UCLA's Early Elite Camp Evaluations

There were only a few players who attended that actually have UCLA scholarship offers, but a quarterback was intriguing, and a few local linebackers look like potential offerees...

There wasn't a great amount of talent on hand Sunday for UCLA's Early Elite Camp. There were probably 150 campers out on Spaulding Field, and most of them were players who don't have a UCLA scholarship offer that were trying to earn one.

The two prospects who did claim a UCLA offer were Eric Judge, the 6-1 wide receiver from San Diego (Calif.) High, and Sampson Kafovalu, the DT/OL from Riverside (Calif.) Arlington (Video interviews with both are coming soon).

Judge has decent size, and good quickness, jumping off the ball with some burst. He used that to consistently get separation from his defender, and then used long arms and good hands to make some nice catches.

Kafovalu is an impressive-looking prospect, at about 6-4 and probably 260-ish. His body and frame couild easily hold quite a bit more weight. He did most of his work Sunday as a defensive tackle, and showed good foot speed off the line. But he could very well develop into an offensive guard, too.

Perhaps the one guy that stood out from a talent standpoint was quarterback Matt Morin, from Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral. Morin is about 6-2 and weighs in at about 210, with a well-developed body for a quarterback still with one year of high school remaining. He easily could pass for a linebacker prospect. What stood out was that the lefty easily threw the best ball among any of the quarterbacks at the camp, displaying a very strong arm, making throws effortlessly with a short, compact motion. His accuracy was just okay, struggling sometimes in getting the timing of certain routes, and also not being able to put some air on the ball. There were some throws the UCLA coaches, particularly Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson, asked Morin to make where he took off a little heat and put some arc on it, but Morin is clearly so used to throwing darts that it took him a while. Morin also showed good mobility, running well through some drills. With there being a lack of great quarterbacks in the west, and the candidate pool continuing to dwindle as prospects make commitments, it's not difficult to see UCLA getting seriously involved with Morin. We heard the UCLA coaches asked Morin to e-mail him this week, and that can sometimes mean a scholarship offer is on the way. We'll have a video interview with Morin coming later.

Thomas Brown, the linebacker prospect from Gardena (Calif.) Serra, was a guy you could easily see UCLA getting involved with seriously. He looked to be about 6-2 and 210, and moved very well in the drills. UCLA linebacker coach Clark Lea spent a good amount of time talking to Brown after the camp. A video interview with Brown is on the way.

Robert Lewis, the prospect from Southgate (Calif.) South East, who is verbally committed to SMU as a running back, participated in the camp and worked with the wide receivers. Lewis is pretty small, probably 5-8 and maybe 150 pounds, with a slight frame. If you could see him at any position it'd possibly be corner, but he actually did pretty well as a receiver. He is quick off the snap and made sharp cuts, and got separation, even though he dropped some balls. Kache Palacio, the DE/LB from Serra, is intriguing. He's probably 6-1 and weighs about 210, which makes him appear to be too small for a defensive end. He worked as a d-end in the camp, and had some good moments, when he was just too quick for the OLs to stay in front of. It was clear the UCLA coaches were interested, spending some time with him, and it would have be interesting to see him work as a linebacker, since physically he's better suited for that position.

Another guy who looked better suited to be a linebacker was quarterback Christian Tago from Palmdale (Calif.) High, who is about 6-1 and 210. In the afternoon session of the camp, Rick Neuheisel took Tago over to Defensive Coordinator Joe Tresey and asked for him to take a couple reps as a safety, but Tago looked a little disoriented, having been throwing as a quarterback all day. He never worked as a linebacker, from what we could see, but he appears to have a good combination of size and athleticism for that position. We're hearing, though, that he and his family are pretty determined for him to a quarterback.

A linebacker who looked the part was Blake Rodgers, from Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro who appeared to be about 6-2 and 220. We didn't see Rodgers in too many 1-on-1s, but he moved well in the drills.

Joel Skotte, the 6-2, 220-pound linebacker from Bend (Ore.) Mountain View, definitely looked the part, too, but he tweaked his ankle just a few minutes into the camp and didn't participate the rest of the day. Clark Lea was talking him up for an extended period of time after the camp.

Grifith Gates, a junior from Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill, would be someone to keep an eye on. He looked to be about 6-3 and 215, and moved well through the drills for a young linebacker.

Jeremi Ross, a 6-0 wide receiver from Hollywood (Calif.) High, had a few impressive catches. He had a knack for getting behind a receiver and then showed good hands.

Lloyd Mills, the receiver from Chandler (Ariz.) High, showed good quickness and ability to get open. He was only about 5-9ish and 150 pounds, and looked better suited as a cornerback, but we didn't see him take any reps at that position.

Another guy we would have liked to have seen work with the DBs was Jerico Richardson, the athlete from Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany. He was about 5-11 and 175 pounds and, admittedly, make perhaps one of the best catches of the day, when on a deep ball he went up and wrestled it away from the defender. Physically he also looked like he'd be more suited to playing cornerback.

Perhaps the best cover corner we saw was Elijah White, from Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton. White looked to be about 5-9 to 5-10 but had a strong build at about 175 pounds, and he was very good in staying with his man.

Kendrick Mathis, the safety from Ventura (Calif.) Buena, looked liked a good athlete, and was about 6-0, 185.

A guy who was pretty interesting was Royce Dodd, the tight end from Serra. Dodd was 6-4 and 210, but had a good body that you could easily see hold more weight, with a good, wide frame and solid legs. He moved well, and showed good pass-catching ability.

Among the other quarterbacks, Tyler Stewart from Chatworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon, and Marc Evans from Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure, were probably the next guys in line. Stewart had good size, and even though he doesn't have a pure throwing motion, the ball got where it was supposed to go most of the time. Evans doesn't have a great physique for a high-major QB, and just average arm strength, and he threw some wobblers, but he also made quick decisions, especially in the 7-on-7.

Kelly Hilinski, the 6-6 junior quarterback from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame, looks more like a basketball player, but he throws a pretty strong ball, even though his throwing motion will have to be refined. He's definitely someone to watch.

A d-lineman of note is Roosevelt Pearson, A defensive end from Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hills. Pearson looked to be about 6-4 and 225, and moved well.

Colin Prestestaer, an offensive line prospect from Glendora (Calif.) High, had a decent combination of size and mobility, being about 6-5.5, 280, and running fairly well for that size. Nico Siragusa, from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, had good size, looking to be about 6-5 and 300, and did decently in the line drills.

Kevin Shelton, the OL from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde, is interesting. He's probably 6-3 and 250, but showed very quick feet. In the 11-on-11, he was the left tackle because of his quickness and didn't allow a d-end around him.

Perhaps two to watch: Eduardo Middleton, the OL from Oceanside (Calif.) was 6-4 and 300, and DE/OL Corey Whitaker, from Vista (Calif.) Murrieta, who looked to be about 6-4 and 250.

Bryce Treggs, the wide receiver prospect from Bellflower St. John Bosco, was in attendance but didn't participate.


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