Scouting the West: Top Five Picks

Three analyst breakdown which prepsters they would pick to build a team around...

Last month I put a question to Scout's Southwest recruiting analyst Jason Jewell and Scout's west region manager Brandon Huffman; If there was a high school draft and you had to start a team from scratch, who would your first five picks be.


Along with his duties as Southwest recruiting analyst, Jason runs 24-7Football which covers high school football in Arizona.  Here are the five Jason would draft.  By the way, check the number of interior players Jason, the former college offensive lineman, picked.

Christian Westerman Hamilton Chandler. Offensive tackles hard to find especially the ones that are 6-5 280 going into their junior season.

Marquis Flowers of Goodyear Millennium player does it all.  Has size, is versatile and can play the run or pass, could be a linebacker or safety.  True every down player.

Keanu Nelson of Tucson Sabino is the big, versatile corner that is tough to find.  Add in ten yards a carry and 23 yards a reception on offense and you get the picture.

Nick Rowland Peoria Centennial.  Some people think guards are a dime a dozen, but this 6-4 295 pounder is too good to pass on.

5 Kody Innes, Scottsdale Saguaro offensive lineman goes 6-5 275 and holds two Pac 10 offers. Jewell is following his thesis that good tackles are tough to find.


I'm an old defensive coordinator so four of these picks are players I would hate to defend.  One is a player I would have loved to have on my team.

Danny Spond of Littleton Columbine is Instant run game!  Spond is a big play waiting to happen.  If need be, move him to D and watch him dominate, he was an All-League Mike backer his sophomore year.  It will be interesting to see if Spond and talented receiverSean Neu open up the Columbine O.

Nduka Onyeali of Denver Mullen is the most explosive player I have seen on tape in quite a while.  Offenses have to set up their game plans with "Junior" in mind. Often, after offensive coordinators scheme for him, Onyeali still wrecks the plans.

Kain Colter of Cherry Creek High School is as cool as the other side of the pillow.  The super slick QB and now Stanford commit guided his Bruin squad to the state title game last season.

Zach Thenell The Bear Creek QB is undersized, but who cares? This polished passer and coach's son can lead my offense any day. 

Austin Hinder of Steamboat Springs, All the tools and all the offers.  This season is his time to put his team on his back and show what all his talent can do in 3A ball. Barely beat out some of my favorite players including Mitch Griebel of Heritage, Sam Strattonof Chatfield and Jake Johnson of Longmont.


Along with being Scout's West region manager Brandon Huffman runs GoldenStatePreps and is the guru of talent rich California.  Brandon gives his take on NorCal and SoCal.

Top five from NorCal

Chris Martin Oakland Bishop O Dowd DE could play with his hand down or as a coverage linebacker, or even be an elite tight end.

2  Brett Nottingham of Monte Vista High School in Danville is the top quarterback in Northern California, took over for a local legend and had even a better season.  Threw almost 39 touchdowns.

Dave Wilkerson, Nottingham's teammate, is a classic middle linebacker, but also a bruising fullback.  Cal commit is 6-3 240 and college ready.

Josh Harper of St. Mary's in Stockton is your top playmaker on offense but also can anchor your secondary

Terrance Mitchell the Sacramento product is a shutdown corner, but also can be a receiver and returner.

Top five from SoCal

Robert Woods of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena truly does it all.  You need a receiver?  Check.  A cornerback? Check.  A kick returner?  Check.  Best playmaker in the west.

2  Malcolm Jones of recruiting factory Oaks Christian is an elite running back who performs under pressure and is also a gifted linebacker.

Erik Kohler Plays with Jones at Oaks Christian. You need an offensive lineman, he's the best in the West

Josh Shirley the  outside backer from Fontana Kaiser is the best pass-rusher in the West

Hayes Pullard of LA Crenshaw is another gifted backer who could also be your running back. He and Jones would be a stellar tandem on either side of the ball.

New Mexico

Jason and I went back and forth on this one.  I tried to leave out any big guys but the 6-5 280 pound Jewell set me straight.

Ronnie Daniels, La Cueva athlete, can do it all and will be New Mexico's top prospect for the class of 2011.

Zach Daugherty I like how the 6-1 215 pound Daugherty plays the run from his middle backer position.  At the end of the day, it is always about stopping the run.

Armin Day the Eldorado QB is a cool customer.  I especially like his 36 TDs against only six  interceptions.  These are the type of numbers that win games.

Jake Espinoza  Speed kills and the Aztec receiver has plenty based on his 10.64 100 meters.  More importantly, this speed transfers to production on the field.

Willie Pounds, The big Aztec lineman can take care of business on both sides of the ball.  Pounds, along with La Cueva's Daniels will highlight the very good New Mexico class of 2011.

This is just three recruiting nerds talking football, but all of us were willing to stand on the table for our choices.  Thanks to Jason and Brandon for helping out. Get on the message board and give your picks for the high school draft.

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