2010 Verbal Commits in Action:
* Stanford wide receiver commit Tai-ler Jones and safety commit Daunte Carr have helped lead Gainesville (Ga.) to a dominant, 4-0 start to their season. After pitching shutouts in the first two weeks of the season, Carr and the Red Elephant defense finally gave up points the last two weeks, still winning comfortably in a 42-20 win over Cleveland (Ga.) White County and a 55-12 win over Gainesville (Ga.) North Hall. In the first of those games, Jones was limited to 4 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown and carried the ball once for 9 yards. The touchdown, an 11-yarder, was his first of the year. His quarterback, Alabama commit Blake Sims, did not have his usual success, only connecting on 8 of 17 passes for 88 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Sims did, however, dazzle as a receiver in the wildcat offense. With Tyson Smith lining up at quarterback, Sims caught one short pass that he turned into a 71-yard touchdown, and also had a 77-yard touchdown catch later. "If we put Blake on one side and Tai-ler on the other, which one are you going to try and stop," Gainesville head coach Bruce Miller asked of the newfound pick-your-poison possibilities for the passing game. On defense, Daunte Carr had 9 tackles. The next week, Gainesville maintained their perfect record with the impressive 55-12 victory against North Hall, the coming out party for the acclaimed but thus far relatively unproductive Sims to Jones connection. Tai-ler Jones exploded against North Hall with 10 receptions for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 39-yard bomb and a 52-yard bomb as well as a shorter 7-yard strike on an over the shoulder catch. He also had a 62-yard non-scoring connection, one of six plays of over 35 yards he contributed. Jones even recovered a fumble and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown, made a tackle, and had a 21-yard kick return. He would have added a fifth touchdown in a third phase of the game but his 58-yard punt return for a touchdown was called back due to a holding call and a sixth had he not been a yard short of the end zone on one of his catches. Daunte Carr didn't let Jones have all the fun and made it a great day all around for Stanford commits at Gainesville by catching a 35-yard touchdown pass, making 13 tackles, and returning an interception 16 yards.
* Pleasant Grove (Utah) is now 4-0 and is making its case as perhaps the premier team in the Beehive State. Stanford quarterback commit Dallas Lloyd has starred throughout the early going of the season, completing 55.6% of his passes for 791 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only 1 interception. In particular, he has hit his stride the past two weeks completing 22 of 33 passes for 489 yards and 7 touchdowns with no interceptions in games his team won by a combined margin of victory of 67 points. The most recent game came against previously undefeated West Jordan (Utah) in a 43-14 romp for Lloyd's Pleasant Grove squad. Lloyd connected with six different receivers in that game, though he favored D.J. Doman, who is starring on both sides of the ball and already has 4 interceptions on defense. Lloyd's top target previously had been tight end Sefa Tanoai, who broke his wrist in the most recent game. Due to Pleasant Grove's wide leads the last three weeks Lloyd has played sparingly in the second halves of games.
* Potosi (Mo.) is also 4-0, largely on the strength of a strong start to the season by Stanford running back commit Brandon Bourbon. Through four games, Bourbon already has 906 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He paced Potosi in a 39-7 win over New Madrid (Mo.) County Central by rushing for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17 carries, one of which was a 58-yard score. He also added a 20-yard receiving touchdown and was involved on a few sacks on defense. In the fourth game of the season, Potosi beat Herculaneum (Mo.) 49-28, with Bourbon contributing 158 yards and a touchdown. Junior quarterback Matt Marler has been taking on a bigger role in the offense as the season progresses, throwing for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns two weeks ago and 295 yards and 3 more touchdowns in the most recent game, in which he also added a rushing touchdown and threw an interception. In the last two games, Dylan Wyrick has made 21 tackles and Hunter Belfield has had 18 tackles and 3 sacks. Bourbon, Wyrick, and Belfield all play both ways for the Trojans.
* Yet another 4-0 team making a statement in the early portion of the season is Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, which spent the past two weeks beating up on Pahrump (Nev.) Pahrump Valley 50-0 and Las Vegas (Nev.) Sierra Vista 62-6. Stanford defensive end commit Alex Turner helped the Gaels pitch the shutout against Pahrump Valley. Bishop Gorman gave up less than 100 total yards and was able to play their stars sparingly and give other players a chance to play. While he was still in the game, sophomore quarterback Anu Soloman connected on 10 of 18 passes for 213 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. One of the touchdowns was to USC commit Xavier Grimble for a 28-yard strike, one of 3 catches the future Trojan hauled in as part of his 69-yard effort. The next week against Sierra Vista the Gaels finally gave up a score but nonetheless dominated. Turner contributed 6 tackles and a sack. Former Stanford commit Evan Palelei finished with 5 tackles. On offense, Soloman completed 5 of 11 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown, a 77-yard bomb to Grimble. The offense did most of its damage on the ground, rushing for 272 yards on only 20 attempts. Victor Belen rushed for 3 touchdowns despite only carrying the ball 6 times. In four games this season, Turner and the defense have only surrendered 20 points and have given up only about 175 yards per game.
* Rounding out the parade of 4-0 teams led by Cardinal commits, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton, which boasts Stanford safety commit Devon Carrington, took care of business the past two weeks with a 70-0 stomping of Glendale (Ariz.) Ironwood and a 49-7 blowout of Glendale (Ariz.) Mountain Ridge. Hamilton has yet to play a close game this season and the Ironwood game was the second time already this season they have put up 70 points. After a 4 tackle, 1 interception game in the opener, Carrington made 9 tackles and snagged another interception the next week. He only made 2 tackles against Ironwood as the Huskies spread the playing time around in the blowout. In that game, quarterback Kyren Poe was an efficient 9-of-11 for 237 yards and 4 touchdowns, 3 of which came in the first quarter and all of which came in the first half. He also added a second quarter touchdown. Hamilton scored 56 first-half points and then took their foot off the gas. Husky runners combined for 321 yards on only 20 carries and nine different players scored touchdowns. The next week against Mountain Ridge was similarly dominant before Hamilton let up in the second half. They scored all 49 points in the first half. The second score of the first quarter came on a 5-yard touchdown run by Carrington, who is used predominantly on defense. This time only five different players scored touchdowns as Zach Bauman found pay dirt on a 23-yard touchdown run, 67-yard touchdown run, and 68-yard touchdown catch.
* Plymouth (Minn.) Wayzata is 3-0 after shutting out Minnetonka (Minn.), home of top Stanford defensive tackle target Beau Allen, 28-0 and beating Plymouth (Minn.) Robbinsdale Armstrong. In the Minnetonka game, Stanford linebacker commit A.J. Tarpley starred on both sides of the ball. On offense, he caught a 2-yard touchdown pass for the first and it turned out decisive score of the game. On defense, he intercepted a pass in the closing minutes of the game and returned it 73 yards for his second touchdown of the game. For Minnetonka, Allen had 10 tackles and a sack and was a thoroughly disruptive presence in the middle that Wayzata had to account for on each play. Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster and members of his coaching staff attended the game, circling the field in a helicopter midway through the first half before touching down and catching the rest of the game.
* Stanford's other linebacker commit, Jordan Zumwalt, has also seen his team start the season 3-0. The Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison Chargers built off their opening week shutout win with a 35-6 win over Long Beach (Calif.) Wilson and a 34-17 win over Dana Point (Calif.) Dana Hills. After making 6 tackles in the opener, Zumwalt racked up 10 tackles and a sack the next week. Edison did not give up a score, their first of the season, until the last six minutes of the game, by which time the outcome was secured. Edison running back Wade Houston led the charge on offense with 125 yards rushing and 31 yards receiving along with touchdowns in each phase. Quarterback Matt Viles threw for 206 yards and 3 touchdowns on 13-of-22 passing. For Wilson, running back Brandon Robertson rushed for 98 yards on 20 carries. With the excitement of a quality performance against Wilson still fresh in his mind, Zumwalt suffered a disappointing twist in his senior season when he broke his left wrist in practice last Tuesday. After not giving up any meaningful points in the two previous games with Zumwalt, the Chargers allowed 17 first-half points against Dana Hills. They were able to overcome the defensive dropoff on the strength of a big game by Viles, who threw for 485 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception after completing 25 of 39 pass attempts. Houston rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Edison now heads into a major showdown with Anaheim (Calif.) Servite without their star Stanford-bound linebacker.
* Also 3-0 is Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel, which followed up a successful cross-country trip to take on Arizona State quarterback commit Peter Thomas and El Cajon (Calif.) Valhalla by winning its next two games back home in Maryland. Against Valhalla, Stanford cornerback commit Louis Young made two tackles, intercepted a Thomas pass, and had 2 catches for 23 yards. The next week, he and the Falcons defense shut out Baltimore (Md.) Mount St. Joseph 42-0. He once again had 2 catches for 23 yards in that game. His true emergence as an offensive weapon came in the third win, a 49-37 shootout against Baltimore (Md.) Gilman, when he took a 71-yard pass to the house for a touchdown and totaled 152 receiving yards. Significantly, the uncharacteristic 37 points Our Lady of Good Counsel allowed did not necessarily reflect a major breakdown in pass defense by Young and the Falcons. Instead, Gilman rode quarterback Darius Jennings to the tune of 273 yards and 3 touchdowns on 34 carries. Nonetheless, the star of the game may have been Our Lady of Good Counsel sophomore running back Stefon Diggs. Diggs returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, had a 12-yard touchdown run, and had 51 yards on only 5 carries. As a freshman last year Diggs made the WCAC conference's first team. "This is overwhelming, but everyone tells me to stay on top of my schoolwork," he said in a quote that will warm the hearts of Stanford fans. "That's all that matters."
* Stanford running back commit Anthony Wilkerson followed up his monster 354 rushing yard, 6 total touchdown opening week game with a 317 yard, 5 touchdown game in the second week's 37-12 win over Santa Ana (Calif.) Foothill. His touchdown runs came from 42 yards, 1 yard, 2 yards, 6 yards, and 36 yards. The game was a workmanlike one for Wilkerson, who racked up 43 carries. Two touchdown runs were called back due to penalties. "When there were no yards, he made yards and when there were few yards, he made big yards," Tustin coach Myron Miller said. "He's a horse. Everybody says it is boring, but I'll keep pitching him the ball. Tonight, we were pretty much a one-horse team." Unfortunately, in riding that horse Tustin lost the services of their star running back for a major showdown the next week against powerhouse Orange (Calif.) Lutheran. Wilkerson sat out the game with a pulled hamstring he had suffered the previous week against Foothill, marking the second year in a row he has missed the game against Orange Lutheran, which won this year's game 46-20.
* Texas powerhouse Katy (Tex.) bounced back from their tough second week loss with two strong weeks, a 35-17 win over Washington power Bellevue (Wash.) and a 34-24 win over Flower Mound (Tex.) Marcus. The Tigers are now 3-1. After only getting one catch per game in the first two weeks of the season, Stanford tight end commit Zach Swanson had 2 catches against Bellevue, including a 17-yarder and a 16-yarder. He also blocked a field goal attempt. The two receptions were short catches followed by rumbles through multiple Bellevue defenders. "We need Zach to be a dominant player for us," Katy head coach Gary Joseph commented on. "He's been very good, but tonight he was [dominant]. He helped seal the edge on blocks and he made some big plays." Swanson is primarily a run blocker in Katy's offense, which ran for 228 yards and 4 touchdowns against another team typically renowned for its run game. Notably, Bellevue's defensive line features UCLA commit Julious Moore. The next week against Marcus, Swanson had a 16-yard catch, once again blocked a field goal attempt, and blocked for a 304-yard, 3-touchdown rushing effort. Marcus' defensive line featured Oklahoma 4-star commit Daniel Noble.
* After an opening week victory, Greenwood Village (Colo.) Cherry Creek has struggled, losing each of their next two games. The decline has coincided with a change in the role for Kain Colter, who plays quarterback for Cherry Creek but has a number of potential position projections at the next level. After tearing his labrum in the first week, Colter has been relegated to receiver and wildcat duty. In the first game after the injury, he caught a 16-yard touchdown pass and punched in a 3-yard touchdown run but the Bruins fell 21-19 to Centennial (Colo.) Eaglecrest. He also had a 46-yard reception and finished with 82 yards receiving on 6 catches and 46 yards on 6 carries, including a 13-yard scamper, and fumbled once. Colter's two touchdowns both came in the fourth quarter as part of a comeback attempt that came up just short when Cherry Creek's two-point conversions failed after both scores. He did not play in the following week's loss and his season may be lost due to the torn labrum.
* Union (Ky.) Ryle is now 3-1 after dominating Newport (Ky.) Central Catholic 45-0 and also taking out Edgewood (Ky.) Dixie Heights 42-28. Stanford commit Tate Nichols caught a 1-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of the Central Catholic blowout to complete the scoring for Ryle. Against Dixie Heights, Ryle had 242 yards rushing and 224 yards passing. Nichols attended the Kentucky-Louisville game this past weekend at the invitation of the Kentucky coaches and brought along two standout underclass Ryle teammates, ostensibly to expose them to the Kentucky coaches.
* Miami (Fla.) Northwestern, which features Stanford offensive line commit Torrian Wilson and is one of the nation's top teams, is 2-0 to start the season. Wilson has been nursing a minor knee injury early this season. Northwestern won their opener 27-6 over Miami (Fla.) Carol City and then followed that up with a 42-20 win over Hialeah (Fla.). Northwestern standout junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 8 of 21 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown and ran for 76 yards and 2 more touchdowns. Twice he threw passes that bounced off of receivers hand and into the hands of Carol City's Teandric Slocum for interceptions. In the Hialeah game Northwestern seemed at risk of being upset until they reeled off 26 unanswered points and held Hialeah scoreless in the second half. Bridgewater completed 12 of 24 passes for 153 yards, 4 touchdown passes to 4 different receivers, and an interception. Amazingly, Northwestern blocked three Hialeah punts.
* Stanford offensive line commit Dillon Bonnell and his Highlands Ranch (Colo.) ThunderRidge team are now 3-0 following 21-6 triumph over Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Mountain Vista and a 23-0 shutout of Colorado Springs (Colo.) Rampart. ThunderRidge's offense relied on two touchdown passes and a touchdown run in the Mountain Vista game. Four Grizzlies players ran for 50 yards or more. On the season, two of those players are averaging over 6 yards per carry. Receiver David Bidwell has a touchdown catch in each game this season.
* Bonnell's future line mate, fellow commit Cole Underwood, is also manning the trenches for a 3-0 squad. Denton (Tex.) Guyer won their most recent game 35-8 over Saginaw (Tex.). It was a wet and sloppy game in which Guyer's standout junior quarterback J.W. Walsh mostly kept the ball on the ground, running through holes paved by Underwood and the line. Walsh had touchdown runs of 26 and 58 yards. He was efficient when asked to pass, completing 8 of 10 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, but did most of his damage on the ground with 141 yards in that phase. Running back Jaimaine Wilhite rushed for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries. In all, Guyer gained 300 yards on the ground.
* Roswell (Ga.) Centennial has won two in a row and is now 3-1. Stanford offensive line commit David Yankey and the Centennial offense put up 35 points in each of the games, taking out Alpharetta (Ga.) 35-25 and Marietta (Ga.) Pope 35-14.
* Stanford offensive line commit Joe McNamara of Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay is out for the season with a torn ACL.
* After a bye week, Fair Oaks (Calif.) Del Campo improved to 2-0 with a 35-13 win against Davis (Calif.). Stanford defensive line commit Eddie Plantaric anchors the Del Campo defense, which gave up 94 rushing yards and one touchdown on 30 carries and 145 yards through the air on 12-of-26 passing with two interceptions and one touchdown. On offense, quarterback Ryan Dimino rushed for 3 touchdowns, passed for 2 more, and totaled 471 all-purpose yards, giving him 939 yards of offense two weeks into the season.
* Stanford defensive end commit Henry Anderson and his College Park (Ga.) Woodward Academy team moved above .500 with a dominant 54-0 shutout McDonough (Ga.) Eagle's Landing that made the War Eagles 2-1 on the season. Anderson followed up that easy win with a trip to North Carolina to see Stanford's game against Wake Forest. The following weekend, Woodward Academy had a bye. Last week, Anderson was voted the NBC11 Under Armour Athlete of the Week. As part of the honor, a video profile of the future Cardinal will be released this Friday, 9/25.
* Austin (Tex.) Westwood had a bye this past week after beating Austin (Tex.) 41-7 the previous week. They are now 2-1 on the season. In the most recent game, Stanford kicker commit Jordan Williamson had a game to remember. In the blowout against a crosstown foe, he nailed long field goals of 52 yards and 41 yards, made all 5 of his extra point attempts, and had touchbacks on 7 of his 8 kickoffs. The 52-yarder is the longest in Central Texas so far this year.
* Bethlehem (Pa.) Liberty, a Pennsylvania power and the defending Class AAAA state champions, has gotten off to a nightmare start to their season. After getting blown out in the season opener, they are now 0-3 thanks to a 21-14 loss to Allentown (Pa.) Parkland and a 22-7 loss against Allentown (Pa.) Central Catholic. After only catching one pass in the opener, albeit a 54-yard touchdown, Stanford wide receiver commit Jarrod West only had 2 catches, a 5-yard touchdown and a 19-yard catch. 4-star Pitt quarterback commit Anthony Gonzalez played with a strained meniscus and really struggled, completing only 3 of 14 passes for 46 yards and rushing for 66 yards on 21 carries. After the game Gonzalez had surgery and will be out at least a few weeks. Playing without Gonzalez, Liberty was unable to get their first win of the season against Central Catholic. West caught a 13-yard touchdown pass in the game's closing minutes to Liberty their only score. He has scored in all three games of the season but has not been able to stem the bleeding for the reeling Hurricanes. The game was nonetheless West's most productive of the season as he hauled in 5 catches for 61 yards and the touchdown and ran for 20 yards on 5 carries.
2011 Verbal Commits in Action:
* Junior quarterback commit Evan Crower has led San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine to a 3-0 start to the season. The latest wins were a dominant 56-0 shutout of San Diego (Calif.) University City and a 44-7 rout of Chula Vista (Calif.) Mater Dei. Crower had started off his season with a solid but unspectacular showing against a team his school had never beaten, finishing 16-of-24 for 162 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. After losing his top receiver, Dana Barbaro, with an injury, Crower spread the ball around to seven different receivers against University City. He dominated, completing 15 of 18 pass attempts for 201 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. The touchdowns were on strikes of 39 yards, 1 yard, 15 yards, and 7 yards. His favorite targets were Evan Critchlow, who caught three of the touchdowns, and Darren Critchlow, who caught the fourth. In addition to the deadly passing performance, Crower also had a 15-yard touchdown run. Against Mater Dei, Crower found five different receivers and finished with 211 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and his first interception of the season. He completed 12 of his 18 pass attempts. He connected with Darren Critchlow for touchdowns of 28 yards and 8 yards, with Sam Macias for a 21-yard touchdown, and with Matt Asaro for a 57-yard touchdown. Asaro was Crower's favorite receiver in this game, accounting for 103 receiving yards on 4 catches.
* Sunnyvale (Calif.) King's Academy is also 3-0 to start the season. Junior running back commit Amir Carlisle has consistently dominated the so-far woeful competition King's Academy has faced. After a 175-yard, 1-touchdown first game in which he only had 11 carries, Carlisle spurred a 40-6 win over San Jose (Calif.) Mt. Pleasant. In that game, Carlisle only carried the ball 8 times but racked up 135 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns, which came from 34 yards, 26 yards, and 55 yards. He also had a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 20-yard kick return. "Amir's not hard to coach," said King's Academy head coach Ron Kellner. "I just let him go out there and play." Carlisle made sure to spread credit around for his performance, saying "I give all glory to God and to my offensive line. The line did an awesome job, especially tight end David Shirey and center Jeremy Wilczek." Aside from Carlisle, fellow junior LeeRoy Richardson rushed for 75 yards on 8 carries. This past weekend, Carlisle victimized San Francisco (Calif.) Marshall, which fell 53-6 to the Knights. Carlisle only touched the ball 4 times but scored each time, 3 times in the run game and once as a receiver. His three rushing touchdowns went for 69 yards, 48 yards, and 76 yards, giving him 193 yards for a ridiculous 64 yard-per-carry average. His one reception went for a 78-yard touchdown. On the season, he is averaging over 22 yards per carry. The strength of competition is a major question mark with Carlisle but he has been absolutely dominant as a sophomore and so far as a junior.
* Dallas (Tex.) St. Mark's has had a very difficult start to their season and now stand at 0-4 and have been shut out twice, including a 41-0 loss at the hands of Addison (Tex.) Trinity Christian. The most recent game was a 42-17 loss against Bellaire (Tex.) Episcopal. Stanford wide receiver commit Ty Montgomery is asked to shoulder the load for the Lions but the going has been tough thus far. Through four games, Montgomery has rushed for 390 yards and 2 touchdowns on a 5.2 yard-per-carry average for the struggling Lions. While St. Mark's had used Montgomery primarily as a running quarterback early in the season, they had some success against Episcopal using sophomore quarterback Joe Bush, who passed for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns.
2012 Commit in Action:
* Sophomore quarterback commit Skyler Mornhinweg has led Philadelphia (Penn.) St. Joseph's to a 2-1 start to the season. After leading a 2-touchdown fourth quarter comeback to win the season opener by one point, Mornhinweg reprised his role as the comeback kid in a second week 40-28 win at Rutgers Stadium against New Jersey power Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep. Mornhinweg's St. Joseph's team trailed 28-14 at halftime but scored 26 unanswered second half points for the win. Once again, Mornhinweg keyed the comeback on both sides of the ball, this time recovering a fumble from his safety position and returning it 21 yards for a touchdown and also running for a 7-yard touchdown as the quarterback. He also had a 41-yard keeper off of a fake handoff that helped in the field position battle, though the Hawks did not score on that drive. In addition to Mornhinweg's two second half scores, the comeback was keyed by sophomore Desmon Peoples, who ran for an 80-yard touchdown off a direct snap and a 60-yard touchdown on a reverse. Because the game was on a Sunday to showcase the matchup of top area powers, it conflicted with the Philadelphia Eagles-Carolina Panthers game and was the first game Mornhinweg has missed in the seven years his father Marty Mornhinweg, offensive coordinator of the Eagles, has been coaching in Philadelphia. In the most recent game, Skyler Mornhinweg once again took his team into battle in a showcase game against one of the region's top teams and once again fell behind in the first half but this time could not engineer the second half comeback as Lansdale (Penn.) North Penn prevailed 28-14. On the first drive of the game the St. Joe's offense ran 14 plays and ate up more than five minutes but had a 31-yard field goal attempt blocked. Mornhinweg completed his first three pass attempts and finished the game 10-for-20 for 112 yards. "We moved our men outside," North Penn coach Dick Beck said. "We couldn't let him square his shoulders up and make that throw (on the run). We had to force him inside to make that long throw." Mornhinweg came out of the game after a 2-yard scramble in the fourth quarter and the lone St. Joe's touchdown pass of the game was thrown on that drive by his backup.
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