SoCal NFTC: Breaking Down the LBs

Gardena (Calif.) Serra 2014 backer Dwight Williams stands out amongst a strong group of linebackers...

With some talented linebacker prospects at the SoCal Nike Football Training Camp, it was a 2014 prospect who stole the show.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra linebacker Dwight Williams, who impressed us a week ago at the NLA Elite 7on7, was named the MVP for the linebackers at Cerritos College, and it was clear he had the best performance on the day.  Williams was good in the individual drills, showing good agility and athleticism and looked real fluid and stepped it up in the 1on1's.  Williams, who's about 6-1, 200, looks noticeably bigger than when we saw him in the fall, but moved very well.

The Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) duo of Alani Latu and Viliami Latu againt had a strong showing, a week after being named to the Vegas 7on7 Defensive Team. 

Both are pretty well put together, each a legit 6-2, with Viliami a little thicker than Alani.  Viliami plays in the middle and Alani plays on the outside, and both fit those positions well.  Viliami is a little more physical than Alani, though Alani can play physically with the best of them, while Alani showed a little more athleticism in the drills.  But both are talents and form one of the best linebacker tandems in the West.

One of the prospects who came in under the radar but really jumped on the map was Tulare (Calif.) Mission Oak's Kevin Palma.  Palma, who measured 6-1.5, 235 on Saturday at the Sparq Combine, was quick off the edge and might have been the most athletic linebacker there.  A day after recording the second highest Sparq rating at  the Long Beach Combine, Palma was just as good in football-specific drills.  In drills where running backs had to pass block the linebackers, he twice blew past the back without being touched to get to the bag.  He looked good in the positional drills and the 1on1s until tweaking his arm.  Expect Palma's recruitment to pick up as more schools find him in Central California.  The coaches raved about Palma's play at the conclusion of the day.

A couple of Monrovia (Calif.) prospects had good days in George Frazier and Brett Walsh.  Frazier was the bigger of the two and moved really well for his size.  Frazier also plays quarterback, so he's plenty athletic, but he's gotten thicker since we saw him at the U.S. Army Combine but has maintained his athleticism.  Walsh drew the praises of the coaches with his non-stop motor and effort on the day.

Placentia (Calif.) Valencia linebacker Gabe Perez also received high praise from the coaches, especially with his efforts in the pass-rush drill.  Perez looks more like a defensive end waiting to happen, but showed the ability to play linebacker.

Concord (Calif.) De La Salle linebacker Michael Hutchings took in the camp after being at USC the day before, and he looks slimmer from where he was during the season.  Hutchings has talked about playing safety at the next level, but we still think he's a linebacker all the way.

Also having good days were Long Beach (Calif.) Poly's Jayon Brown, Las Vegas (Nev.) Centennial's Trajan Pili, San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Jack Ferguson and Duarte (Calif.) Denzel Talifero.

National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins contributed to this report.

Brandon is in his eighth year with and FOXSportsNext, currently as a National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager. Prior to joining the Scout Recruiting Team, he was a team recruiting writer.  He's been covering recruiting for the Scout Network since 2003.
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