We were at a handful of games in the Northeast this past weekend, including games in Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Brian Dohn, East Coast Analyst
Newark (N.J.) Weequahic at Cedar Grove (N.J.) High
Weequahic is led by Rutgers linebacker commit Sidney Gopre, but he is not all the Indians have when it comes to prospects. Gopre is undersized at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, but he can easily add 20 pounds to his frame. He is incredibly explosive and also reads plays well. He did a nice job of locating the ball carrier in traffic and making tackles. Teammate Al-Kadair Ports, a 2015 prospect, is hearing from Rutgers, and is a versatile athlete with very good burst and athleticism. He can play safety and receiver.
Cedar Grove has former Rutgers receiver commit David Njoku, who now has a Miami offer and recently visited Penn State. He made his impact on jet sweeps and was fluid and smooth with long strides, but was unable to make an impact in the passing game.
Paramus (N.J.) Catholic at Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
A loaded Paramus Catholic destroyed once-mighty Bergen Catholic, and it was five-star cornerback Jabrill Peppers, a Michigan commit, who stole the show with four touchdowns in a 44-6 win. He scored on a run, two catches and an interception return, and also played fullback for portion of the fourth quarter. His level of intensity is unmatched, and he plays at a very high rate of speed.
Offensive tackle Juwan Bushell-Beatty, another Michigan commit, played with a lower pad level than he did earlier this season and also was strong in pass protection while offensive guard Billy Ray Mitchell, a Virginia Tech commit, was explosive and played with a high motor.
Also, Iowa commit Terrence Harris, a defensive end, was able to use speed to get around the edge and did a better job of using his hands to disengage from the offensive lineman than earlier this season.
Class of 2015 receiver Najee Clayton (Rutgers offer) got off the line of scrimmage well and adjusted to the ball in air nicely. One new name on the radar is 2015 linebacker Saleem Brightwell. He was impressive in playing down hill and also was able to get to the edge in run support.
Bergen Catholic's Garrett Dickerson, who is still listing Stanford, Northwestern and Michigan as his final three, made his biggest impact as a tight end. He got down the field and showed good ball-tracking skills.
Northwestern linebacker commit Cameron Queiro flashed in the running game with his ability to fill the hole when Paramus Catholic went to the running game.
Michael Clark, Atlantic Recruiting Analyst
Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes vs. Virginia Beach (Va.) Salem
After falling behind 17-0 to Salem, Ocean Lakes scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the second quarter and went into halftime trailing 17-14. Then in the second half, the game remained close before Ocean Lakes pulled away in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins won 35-23 and finished the regular season undefeated.
Ocean Lakes running back Brandon Simmons took over in the second half, rushing for 188 yards. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Simmons finished with 235 yards rushing and three touchdowns. While Simmons is not the biggest or the fastest back, he runs very hard and has great vision. He will be a steal for someone on signing day.
Four-star Ocean Lakes defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi had a big-time game. The 6-2, 295-pound Nnadi was constantly double and ever triple-teamed, but still managed to make several big plays. Nnadi is one of the strongest players I have seen and is almost unblockable at the high school level.
Ocean Lakes senior quarterback Walter Harold did not have a huge game statistically (10-of-15 for 115 yards and a touchdown), but he made big plays when his team needed them. The 6-2, 175-pound Harrell is a leader and winner. After the season he has had, I think his recruitment will gain momentum in the near future.
Jahvoni Simmons played very well as a sophomore. However, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound middle linebacker has taken his game to a new level this season. The Ocean Lakes junior made play after play. He has great instincts and runs extremely well. I believe he is one of the top linebackers in the country, regardless of class.
As usual, Jaason Lewis was impressive. The 6-3, 233-pound junior wide receiver/safety caught the ball well and made a big interception late in the game to seal the win. His combination of size and speed is very impressive. He is one of the top athletes in the 2015 class.
Quincy Watts was all over the field Friday night. The 5-11, 175-pound junior wide receiver/cornerback made two of the biggest plays of the game – an 18-yard touchdown reception right before halftime and an interception late in the second half. Watts has great speed and ball skills. He already has a handful of offers and the number will likely grow significantly in the next several months.
Although he is only a sophomore, Levonta Taylor has already established himself as one of the most feared cornerbacks in the Beach District. The 2016 Ocean Lakes four-star prospect shut down his side of the field on Friday night. It is scary to think that the 5-10, 170-pound Taylor has two full seasons of high school football left to play.
Salem defensive end Trevon Hill had a strong performance. He does a nice job of rushing the passer and is also very good against the run. The 6-3, 220-pound Hill is strong and really fires off the ball. Although he is already a very good player, Hill still has a huge upside.
Salem sophomore quarterback Jarrel Lightbody impressed me. He finished 17-of-25 for 190 yards and two touchdowns. The 5-11, 185-pound Lightbody showed a lot of poise and made several impressive throws. His future is extremely bright.
Salem sophomore running back Malik Butts is a prospect that surprised me. The 5-8, 160-pound playmaker showed great speed. He ran the ball well and was also very effective catching the ball out of the backfield. He is a prospect to keep an eye on over the next few years.
Sam Hellman, Northeast Recruiting Reporter
Ramapo (N.J.) vs Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional
St. Joseph got strong performances from Rutgers commit Kevin Wilkins and Boston College commit Sherman Alston to pick up a victory. Wilkins plays defensive tackle and guard for St. Joseph, and will head to Rutgers as a 3-technique. Wilkins has an explosive burst off the snap and was unblockable in 1-on-1 situations inside. Wilkins consistently hit the quarterback, recording three sacks, and changed the Ramapo offensive game plan because of how quickly he broke a pocket. Alston ran for four touchdowns behind a strong offensive line. He is a change of direction back with good vision. Alston keeps his feet moving after contact, and is deceptively strong for a 5-foot-7 back.
St. Joseph had standout performances from 2015 offensive lineman Tommy Hatton and linebacker Joe Giles-Harris. Hatton is a powerful run blocker that plays right tackle, but is better suited for guard at the next level. Giles-Harris is tackles consistently in space and closed well on the ball carrier.
Ramapo's Jimmy Hogan is committed to Rutgers as a defensive tackle. He needs to spend time in the weight room, but his skill set is better suited to be an interior guy than defensive end. Hogan ate up space inside, but was held at bay when matched up with Wilkins or Hatton pre-snap. Hogan is up to about 6-foot-4, 235 pounds and aims to be closer to 275 after a red-shirt year. Ramapo 2015 quarterback Sean Dougherty checks in at 6-foot-2, and was effective. Dougherty has a long and awkward throwing motion, but is accurate and fits passes into tight spaces. He threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns, the best stat line for any quarterback this season against St. Joseph.
Gonzaga (Washington D.C.) hoped to avenge a loss to St. John's College High (Washington D.C.) in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinal on Sunday. Iowa commit
put the final nail in the coffin as he batted down Gonzaga's final Hail Mary pass in the end zone as time expired.
Monroe is a prospect on the rise, and his play on both sides of the ball on Sunday exemplified why. Monroe already holds offers from UVa and Maryland, however he recently picked up interest from schools such as Penn State, Pitt, Georgia, and North Carolina State.
Dematha will face St. John's College High in the WCAC Championship next weekend at Capital One Field