Tag:Travis Wilson
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:30 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 2:38 am
 

Winston evolving into complete QB at Elite 11

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MALIBU, Calif. -- With everybody settled into their picturesque surroundings at Pepperdine University during day two of the Elite 11, the throws were sharper, the completion percentage was up and - perhaps just as important - so was the level of competition.

"It's been good out here with all these great quarterbacks," Bessemer (Ala.) quarterback Jameis Winston said. "I'm just out here competing, that's the main thing."

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound signal-caller was the top performer Tuesday and was really spinning the ball well during a brisk morning throwing session. Despite the effort he put in on each throw, Winston understands that he's still evolving from an athlete into a quarterback and that there are several parts of his game that he can work on.

"Drops," he identifies immediately almost before the question is even asked. "I want to also work on my hips more. I have to get my hips open more so I don't hurt anything down low. So I just have to work my hips more and get open. I've got to get better everyday."

Winston was almost like a little brother on the field to college counselor E.J. Manuel out of Florida State. The two have similar builds (though Winston is much thinner) and a similar throwing motion. Often conversing between snaps, the college starter had no problem mentoring the high school star.

"E.J. helps me a lot on making sure I'm staying on top of the ball and not squeezing the ball," Winston said. "He's helped me a lot and he's at one of my final schools, Florida State."

Down to three schools in his recruitment, Maxpreps' second ranked quarterback and 21st overall player in the class of 2012 is considering the Seminoles and hasn't been shy about asking Manuel about the program.

"I've asked him about Florida State and their program," Winston said. "He's been pretty real with me. He's told me the ups and downs - there's not many downs but he told me some."

The other finalists for the five-star quarterback are both SEC powerhouses, one close to home and the other a few hours away by car. With distance not a huge factor for Winston, he's had to look closer at what each program brings to the table for him.

"Alabama is the home school," he said. "I mean, there's no place like home. I've been there a million times, just over and over. LSU, it's just a great competitive atmosphere and I want to be in that competitive atmosphere wherever I go, especially with baseball and football."

Winston is a top high school baseball player in addition to his success on the gridiron. While Florida State and LSU are perennial contenders at the College World Series, the success of the baseball program at any of the three schools he's considering is only a small factor in his decision.

"Yes," he says before cautioning," but Alabama's baseball program is coming up."

Projected by some to go as high as the first round draft in next year's MLB Draft, Winston knows it's possible he'll have to make a decision similar to Nebraska quarterback and Kansas City Royals first round pick Bubba Starling.

"Yes I've followed him," Winston said. "I'm going to consider (going pro). I don't know right now because I'm not as advanced as he is. He got there this year and I'm just considering it. Thinking about it but trying to have fun. It's in the back of my mind."

Slated to make one fan base very happy when he ultimately picks a school on August 3rd, Winston revealed that he's already decided where he'll play his college ball - football and baseball - but didn't offer any hints as to where that might actually be.

"I know where I'm going," he said. "The coaches know."

Kline reps the West Coast

Danville (Calif.) quarterback Zach Kline had one of the shortest commutes to the Elite 11 from the Bay Area and though he is used to going down to the beach or enjoying a cool summer day, the experience with 23 other top quarterbacks at the Elite 11 has been eye-opening for him.

"It's been awesome," Kline said. "Nothing is like it, ever. It's the best thing I've ever been to and you have the best players here."

The California kid was sporting a Rafael Nadal-like look on Tuesday with long hair and a headband. Though he was one of the most outgoing and relaxed players on the field, that masked his workman-like approach to learning as much as he could from the coaches and counselors at the event.

"A lot of things like making every throw count and the little things matter the most," he said about what he learned. "Even the smallest thing down to a drop, the fake on the play action matters more than anything and is the difference between a completion and an interception. And just kind of getting to know these guys and the things that they see."

In between meals and film sessions, the Cal commit has been able to take time to bond with his fellow campers, many of whom he is already close with.

"I know these guys real well," Kline said. "Connor Brewer I've been friends with for awhile, for a couple of years. Jake Rodrigues I've been friends with for a long time as well. Tyler Matthews same deal. Gunner Kiel, I was at the Elite 11 last year as a ball boy with him. He's the man, he's a great quarterback and just a cool dude to hang around with. Same for all of those guys, every single one of them."

Regarded by many as the top quarterback on the West Coast, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is confident in himself and showed that he can make all the throws on the field, going neck-and-neck with other highly ranked players like Winston and Kiel. Still, despite actually belonging with the best in the nation, Kline knows there's still something left for him to prove.

"Definitely," he says before identifying the biggest reason why. "Tanner Mangum is giving me a run for my money. He's good, a great quarterback and a great dude too. He's a good friend of mine as well and he's going to do big things at BYU, just an awesome quarterback, can't wait to watch him."

Appleby stars in the classroom

While Mangum wore a yellow jersey for being the winner of the Golden Arm competition on the field Monday, North Canton (Ohio) quarterback Austin Appleby sported a red jersey on Tuesday after taking home honors for best performance in the classroom. The chance to show off his quarterback IQ was a welcome one for someone who had prepared to do so for quite some time.

"I got a chance to get up in front on the board, in front of everybody, and impress Coach (Trent) Dilfer," Appleby said. "I put a lot of time and preparation coming into this. I've been hours upon hours into knowing this playbook and I take pride in being the most prepared at this camp."

With so much teaching on and off the field from instructors, Appleby made an apt analogy to schoolwork when talking about what specifically he'll take back to his high school.

"It's graduate level stuff," he said. "In my offense, I'm a little more advanced and making those checks and making those slide protections, or any audible I need too. So having this knowledge and understanding of how it's really supposed to work is really going to broaden my skill level from a mental aspect as well from the coaching we're going to get from a fundamental aspect."

The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder looks like he's physically ready to play on Saturdays and appears fully recovered from a knee injury he suffered last year. He throws a very catchable ball but can really put some spin on it if required. Even having the opportunity to showcase his quarterback skills alongside the other campers has been quite the experience for Appleby.

"It's awesome, there's no better place than to be here right now," he said. "The talent level is unbelievable. It's the top 24 for a reason and as the days go by and we get near the end, the elite will rise towards the top. Then we'll see who's number one and I have full intentions of being that number one."

Committed to Purdue, Appleby is in constant contact with the Boilermakers staff to keep them updated on his progress at the Elite 11.

"I'm going to be in contact with them and at the end of the day, I kind of update them with what's going on," he said. "It's kind of tough with the time zone, I keep forgetting how late it is over there. But I tell my high school coach as well and we're going to all together get better."

Clearly advanced mentally and physically, the senior to-be is undecided if he'll enroll early and take part in spring football with Purdue next year.

"I don't know at this point," he said. "We're looking into it but I don't know the details at this point."

Notes:

- Tanner Mangum won the Golden Arm competition for the second day in a row. After proudly sporting the yellow jersey on Tuesday, he will do so again during Wednesday's throwing sessions.

- Utah commit Travis Wilson has the frame to put on a few pounds of muscle but the 6-foot-6 quarterback has all the tools to make it at the next level. His release might be the best part of his game, as the ball comes out quickly and effortlessly.

- One of the surprises of day two was North Carolina commit Patton Robinette. He came in a close second behind Mangum in the Golden Arm competition but was sharp throughout practice. He did a good job hitting the receivers in the right spot and knowing just how much to put on the ball. Robinette also did a good job on throws to the outside and could really drive the ball on out routes.

- After a rough week at The Opening, Oregon verbal Jake Rodrigues has bounced back nicely at the Elite 11. It still seems like he gets a little bit too wide of a base but he was accurate and was able to get good power on just about every one of his throws.

- If there's anyone who could be labeled Mr. Consistent, it would be Bart Houston. He doesn't wow you out of the gate but he's got the perfect mix of arm strength, frame, throwing motion and accuracy to know he'll be a perfect fit at Wisconsin.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Utah, Colorado seeing effects of Pac-12 move

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Utah and Colorado officially make the move to the Pac-12 today but you wouldn't know that if you took a looked at their commitment lists or talk to the players they're recruiting in 2012. Ever since it was announced that they were transitioning West last summer, both programs have been selling recruits on the chance to play for a conference that has plenty of momentum behind it.

With the Pac-12 known for producing quarterbacks, both schools have already snagged verbal commitments from two very good California signal callers in their upcoming classes. San Clemente (Calif.) quarterback Travis Wilson has great size at 6-foot-6 and a big arm that should fit in well in offensive coordinator Norm Chow's pro-style attack. Wilson was recently selected to the Elite 11 quarterback competition and held offers from most of the Pac-12, so it's clear the Utes move to the new conference already has them competing for comparable talent.

For Colorado, they've built a smaller recruiting class so far but also managed to get a good quarterback to verbally commit in Shane Dillon out of El Cajon (Calif.). He was offered early in the process by Ohio State and is trained by noted quarterback guru George Whitfield. While Dillon needs to continue to add weight to his frame, he's a good option for a Buffs team that has not had consistent play from the most important position on the field.

Both schools are also keenly aware of their current recruiting pipelines and are not shying away from them. Colorado has always recruited the state of California well and since they also mined Texas for players in the Big 12, it appears they will continue to focus on both states going forward. Looking at their current class, they have two players each from Colorado and Texas to go along with one from California and it wouldn't be all that surprising if their class on Signing Day doesn't have a similar ratio.

Despite having to battle rival BYU for in-state prospects, Utah has the added benefit of selling recruits on playing in a conference, which, obviously, BYU cannot do as an independent. Winning a conference championship is a draw for some kids and one other thing they can sell for a program that has won multiple BCS bowls. Add in the fact that the Pac-12 Network will likely face fewer distribution issues and more access than BYUtv and it could be Utah that ends up with more exposure over the next couple of years.

The one thing that both programs have to do to gain traction and start to get top-tier recruits is win on the football field. If Colorado posts a similar record to what they did under Dan Hawkins (19–39), the benefit of being on television more often will be negated. If Utah can sneak into the Pac-12 title game (given injuries to Arizona State and issues at USC, not out of the realm of possibilities this season), they could see a lot more players considering the school in Salt Lake City. If they can't withstand the week-to-week challenge, the recruits will go elsewhere.

Utimately, it remains to be seen exactly how the two will do in their new conference. The situation is unique at both schools and they each have disadvantages as the "new guys" to the club. Based on the way things are going so far however, both Colorado and Utah are enjoying the benefits of calling themselves Pac-12 schools.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 11:28 am
 

Elite 11 Roster Unveiled

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The roster for the 2011 Elite 11 quarterback competition has been released, and it features some of the top signal-callers in the country. There are a few changes to the event itself, which expands the roster from 11 to 24 and goes from a four-day event to five. The annual competition will be held at the picturesque Pepperdine campus in Malibu, Calif.

Notable alumni at the event include Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, Troy Smith, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow and Blaine Gabbert. This year's lineup features the following players from the class of 2012:

Austin Appleby (North Canton, Ohio)
Committed to Purdue

Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Committed to Texas

Neal Burcham
(Greenbrier, Ark.)

Tyler Cameron (Jupiter, Fla.)

Preston Dewey (Austin, Texas)
Committed to Miami

Shane Dillon (El Cajon, Calif.)
Committed to Colorado

Bart Houston (Concord, Calif.)
Committed to Wisconsin

Chad Kelly (Buffalo. N.Y.)
Committed to Clemson

Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.)

Zach Kline (Danville, Calif.)
Committed to Cal

Jeff Lindquist (Mercer Island, Wash.)
Committed to Washington

Tanner Mangum (Eagle, Idaho)
Committed to BYU

Tyler Matthews (McPherson, Kan.)
Committed to TCU

Cyler Miles (Denver, Colo.)
Committed to Washington

Tyler O’Connor (Lima, Ohio)
Committed to Michigan State

Nick Patti (Orlando, Fla.)
Committed to Boise State

Zeke Pike (Fort Mitchell, Ky.)
Committed to Auburn

Patton Robinette (Maryville, Tenn.)
Committed to North Carolina

Jake Rodrigues (Rocklin, Calif.)
Committed to Oregon

Grant Rohach (Moorpark, Calif.)
Committed to Iowa State

Patrick Towles (Fort Thomas, Ky.)
Committed to Kentucky

Chad Voytik (Cleveland, Tenn.)

Travis Wilson (San Clemente, Calif.)
Committed to Utah

Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala.)
Posted on: June 30, 2011 12:56 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:42 pm
 

June Pac-12 Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's the final week in June, and as the temperature gauge continues to rise and we move into July, it's time to see how schools are building their recruiting class of 2012. Today, we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the Pac-12, which officially becomes a conference on July 1st.

Arizona (7)

Offensive lineman Beau Boyster (Bellflower, Calif.)
Defensive lineman Cayman Bundage (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
Offensive lineman T.D. Gross (Santee, Calif.)
Quarterback Josh Kern (San Antonio, Texas)
Tight end Taylor McNamara (San Diego, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Steven Moore (Elk Grove, Calif.)
Quarterback Nathan Sudfeld (Modesto, Calif.)

Arizona State (12)

Offensive lineman Dejon Allen (Compton, Calif.)
Wide receiver Josiah Blandin (Long Beach, Calif.)
Linebacker Salamo Fiso (Long Beach, Calif.)
Wide receiver Randall Goforth (Long Beach, Calif.)
Defensive back Oliver Johnson (Pierece JUCO/Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Defensive tackle Milo Jordan (Corona, Calif.)
Tight end Kody Kohl (Gilbert, Ariz.)
Wide receiver Kenny Lawler (Upland, Calif.)
Quarterback T.J. Millweard (Fort Worth, Texas)
Linebacker Kimball Niumatalolo (Pasadena City JUCO/Pasadena, Calif.)
Defensive tackle Jake Sheffield (Palm Desert, Calif.)
Wide receiver Richard Smith (Long Beach, Calif.)

California (2)

Linebacker Michael Barton (Concord, Calif.)
Quarterback Zach Kline (Danville, Calif.)

Colorado (5)

Running back Terrence Crowder (Galena Park, Texas)
Quarterback Shane Dillon (El Cajon, Calif.)
Defensive tackle Tyler Henington (Denver, Col.)
Defensive end Clay Norgard (Highlands Ranch, Col.)
Wide receiver Jeffrey Thomas (Ducanville, Texas)

Oregon (7)

Defensive back Eric Amoako (Arlington, Texas)
Defensive back Stephen Amoako (Arlington, Texas)
Defensive end Alex Balducci (Portland, Ore.)
Tight end Evan Baylis (Aurora, Colo.)
Defensive end Cody Carriger (Butte, Mont.)
Wide receiver Oshay Dunmore (Newport, Ore.)
Quarterback Jake Rodrigues (Rocklin, Calif.)

Oregon State
(6)

Offensive lineman Gavin Andrews (Granite Bay, Calif.)
Wide receiver Malik Gilmore (Lakewood, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo (Corvalis, Ore.)
Tight end Dustin Stanton (Marysville, Wash.)
Quarterback Brent Vanderveen (Arroyo Grande, Calif.)
Wide receiver Cleveland Wallace (San Jose, Calif.)

Stanford (9)

Safety Alex Carter (Ashburn, Va.)
Wide receiver Connor Crane (Denton, Texas)
Linebacker Noor Davis (The Villages, Fla.)
Wide receiver Deante' Gray (Houston, Texas)
Wide receiver Dontonio Jordan (Cornith, Texas)
Defensive back Drew Madhu (Tampa, Fla.)
Offensive lineman Graham Shuler (Brentwood, Tenn.)
Athlete Jontrey Tillman (Baldwin, La.)
Wide receiver Kodi Whitfield (Los Angeles, Calif.)

UCLA (6)

Defensive back Shannon Edwards (Bakersfield, Calif.)
Defensive back Raymond Ford (Gardena, Calif.)
Running back Steven Lakalaka (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Tight end Ian Taubler (Fresno, Calif.)
Running back Psalm Wooching (Kailua Kona, Hawaii)
Offensive lineman Mario Yakoo (Spring Valley, Calif.) USC (10)

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (Rocklin, Calif.)
Athlete Jaydon Mickens (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Wide receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Running back Jahleel Pinner (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
Wide receiver Darreus Rogers (Carson, Calif.)
Linebacker Jabari Ruffin (Downey, Calif.)
Linebacker Scott Starr (Norco, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Max Tuerk (Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Running back Kevin York (Fullerton, Calif./Fullerton JUCO)

Utah (9)

Defensive end Hunter Dimick (Syracuse, Utah)
Defensive end Moses Folauhola (West Valley City, Utah)
Athlete Chase Hansen (Highland, Utah)
Defensive back Austin Lee (Sandy, Utah)
Wide receiver Delshawn McClellon (Cerritos, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Nua Poteki (Sandy, Utah)
Offensive lineman Kiha Sai (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Defensive end Sione Tupouata (Ephraim, Utah)
Quarterback Travis Wilson (San Clemente, Calif.)

Washington (15)

Defensive end Kalei Auelua (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Offensive lineman Nathan Dean (Kirkland, Wash.)
Kicker Korey Durkee (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
Athlete Bryan Harper (Ontario, Calif.)
Defensive end Malcolm Jackson (Spring Valley, Calif.)
Defensive back Damontae Kazee (San Bernardino, Calif.)
Wide receiver Taylor Lagace (Arcadia, Calif.)
Quarterback Jeff Lindquist (Mercer Island, Wash.)
Quarterback Cyler Miles (Denver, Colo.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Running back Tairen Owens (Pasadena, Calif.)
Wide receiver Michael Rector (Tacoma, Wash.)
Linebacker Blake Rodgers (Las Flores, Calif.)
Athlete Kendyl Taylor (Chandler, Ariz.)
Defensive back Darien Washington (Orange, Calif.)
Wide receiver Dwayne Washington (Cerritos, Calif.)

Washington State
(5)

Quarterback Austin Apodaca (Longmont, Colo.)
Defensive back David Bucannon (Fairfield, Calif.)
Wide receiver Dalen Jones (Woodland, Calif.)
Linebacker Jordan Pulu (Federal Way, Wash.)
Defensive back Taylor Taliulu (Alea, Hawaii)
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alex Balducci, Alex Carter, Arik Armstead, Arizona, Arizona State, Austin Apodaca, Austin Lee, Aziz Shittu, Beau Boyster, Blake Rodgers, Brent Vanderveen, Bryan Harper, Cal, Cayman Bundage, Chase Hansen, Clay Norgard, Cleveland Wallace, Cody Carriger, Colorado, Connor Crane, Cyler Miles, Dalen Jones, Damontae Kazee, Darien Washington, Darreus Rogers, David Bucannon, Deante' Gray, Dejon Allen, Delshawn McClellon, Dontonio Jordan, Drew Madhu, Dustin Stanton, Dwayne Washington, Eric Amoako, Even Baylis, Gavin Andrews, Graham Shuler, Hunter Dimick, Ian Taubler, Isaac Sumalo, Jabari Ruffin, Jahleel Pinner, Jake Rodrigues, Jake Sheffield, Jaydon Michens, Jeff Lindquist, Jeffrey Thomas, Jontrey Tillman, Jordan Payton, Jordan Pulu, Josh Kern, Josiah Blandin, June Commitment List, Kalei Auelua, Kendyl Taylor, Kenny Lawler, Kevin York, Kiha Sai, Kimball Niumatalolo, Kodi Whitfield, Kody Kohl, Korey Durkee, Lemming Top 100, Malcolm Jackson, Malik Gilmore, Mario Yakoo, Max Tuerk, Michael Barton, Michael Rector, Milo Jordan, Moses Folauhola, Nathan Dean, Nathan Sudfeid, Noor Davis, Nua Poteki, Oliver Johnson, Oregon, Oregon State, Oshay Dunmore, Pac-12, Psalm Wooching, Randall Goforth, Raymond Ford, Richard Smith, Salamo Fiso, Scott Starr, Scott Starr, Shane Dillon, Shannon Edwards, Sione Tupouata, Stanford, Stephen Amoako, Steven Lakalaka, Steven Moore, T.D. Gross, T.J. Millweard, Tairen Owens, Taylor Lagace, Taylor McNamara, Taylor Taliulu, Terrence Crowder, Travis Wilson, Tyler Henington, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State, Zach Kline
 
Posted on: June 2, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 10:57 pm
 

May Pac-12 Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The calendar has turned from May to June and it's time to see how schools are building their class of 2012. Today we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the Pac-12, where several schools are starting to build momentum on the recruiting trail.

Arizona (2)

Quarterback Josh Kern (San Antonio, Texas)
Offensive lineman Beau Boyster (Bellflower, Calif.)

Arizona State (7)

Offensive lineman Dejon Allen (Compton, Calif.)
Wide receiver Josiah Blandin (Long Beach, Calif.)
Linebacker Salamo Fiso (Long Beach, Calif.)
Wide receiver Randall Goforth (Long Beach, Calif.)
Defenisve back Oliver Johnson (Pierece JUCO/Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Wide receiver Kenny Lawler (Upland, Calif.)
Wide receiver Richard Smith (Long Beach, Calif.)

California (2)

Linebacker Michael Barton (Concord, Calif.)
Quarterback Zach Kline(Danville, Calif.)

Colorado(3)

Quarterback Shane Dillon (El Cajon, Calif.)
Defensive tackle Tyler Henington(Denver, Col.)
Defensive end Clay Norgard(Highlands Ranch, Col.)

Oregon(1)

Defensive back Eric Amoako (Arlington, Texas)
Defensive back Stephen Amoako (Arlington, Texas)
Tight end Evan Baylis (Aurora, Colo.)
Wide receiver Oshay Dunmore (Newport, Ore.)
Quarterback Jake Rodrigues (Rocklin, Calif.)

Oregon State
(2)

Tight end Dustin Stanton (Marysville, Wash.)
Wide receiver Cleveland Wallace (San Jose, Calif.)

Stanford(4)

Safety Alex Carter(Ashburn, Va.)
Linebacker Noor Davis (The Villages, Fla.)
Wide receiver Dontonio Jordan (Cornith, Texas)

UCLA (2)

Running back Steven Lakalaka (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Running back Psalm Wooching (Kailua Kona, Hawaii) USC (9)

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Athlete Jaydon Mickens(Los Angeles, Calif.)
Wide receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Running back Jahleel Pinner (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
Wide receiver Darreus Rogers(Carson, Calif.)
Lineabcker Jabari Ruffin(Downey, Calif.)
Linebacker Scott Starr (Norco, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Max Tuerk (Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Running back Kevin York (Fullerton, Calif./Fullerton JUCO)

Utah (4)

Defensive back Austin Lee (Sandy, Utah)
Offensive lineman Kiha Sai (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Defensive end Sione Tupouata (Ephraim, Utah)
Quarterback Travis Wilson (San Clemente, Calif.)

Washington State(2)

Defensive back David Bucannon (Vacaville, Calif.)
Wide receiver Dalen Jones(Woodland, Calif.)

Washington (4)

Wide receiver Braden Bishop(Mountain View, Calif.)
Quarterback Jeff Lindquist (Mercer Island, Wash.)
Running back Tairen Owens(Pasadena, Calif.)
Defensive back Darien Washington (Orange, Calif.)

Posted on: May 14, 2011 3:24 am
 

Stanford Elite 11 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Some of the most talented quarterbacks from up and down the West Coast descended upon the beautiful campus of Stanford and in the process, turned the 2011 edition of the Bay Area Elite 11 into the circuit's best stop. While most of the quarterbacks in attendance were already committed to a school, several under the radar players managed to make an impression on observers as well.

The headliner of the group was Cal commitment Zach Kline. The 6-foot-2, 210 pound quarterback had a slow start to the day but finished strong and was easily one of the top performers.

"I actually started the camp out a little shaky," Kline said. "The coaches started to get on me and say I'm better than that. I started to put 100% focus into every throw and you have to do that on every single one at the next level. If you don't, that's when the picks and incompletions happen and that separates the Andrew Luck's from all the other guys. Once I started (focusing better), I had a great camp from then on."

One of the camp instructors was former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer. Although Kline won't get to work with Cal head coach Jeff Tedford - known in the past for quarterback development - for a few more months, being put through the paces by Dilfer at the camp was quite the learning experience.

"He's an intense guy but when he's yelling, it's for a reason," Kline said of Dilfer. "You kind of learn to listen to what he's saying and not how he's saying it. When you listen like that, that's how you get the best things out of when he's coaching you. You listen to what he has to say and then you use it. It helps leaps and bounds."

Normally the Bay Area Elite 11 is held at Cal's Memorial Stadium. Kline preformed well there last year and though he had to throw the ball around in enemy territory at rival Stanford, he did manage to see the bigger picture.

"Well, I'm happy that Cal is getting a new stadium for sure," he said with a smile. "But it's good having the camp here and doing well might mean having a good game in future years. Either way, both places have great facilities."

Kline displayed the strongest arm at the camp and can really throw the ball wherever he wants. He generally throws a tight spiral with plenty of force on the ball and should continue to be in contention for the top quarterback on the West Coast.

Rodrigues makes an impression

While there were plenty of commitments on hand, several of the quarterbacks who held offers but hadn't yet pulled the trigger wanted to show that they had what it takes to compete at the next level. One of the real surprises of the camp was how well Rocklin (Calif.) quarterback Jake Rodrigues threw and he might have ended up the top guy at the entire event as a result.

"I'm ecstatic right now," Rodrigues said after the camp. "I've been wanting to play college football since I was three years old and this is just another step in my long journey I have. It means the world to me."

Like most of the campers, the time spent learning from a Super Bowl-winning quarterback like Dilfer was a great opportunity for Rodrigues to learn from the best.

"It's surreal. You grow up watching him on TV and then you're talking to him and he's coaching you up," he said. "What more can you ask for as a quarterback? Coming out here and competing is the best thing you can do. They're all good out here and to have Dilfer watching us, analyzing us and getting in our faces like how it is in a real game situation; everything out here has been just phenomenal."

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound signal caller even managed to get a personal lesson and help correct a small flaw in his footwork.

"Coach Dilfer said work on my drive step," Rodrigues said. "When you're done with your three, five, seven-step drops, that last step I need to stay off the tips of my toes and really drive it into the arch of my foot. I'll get more power coming off and I got that out of it today which is great."

Rodrigues has a very quick release and compact throwing motion but can still spin the ball well. He already holds offers from Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Oregon State and Washington but is receiving attention from several other big time programs.

"Standing out I would say USC and Oregon but all of them are going hard right now," he said. "They're all doing a great job and I'm open to everything still. I don't even have a top five or top three, I'm just taking it all in. "

Planning on graduating in December, Rodrigues is hoping to settle on a school by July and then concentrate on his senior season. He's already visited Washington and Oregon and will attend USC's Rising Stars Camp later in the summer. A trip to unofficially visit Tennessee might also be in the cards.

Baker the touchdown maker

The coaches seemed to enjoy calling Fresno (Calif.) quarterback Mike Baker the nickname they bestowed upon him while going through drills, particularly the accuracy challenge.

"Mike Baker, the touchdown maker!" they'd shout once he hit a target.

The nickname was apt as the Central California star was among the best performers at the camp, showing off a strong arm and very good mobility.

"I did good, competed well," Baker said. "It's just about seeing what I can do to get better and competing. Then have some fun."

The 6-foot-3, 190 pound signal caller came to the camp excited to play against some of the best quarterbacks in the country but did have one thing he wanted to work on with the instructors.

"My footwork," he said. "Just get all the coaching they offer and there's a lot of good coaches out here. I just want to take their coaching points and try to make me a better QB."

With the Evaluation Period in full swing, several schools are stopping by Central High East but so far Baker holds just one scholarship offer.

"Just San Diego State right now," he said. "I'm waiting on a few other ones. USC wants me to go down to their camp. Just a lot of colleges want to see me live and in person on their campus before they offer.

"I'm going to the Arizona camp and will be at Washington. I want to go to North Carolina because they keep calling."

Receiving interest from several other out of state schools, Baker is focused on evaluating his future schools primarily on two factors. He already has a top five and if one of the schools on the list extends an offer, a commitment will likely follow it.

"I want to go somewhere where I know the coaches are going to stay and go to a pro-style (offense), because I know there's a better chance of going to the pros from there," he said. "If it's one of my top five, then I'm going to commit. If not, I'll let it go through my senior year and make my decision."

Baker is teammates with cornerback Tee Shepard, who is one of the top defensive backs in the nation. With so much attention on Central East High thanks to Shepard, Baker is benefiting from the added attention of having a top player in the same locker room.

"It's great because a lot of college come by to see him and they also know I go to school with him," he said. "They watch film so they call me or talk to me too. The people that are looking at him are basically looking at me too so that's nice."

What can Browne do for you?

The Elite 11 is always a chance to see some up and coming quarterbacks and the Bay Area stop was no exception. Class of 2013 product Max Browne was the top underclassman at the event and displayed a very strong arm and was accurate at all three levels.

"I felt I did good, my feet were real good," Browne said. "It was a good day and great weather."

The Sammamish (Wash.) native is the latest in a long line of top quarterbacks at Skyline High. A legitimate 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Browne looked more like a rising senior throwing the football around the Farm.

"You can't look at it as an underclassman, everyone is here to compete," he said. "You just have to push yourself, whether the guy's a freshman or going to be a senior, it doesn't matter. Every throw, every drop back you do."

Browne already holds an offer from nearby Washington and is receiving a lot of interest from other Pac-12 schools early in the process.

"No other offers but I've had some contact from schools and some guys stop by my high school," he said. "I'll be making a few trips this June and maybe in July. I don't know where I want to go."

Despite receiving a lot of attention from college coaches at an early age, Browne is guided by a high school staff who has been through the process with a host of Division I players.

"It helps because not only have I seen it happen, but my coach knows what to expect," Browne said. "It's not a new process for him so he can help me out. With all of this stuff, I can ask questions and he can provide the answers."

Notes

- Recent Utah commitment Travis Wilson was the most physically imposing quarterback at the event. Every bit of 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. He can spin the ball but does tend to drop his arm angle which is a bad habit.

- Austin Bray, the younger brother of Tennessee starting quarterback Tyler Bray, competed at the camp.

- Lefty Matt Morin out of Temecula (Calif.) followed up his MVP performance at the LA Nike Camp with another strong showing. Morin has a very strong arm and appears on the verge of receiving his first offer in the next few weeks.

- Washington commit Jeff Lindquist was another top thrower at the event. Although he doesn't have the strongest arm in the class, he throws a very accurate ball that still arrives in the receiver's hands quickly. His footwork and throwing motion are also very good.

- Scottsdale (Ariz.) quarterback Connor Brewer was very accurate throughout the three hour camp and though he doesn't have elite arm strength, you can see why Texas coaches made him their quarterback for this recruiting class. Brewer is really a passer and is similar to BYU quarterback Jake Heaps.

- Speaking of BYU, commit Tanner Mangum showed why he was the top prospect out of the state of Idaho with a good showing. He doesn't have prototypical size at about 6-foot-1 but he has a good arm and really drives off his back foot.

- Yet another commit who preformed well was Idaho State pledge and Moorpark (Calif.) quarterback Grant Rohach.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:07 am
Edited on: April 4, 2011 2:19 am
 

Los Angeles Nike Camp Recap

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LOS ANGELES -- Some of the best players on the West Coast descended upon the campus of USC for the annual Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp Sunday afternoon. Although there were several hundred skill position players that came out to leave their mark, it was Defensive Line MVP Aziz Shittu that literally and figuratively stood out from the crowd.

"I did pretty well, I just came out here to get better," Shittu said with a smile. "I keep trying to work on my speed and quickness on my get off."

The Atwater (Calif.) defensive tackle has seen his stock soar as of late. He recently picked up a scholarship offer from Utah to give him one from a majority of the Pac-12 schools and should be in line for a few more nationally based on his performance during the camp.

The barrel-chested Shittu was one of the most physically imposing defenders to participate in drills and displayed good speed and quickness off the line. Though many considered Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy to be the favorite for the MVP award, there was little doubt that Shittu proved himself against the best of the best.

"It means a lot, there's great competition out here in Southern California so to come out and do well, it means a lot," Shittu said. "It shows I can play."

Encino (Calif.) tackle Jordan Simmons was named Offensive lineman MVP and was one of the biggest players at the camp. Though it took him awhile to get warmed up, the 6-foot-5, 320 pounder easily stood out as the best at the camp.

"I started off a little sluggish but I picked it up at the end," Simmons said. "I just came out here to compete against everybody else. It's great competition out here and I just wanted to go against it."

The highlight of the camp featured the two MVP's facing off against each other in one of the last reps of the day. Though the play lasted just three seconds, it was well worth the wait after Shittu used a very quick swim move to get around Simmons and sack the tackling dummy.

"I just read what he was doing," Shittu said. "I got a few hints from my teammates about what he was doing since they were on the O-line. So I tried to get a feel for what was going on."

The very humble Simmons, who played at both tackle and guard during the camp, had no problem giving credit where credit was due either.

"Yeah, he actually got me," Simmons admitted. "He gave me a swim move that was pretty good."

The Nike Camp offered a chance for many of the West's elite to compete against each other and test players who are almost always the best on the field wherever they go. The focus on competition at the camp also allowed players to improve their skils just as much as their stock among those that follow recruiting closely.

"It was fun and really intense, I liked a lot of the work we did today," McCarthy said. "Today I really wanted to learn some new stuff to take back to my school so I can work on it and get better. Today I wanted to get lower and really get off the ball."

Several other defensive linemen looked good on Sunday, including Riverside (Calif.) tackle A.J. Fanene and Fresno (Calif.) sophomore end Jaylen Ruiz. The offensive line also had plenty of standouts, including Anaheim (Calif.) guard Travis Averill, Las Vegas (Nev.) tackle Ronnie Stanley, Orange (Calif.) tackle John Lopez and Compton (Calif.) guard Dejon Allen.

Marks pulls in everything but MVP Award

Just a few weeks are impressing observers at the Las Vegas Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament, Los Angeles(Calif.) wide receiver Gabriel Marks once again put on a show in the afternoon sun. Usually lining up against the top defensive backs, Marks pulled in impressive catch after impressive catch all day and was not afraid to be vocal about it either.

"Whenever you come to the the LA Nike Camp, you're going to get the best of the best," Marks said. "When you come out here, everybody is going to be here. All of the cameras will be out and if you mess up, everyone will see."

In a slight upset, Marks did not pull in the position MVP, which went to Long Beach (Calif.) wide out Randall Goforth. Marks won the award last year and though he didn't end up making it two MVPs in a row, he did end up making himself better.

"I just came out to hit it hard and learn stuff from some really great coaches," Marks said. "I felt I did alright. I had some things that I felt I could have done a little better on my releases but I caught a couple of deep balls."

"I really wanted to work on my speed. You can always work on your routes because you will never be perfect at running your routes. I want to get better so it's always something I'm working on."

Marks holds offers from SMU and Idaho and recently picked up one from Utah. In addition to Goforth and Marks, Bellflower (Calif.) wide out Bryce Treggs, Los Angeles (Calif.) receiver Kodi Whitfield, Lakewood (Calif.) receivers Darius Powe and Malik Gilmore and Inglewood (Calif.) receiver Derrick Woods all stood out at the position. San Diego (Calif.) tight end Taylor McNamara was tops at his position and solidified his status as the best at the position on the West Coast.

Morin grabs top quarterback honor

The Los Angeles Nike Camp in particular has always been known for it's quarterback play and was the launching pad for several highly recruited players such as USC's Matt Barkley and Boston College's Chase Rettig. Though the group this year was not as strong as in the past, it still had several good players able throw the ball with precision and Temecula (Calif.) quarterback Matt Morin ended up as position MVP after displaying a strong arm.

"I think it's such an honor," Morin said. "I didn't think I was going to get it but I guess I proved myself to the coaches with what I was able to do today. I'm really proud of myself and hopefully recruiting starts picking up in the next couple of months. I'm just honored to have this award right now."

Morin does not hold any offers yet but after impressing at the Nike Camp for the second straight year, the 6-foot-2 signal caller is starting to see the interest level from schools pick up.

"Right now, USC and Washington and Notre Dame are showing interest," he said. "Those are the top three right now and that's pretty solid. I took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in November and fell in love with the school. My family is a bunch of Notre Dame fans so I know it's an awesome school. I don't know where else I'm going to visit but I'll figure it out in the next few months."

Scottsdale (Ariz.) quarterback and Texas commit Connor Brewer, Shane Dillon of El Cajon (Calif.) and San Clemente (Calif.) quarterback Travis Wilson also stood out as the top players at the most important position on the field. For Morin however, it was an adjustment to his mental game that allowed him to preform just a tad bit better than the others on the day.

"I was a little bit shy going into camps last year," he said. "I wanted to come out here and show everybody who I really am. You have to have confidence. That's what I'm working on and I think I honestly proved that today. My footwork can always get better and everything else too but being a quarterback, it's the mental part of the game you have to have work at."

Underclassman Hayden Rettig out of Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral High also impressed and looked a lot like his older brother, Chase, throwing the ball around.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com