likely to become Pac-10-caliber players. “We haven’t changed much outside of making sure that this class is a Pac-10 level class,” Scalley said, “and we feel like it’s headed in that direction.”
Numbers-wise, the Utes are ahead of where they usually are at this point of the calendar year, which could be a direct result of early speculation (which obviously came to fruition) about their conference move. That is affording Utah the luxury of slowing down the pace.
“You want to make sure the guys you are taking are guys you wouldn’t turn down, but at the same time you want to have scholarships available to late-bloomers guys and guys who might fall off from elsewhere,” Scalley said. “But we aren’t taking commitments just to take commitments. We are taking those commitments from guys we think can make a big difference. We are going to challenge (in the Pac-10).”
Rufus might just be seeing the business end of college football. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to wait! In case you are wondering, Utah is at 17 verbal commitments as of the date of the column.
* Yes, I hear you, you might be asking me where are some of the others players in the SGV as far as my board is concerned. Well, let’s take a look at them. The way that I rank them is that I place them in tier’s – just like the NFL does when they start putting their boards together. Here is an explanation of what the tier’s mean.
1st Tier – BCS Prospects
2nd Tier – Mid-Level D-1 FBS Prospect
3rd Tier – Lower Level D-1 FBS prospect/Definitive D-1 FCS Prospect
4th Tier – Prospects
The advantage of doing the tier’s at this point of the season is that you can follow the money. You can look at who has offered prospects and who hasn’t. Plus, you can get a handle on prospects when you starting talking to assistant coaches and seeing where the prospects are landing on their recruiting boards. So let’s take a look at the first tier players in no order of preference.
Tier 1 – Div. 1 BCS Prospects
Ifo Ekpre-Olumu (DB, Chino Hills)
Siaosi Aiono (OL, South Hills)
Olumu is the best player in the area. The kid is a stud. When you have California and Oregon battling to get you, you can see why he has a high grade. Aiono has his Pac-10 offer and took it. Could be the best OL that has been produced in the SGV in more than 15 years.
Tier 2 – Mid-Level D-1 FBS Prospects
Chad Jefferies (QB, Glendora)
Dennis Rufus (Ath,, Charter Oak)
Aaron Almond (DB, Diamond Ranch)
Aubrey Coleman (WR, Walnut)
Even though Jeffries was offered by Oregon St (and believe me, I think that Mike Riley knows a thing or two about evaluating QB’s) – I just want Chad to have a great senior year on film. All reports from the Glendora coaching staff indicate that the OL will be much more improved. If he grades out, Jeffries moves to the first tier. It’s a wait and see on Rufus. You can make a valid argument that both Jeffries and Rufus both belong in the first tier… and I wouldn’t disagree with you. It’s a razor thin edge. Almond is clearly a mid-level D-1a prospect and colleges are concerned about his academics – thus the reason why San Diego St. is the only school that has offered him. I just don’t have a high grade on Coleman. Call me in the minority – but I just don’t think he is a Pac-10 player. His film is not very good and he is not used very well on the football field at Walnut. Plus, a lot of colleges took him off their boards because of his academic status. Looks like a more bust than boom with him.
Tier 3 – Lower Level D-1 FBS prospects/Definitive D-1 FCS Prospects
Wallace Gonzalez (TE, Bishop Amat)
Wardell Crutchfield III (LB, Baldwin Park)
Demetrius Jackson (DB, Baldwin Park)
Jacoby Carter (DB, Diamond Ranch)
Peter Nonu (DL, South Hills)
Jeff Vargas (OL, South Hills)
Allen Brown (OL, San Dimas)
Daniel Kessler (QB, Claremont)
This is where the fun begins for a scout like me. These are players that you can start making calls to coaches in the fall if their tape is excellent. If there is a player that can move into the second tier — it’s Wallace Gonzalez. He did a really nice job at the USC camp. He just needs to have great senior year and be honest with his baseball status with college football coaches. It’s OK to be a baseball prospect more than a football prospect. WC III didn’t really impress me on film and the UTEP offer still doesn’t impress me. Anxious to see how he performs against South Hills. Jackson really caught the eye at the Nike Camp at USC. He did a great job. He has an offer from a D-1 FCS school – but he could be a better player than that offer. Again, senior film is going to be really important for him. Carter is one of those players that caught the eye in his junior game film. He was very solid. I know of a lot of D-1 FCS schools on the west coast that are hoping that he is available in December. Same thing goes for Nonu. He did a nice job (from all reports) at the Boise State camp and we’ll be pushing the pavement for him really hard when the season stars. Jeff Vargas has everything that you are looking for in a D-1 FCS OL. Size, strength and (most importantly) grades. When you have a core GPA of 3.8 on your report card, you move up a lot on recruiting boards. When you add to that resume the fact that he is a stud wrestler, well – the picture is complete. We had a chance to work with Allen Brown at the USC camp, and he just couldn’t break in with the elite talent that showed up at USC. He is solid – but college coaches are a little leery of taking wing-t OL. For a college coach that takes a wing-t OL ,that means you have to retrain them to understand zone blocking concepts and some coaches are just not willing to take that chance. I mentioned it earlier with Vargas, but the great thing about Nonu and Brown is that they all wrestled their junior year. It’s a big plus for them and it may pay off big time in December and January.
Tier 4 – Prospects
Andy Orozco (OL, Charter Oak)
Charlie Avila (DL, Charter Oak)
Kevin Kolbeck (TE, San Dimas)
Christian Oduno (OL, Bishop Amat)
Maurice Dupleasis (LB, West Covina)
Josiah Thropay (TE, Charter Oak)
B.J. Lee (RB, West Covina)
Garrett Pendleton (QB, Bonita)
Tarez Lemmons (OL, Bonita)
Remontay McClain (WR, Covina)
These are players that have some skills, but either grades, size, speed, elite football skills or a combination of those four things fails to get them into that third tier. It’s tough to say whether these guys can make it into the third tier or not when the season begins. Especially if they are academic casualties.
* And to answer your question Aram, no, Notre Dame was not going offer Jeffries and would not have offered Jeffries if he had a great game against Charter Oak. Here’s something for you to consider, Notre Dame no longer recruit’s the SGV.
* Attention Bishop Amat fans. You might want to come to South Hills on Thursday and see one of your main rivals in Crespi HS throwing the ball in a 4-way that includes South Hills, Charter Oak and Upland. Let’s see, you have two CIF champions from the 2009 season, a semifinalist and Crespi (under the astute direction of head coach Jon Mack who knows a thing or two about winning CIF titles) – this could be the four-way of the summer.
Hope to see you on Thursday.