Northern Arizona 7on7 Recap

For years, NAU has put on one of the state's top passing league tournaments/big man challenges. The elevation makes for a 30 degree drop in temperature, making for quality competition amongst Arizona high school teams. Pending changes in the NCAA rules are threatening to put an end to 7on7 tournaments on college campuses, so 2012 may be the last one in Flagstaff…and it ended in excitement.

7on7 Notes

Teams in Tournament: Chandler Basha, Phoenix Desert Vista, Peoria Liberty, Anthem Boulder Creek, Scottsdale Chaparral, Tempe Marcos de Niza, Scottsdale Saguaro, Phoenix St. Mary's, Phoenix Pinnacle, Tucson Sahuaro, Phoenix Camelback, Tucson Sabino, Vail Cienega, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep, Scottsdale Christian Academy, Mesa Mountain View, Gilbert Williams Field, Glendale Mountain Ridge

Close Games: Desert Mountain beats Marcos in game 1 and what a way to start the event. Marcos scored late for what looked to be the game winning score but a pass interference call gave Desert Mountain one more play, which ended up being the game winning pass by QB Kyle Allen. Old rivals Saguaro and Chaparral faced each other in round robin play. Saguaro pulled off the win but it ended in some controversy. A late Chaparral TD was ruled out of bounds. Basha beat defending state champ Desert Vista in the second round of pool play on a last second TD pass. Desert Vista looked to have the game won but a pass interference call gave Basha one last hope and Nate Phillips came down with the game winning score. Notre Dame and Marcos got in a barn burner in the elite eight with MdN pulling out a 29-25 win.

Elite Eight: Basha v. Desert Mountain. Sahuaro v. Pinnacle. Marcos v. Notre Dame. Mt. Pointe v. Sabino.

Final Four: Basha v. Sahuaro. Marcos v. Mt. Pointe

Championship Game: Mt. Pointe versus Basha.

Mt. Pointe wins the tourney, goes undefeated. Junior Jalen Brown's INT seals the win over Basha.

More Notes

*I am liking Arizona commit Nate Phillips the more I see him play. He is short but is thick. He has great burst off the ball and gets in and out of his breaks. I saw him make several great and clutch catches in this tournament.

*It looks like Marcos WR Paul Elvira has spent some quality time in the weight room. He really has gotten a lot more muscular since the last time I saw him in person at the Proving Ground Combine in January.

*What can be said that already hasn't been said about five-star CB Priest Willis? At one time he was a five-star safety by Scout and he showed he can play either spot. He played both in this tournament.

*Notre Dame Prep LB Luke Taffuri has been one of the state's most productive LBs in Arizona over the past two years. He has an offer from Army and while I think Luke shines better with his pads on, I think he looked rather smooth dropping into coverage.

*Notre Dame Prep QB Nick Duckworth looked good. He is a big 6-5 230 pound pocket passer with a strong arm.

*Peoria Liberty QB Tyler Rogers struggled when I saw him live at Arizona State last week but when I saw him Saturday in a win over Desert Vista, he looked especially sharp. Air Force and South Dakota State have offered and Utah and Utah State have shown strong interest.

*Not many people would have expected Tucson Sahuaro to make the semi-finals but kudos to those young men as they played very well the whole tournament.

*It is no surprise but Marcos de Niza has athletes running all over the place!! If they can have a semi-decent OL to open some holes for Mauriece Lee, they could be very good.

*Chaparral has the looks of a very good secondary. CB Jordin Hamilton is back after one year at North Canyon, Boulder Creek transfer, junior Tyler Whiley, has the looks of a D1 corner, and safeties Alex Arnold and Tim Murphy are long and rangy enough to roam the middle.

*WR Jake Roh from Chaparral lined up at OLB, a position some are thinking Roh could play at the next level.

Big Man Notes

*Several teams sent just big men and not a passing league team. Additional teams included Snowflake and Chandler Hamilton. Events included the 185 bench press for reps, 225 squat for reps, 40 yard dash, broad jump, tire flip, obstacle course, hammer swing and tug of war.

*Desert Vista wins it. Saguaro gets second, Chaparral third.

*Undersized DT Zach Tamburo from Desert Vista walked away with the MVP axe. He was first in many of the events.

*I am absolutely shocked that OT Billy Nichols from Pinnacle doesn't have an offer yet. He measured in at 6-5 250, ran an amazing 4.8 forty and carries a 4.5 GPA!! With solid junior film, he should have at least FCS offers now; with good senior film he could get BCS offers.

*Juniors Casey Tucker from Hamilton and Andrew Mike from Sabino stood tall amongst the competitors. They are both tall and lean and very deserving of their early offers.

*Desert Vista DE Lorenzo Melvin ran a 4.8 forty and was offered during the event, his third offer overall. The NAU staff think he can be a great rush end in their scheme according to Melvin.

*Desert Vista teammate Dylan Fischer showed great explosion and burst (evidenced by has 60 foot plus shotput throw this year).

*Snowflake OT Reggie Peterson measured in at 6-6 249 and says that he has been getting calls from BYU and Utah. Peterson is LDS and says he will go on his church mission in August just after graduating from school. He could come back a mature beast.

*Desert Mountain has two good looking OLs in 6-5 OT Ryan Sheetz and 6-3 center Ricky John.

*For the second time in a row, I came away impressed with Hamilton DL Aric Burkes. He looked smooth in the drills, ran well and looks like has hit the weight room hard, changing his body from last year since transferring from Desert Vista.

*Big fan of Williams Field DE Drew Burgesser's film. Not overly big but is put together and plays much bigger then his size.

Up and Comers

*Junior LB Wesley Paynehas a muscular frame and should make an impact on a Mt. Pointe defense that lost most of their starters.

*Desert Vista head coach Dan Hinds says that junior DT Jalen Jenks is poised for a breakout year. He was called up to varsity during their state title run last year and at 6-4 220, has the frame to be a big kid.

*Sophomore CB Kamron Johnson from Marcos looked good. He made several big plays. Keep an eye on him.

*Cole Neubauer from Pinnacle already has a solid varsity resume. He was an all-section defensive lineman as a sophomore last year but looks to move to LB this year. He ran a 4.5 forty on Saturday and looks good standing about 6-1 220.

Scholarships Extended

*Notre Dame Prep CB Maurice White was offered by NAU after the skills camp on Friday, his third offer. NAU joins Western Illinois and South Dakota State. On Saturday he looked great, making several PBUs in the games I watched.

*Buckeye LB DeAndre Miller was offered after the small school 7on7 on Thursday.

*Already holding big time offers, Kenny Lacy (who was just watching Mt. Pointe play) and Sabino junior Andrew Mike were told tey both had offers if they ever wanted to attend NAU.

*Boulder Creek CB Ryan McKinley was offered as was Desert Vista DE Lorenzo Melvin. Both have multiple FCS offers.

*Basha junior RB Rajhan Meriwether received his first offer from NAU after impressing at the camp.

Stars Missing

*Saguaro sophomore Christian Kirk was hurt in the first game as was Boulder Creek CB Ryan McKinley.

*Desert Mountain junior WR Mark Andrews was at a basketball tournament.

*Mt. Pointe senior CB Travonn White was at the junior track championships. He is one of the nation's best long jumpers.

*Desert Vista seniors Nick Farina and Jarek Hilgers were at college camps, Farina at San Diego State, Hilgers at Cal.

*Neither Hamilton OG Devon Fanai nor OT Patrick Joseph made the trip.

*Pinnacle OG Carson Purtell was at UNLV's camp.

Intriguing Prospects

*Mt. Pointe's Thomas Warren has been a very good running back but I liked what he did at corner on Saturday. He has good speed and good cover skills. I think he could have a future in the secondary.

*Another Mt. Pointe player, WR Thair Blakes, has a good skill set. He is listed as a TE but is a big receiver. He stands 6-4+ and weighs 200+. He has above average hands and creates matchup problems with any DB.

*I like Marcos QB Josh Eckerly's mobility. I expect the Padres to run some read-zone concepts to utilize his athletic ability.

*It looks like WR Angel Holmes has transferred from Santa Rita to Cienega. He wasn't playing early in the tournament but looked as good physically as any receiver in the tournament.

*Saguaro OL/DL Jalen Neal hasn't played a ton for the Sabercats yet but at 6-5, he has the frame to be a big kid. He could be a good developmental OT prospect for someone.

*Camelback TE Antonio Zepeda looked good on Saturday. He is extremely athletic for a big man and made some very good catches. If a team is looking for a true TE, Zepeda (6-5 250) could be the guy. But he also could end up bulking up and being a big DT.

2014 Class is Star Studded

*Desert Mountain QB Kyle Allen is a stud. He has very good poise for a junior. He has plenty of arm strength, moves around well and with multiple BCS offers already, he looks like a one of the nation's best next year.

*Mt. Pointe WR/DB Jalen Brown will make a case for five-star ranking next year. The plays he makes are just ridiculous. In the semi-finals I saw him make an unreal one had TD catch. At 6-2 175, he has the frame to hold a ton more weight. His ball skills, hands and play making ability are second to none.

*I mentioned above that OTs Casey Tucker and Andrew Mike are legit D1 players.

*I like what I saw from Sabino TE Matt Bushman. He is 6-5+ and 210.

*Notre Dame Prep thinks that S/WR Jordan Schlueter could be one of the best athletes they have ever had. I think he ends up being a safety at the next level. He hawks the middle very well.

*Chaparral's Trevor Wood was one of the best looking kids walking around campus on Saturday. At 6-5 230, he runs very well, has very good hands and has the bulk to be effective in the run game.

Impressive Tight Ends

*I have already mentioned Matt Bushman, Trevor Wood and Antonio Zepeda but senior TE Grant Martinez has the best hands of the group. I want to see more film on Cienega senior Donovan Vance. He has good size and ran around pretty well for a big kid.


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