SoCal NFTC: Breaking down the WRs

Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany receiver Steven Mitchell definitely lived up to his lofty reputation and took home WR MVP honors over what was easily the strongest offensive position group in the camp.

Steven Mitchell was impressive on Sunday and has clearly established himself as one of the top athletes in the west region. His film shows him making a ton of athletic plays but not necessarily featured as a receiver. You see him in the backfield or returning kicks but on Sunday, Mitchell showed he can catch and made several acrobatic plays.

He looked polished as a pass catcher and wasn't fighting the ball. He's not blessed with great size and isn't the guy you want going over the middle with a cornerback trailing him but he's a definite game breaker and should be an impact player at the next level. He got locked in for NIKE's The Opening immediately following the event.

Although Mitchell won MVP honors, the player that may have created the most buzz following the event was Moreno Valley (Calif.) wide out Demorea Stringfellow. Stringfellow fits the mold of the big, physical receivers that are all the rage when the NFL Draft rolls around every year. When you have the size of Stringfellow, you're never covered because he can either outmuscle or out-leap a smaller defensive back. He has strong hands, catches the ball away from his body and even though he may not be a burner, he can run well enough. Simply said, there's not a program out West that Stringfellow can't play for.

Tight ends rarely get much consideration for WR MVP honors but Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North athlete Marcus Baugh was that good. The first thing that catches your eye is just what an athletic body he has. When you draw up what a tight end should look like, Baugh definitely fits that picture.

He looks all of 6-4 with a strong 215-220 pound frame that will easily hold more weight. He runs well, can stretch the field or do the underneath stuff you want your tight end to be able to do. Baugh even said he enjoys blocking and isn't afraid to mix it up in the trenches and is just a tremendous all around prospect.

Another player who currently plays receiver but projects as a tight end in college is Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei's Thomas Duarte. Duarte is as sure handed as they come and is one of the most natural pass catchers you'll find. You barely hear a sound when he catches the football and his ability to run should cause a lot of matchup problems at the next level.

Another ‘big' receiver who impressed was Etiwanda's (Calif.) Jordan Villamin. Villamin looks almost 6-5 and has a huge frame. He could grow in to a tight end as well or stay at receiver depending on how much weight he gains in college. He's another kid with very strong hands and made some nice catches with a defensive back draped all over him.

For pure speed and explosiveness, you won't find many better than Santa Monica's (Calif.) Sebastian LaRue. Larue can get down the field and is a true home run threat. He connected multiple times on deep post patterns and is probably the top home run threat in the region. Larue also has good hands and is a pure receiver, meaning he can do more than just catch streaks and long balls.

Maybe the best duo out there on Sunday was Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan's John Ross and junior Rahshead Johnson. Ross is right there with Mitchell and Larue in terms of being an explosive pass catcher who is also a dangerous return threat. He runs well, has solid hands and even brings a little more size than his two contemporaries.

Johnson caught our eye in Las Vegas a week ago and shined once again at Cerritos. He's smallish in stature but has a solid frame and is very quick. He explodes in and out of his breaks and catches everything. A year from now, don't be surprised if everyone isn't talking about Johnson as one of the elite pass catchers in the state.

A few other receivers who stood out included San Diego (Calif.) Helix's Kendal Keys, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne's A.J. Richardson, Long Beach Poly's (Calif.) Thomas Tucker, Encino (Calif.) Crespi's Jabrian Blackwell and Rancho Cucamonga's (Calif.) Victor Bolden.

National recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman contributed to this report

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