More quick hitters from Las Vegas

There was some serious talent at last weekends New Level Athletics Elite 7 on 7 as several of the big name players lived up to their hype while other ‘under the radar players' showed they can definitely play with the big boys as well.

Here's a few quick takes on the action from over the weekend including several underclassmen who need to be on everyone's recruiting radar.

Three Quarterbacks Stand Out

There were several solid performances at the quarterback position but the three guys who jumped out in terms of their upside and tools were Troy Williams, Anu Solomon and Jihad Vercher.

Williams, out of Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne was the top guy and could have earned MVP honors despite his 1925 squad losing in the championship game. He improved every game and made some throws down the field, early and on time, that not a lot of quarterbacks in the Pac 12 can make right now.

Williams showed improved arm strength and if he can tighten his release up just a bit, he'll be even more affective. He also showed improvement going through his progressions and his poise in the pocket, especially late in the games, was very impressive.

Solomon missed Saturday while competing at the Elite 11 regional camp in Texas but didn't waste any time getting going for his Las Vegas 7 squad. Solomon is strong mechanically with a quick release and a very live arm.

The Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman standout made quick decisions and may have had the best deep ball in the event. He spins it very consistently and his accuracy was on point throughout the day. Solomon also looks like he may have grown an inch or two since last season and his stock should rise in the spring.

Vercher, out of Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian is undersized and that's the only thing holding him back from having double digit offers right now. If he's even two inches taller, he's on everyone's radar.

Simply put, the ball just explodes out of his hand and that's something you can't teach. Vercher can absolutely spin it as well as anyone in the state and he led a surprising 4th Quarter Sports team all the way to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion, Team Utah.

In terms of mechanics, ball placement, accuracy, arm strength, etc, Vercher has it all. Again, the downside is he's probably in the 5-10-5-11 range, but if someone were to take a chance on him, he could make on lucky program pretty happy down the line.

Team Utah has some talent

The team from Utah shocked a lot of people winning the tournament but the reality is, anyone who watched them play wasn't too surprised. They were extremely well coached, no team played harder and they had some talented players as well.

Linebackers don't always make a big impact in 7 on 7 play but you couldn't help notice the play of Uaea Masina, out of Brighton (Utah). Masina is a rangy 6-3 or 6-4 and probably weighs around 210 pounds. His ability to close on the ball was incredible and he was able to run down plays from behind all tournament.

He moves like a player half his size and was leveling anyone trying to run underneath routes in his area. Masina also showed a motor and is a high energy guy and a natural leader that could play any of the linebacker positions at the next level.

Utah also had the top tight end in the event in sophomore Dalton Shultz. Shultz looks at least 6-6 and showed off some of the softest hands in the tourney. You don't even hear the ball when he catches it and with his size, he's a matchup nightmare in the red zone.

Shultz isn't just big but can run and showed off above average athleticism. He's a solid route runner and had no problems getting open. With two more years to develop, expect Schultz to be among the most heavily recruited tight ends in the region.

Safety position is loaded out West

We've said it 1,000 times but it bears repeating, the safety position is loaded out West. Where last year was the year of the offensive lineman, the crop of safeties in the 2013 class might be the deepest in the last decade.

Su'a Cravens is the top player in the region and showed this weekend that he could easily play safety in college. He plays linebacker for Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta but made an easy transition to safety and was just about everyone's top player in this event. He does everything effortlessly and is not just blessed physically but plays with a high football IQ and always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

He was just as solid on offense lining up at receiver. He has strong hands and a large catch radius. He made several acrobatic catches and the ability to run after the catch as well. Cravens entered the tournament as the top rated player in the region and did nothing to dispel any doubts about that.

Right behind Cravens were Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) athlete Tahaan Goodman and Fresno (Calif.) Central standout Hatari Byrd.

Goodman had a monster tournament and has everything you're looking for in a safety. He has a college body right now, is a very physical player, can drop in to coverage, showed good hands and made several clutch interceptions all tournament.

Goodman plays with an edge and when things got chippy, which usually happens in just about every game, he was the one stepping up and delivering a hit on a receiver coming across the middle. He's a natural leader, both verbally and by his play, and there's not a school in the country Goodman can't play for.

Byrd is a physical freak and is the guy you want leading your team coming out of the locker room. He looks like a linebacker but as his longtime coach and DB guru Tony Perry said, "he has safety legs and can cover better than most safeties."

When Byrd's DB Guru squad lined up against B2G's Five Star team, several of the coaches for B2G were even calling him out during the game, telling him he needed to move to linebacker and he wasn't a safety.

Byrd responded by moving to corner and did an outstanding job, especially in press coverage, where he used his big body to basically beat the tar out of the receiver he went up against. Safety is definitely his meal ticket and like Goodman, Byrd has the talent and temperament to play early in his college career.

Two other safeties who shined were Tyler Foreman from Encino (Calif.) Crespi and David Price out of Long Beach Poly (Calif.). Foreman is another player that has a college body right now but moved effortlessly in the secondary. Price made a ton of plays and his recruitment should pick up soon as his junior tape just went out last week.

Several underclassmen shine

There were several talented underclassmen at this tournament and not just in the sophomore class. Three freshmen shined and all could be elite players in a few years, assuming continued development.

Long Beach Poly (Calif.) is known as DBU (DB University) and also seems to have at least 1-2 elite defensive back prospects every year. Remember the name Iman Marshall, as he'll be the next elite safety for the Jackrabbits.

Marshall, also known as ‘Biggie,' is an elite athlete who physically looks two years older than he is, but his baby face shows he's not done physically maturing yet. He played safety opposite Goodman for B2G's elite team and it's scary to think he has three more years to improve.

He already plays a physical style of football, can cover very well and has good football instincts. He showed up well in press coverage, but excels playing back in the secondary and keeping everything in front of him. He has excellent hands and don't be surprised if he plays some receiver for Poly next fall as well.

Newhall (Calif.) Hart receiver Trent Irwin already made an impact for the Indians varsity team last year and before he's done, he could break every school record. He looks at least 6-1, 175 pounds and could be closer to 6-2. He's an explosive route runner with soft hands and showed plenty of toughness.

He's not afraid to go across the middle and is just a natural pass catcher with a great feel for the position. He already runs well and assuming he continues to develop at even an average rate, by the time he's a senior, he'll be among the top receivers in the region.

If you're looking for a tight end, remember the name Alize Mack out of Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. The Gaels are known to have their fair share of elite talent every year and Mack is a very promising player.

He's already 6-5, 215 pounds and can run. He has the kind of frame that you're looking for in a young prospect- long arms, broad shoulders and will easily add on as much weight as he needs. Throw in the fact that he didn't drop a ball and just needs fine tuning on his route running and you have a very promising athlete.

Three other elite underclassmen from the 2013 class that looked very good were Cameron Denson, Makiya Quick and Marquis Ware.

Denson, out of Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic, played corner and receiver and could play on either side of the ball in college. His sophomore film is ridiculous and he showed in person that he's easily among the top sophomores in the region.

Denson is an explosive kid that can made a defender look silly in the open field. He's the type of athlete who can catch a little five yard out, make three guys miss and take it the distance and he was just as impressive as a cover corner as well.

Quick will be the latest talent to come out of the Fresno (Calif.) Central program. He's already a standout receiver but showed very good cover skills in Vegas. He battled a minor hamstring issue on day one but his hands are pure and he's already an adept route runner.

He plays with a ton of swagger, maybe too much at times, but he can back it up. He's a physical corner who like most players coached by Tony Perry, has great technique and feet already. He's at least 6-0- 6-1 and his upside is off the charts.

Ware is a physical specimen and is already drawing a ton of college interest. He's a big- bodied kid who plays a lot of defensive end at Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian but looked very good at linebacker.

Ware can play some tight end too and made a lot of plays on both sides of the ball. He runs very well, plays with a lot of toughness and has a lot of upside on either side of the ball.

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 15 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for
Twitter | E-Mail |

Scout Football Top Stories