The offensive line class isn't nearly as loaded as it was a year ago, but there is still some talent at the position out West in the 2013 class, and that was on display on Sunday at the SoCal NFTC.
Yet it was a 2014 prospect who snagged the attention. Corona (Calif.) Centennial lineman Viane Talamaivoa first caught our attention last summer at the UCLA Lineman Camp, when he was coming off his freshman year, and he continues to improve, earning MVP honors on Sunday for the lineman. Talamaivoa showed a good deal of energy and nasty and was the best linemen there and deserved the MVP honors.
From the 2013 class, two Scout 300 prospects showed why they're so highly thought of in a pair of Trinity League rivals, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco tackle Nico Falah and Orange (Calif.) Lutheran guard John Lopez.
Falah was probably the top 2013 lineman there with Lopez a close second. Falah is still a little on the thinner side for a tackle, but has a nice frame and is really athletic and long and should be able to add plenty of weight to his body. He was strong in the 1on1s.
Lopez on the other hand continues to redefine his body and looked the best physically we've seen him in a couple of years and with that, looked more agile than he's ever looked. Lopez also played with plenty of a mean streak during the 1on1s.
The theme on the day outside of the top three guys was again the depth of Orange County lineman.
Fountain Valley (Calif.) lineman J.D. Hinnant had a good day as did San Clemente (Calif.) lineman Sean Harlow, but probably the biggest revelation was Alex Redmond from Los Alamitos (Calif.). Redmond made a case for the top 2013 linemen there and showed good strength and footwork and looked very good in pass-blocking drills. While he doesn't have any offers, we don't expect that to be the case for much longer.
Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde tackle Poasi Moala, Santa Margarita (Calif.) center Dane Crane, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran guard Colin Sutton and Paramount (Calif.) tackle Chris Borrayo also showed flashes on the day.DEFENSIVE LINE
With the defensive line group at the SoCal NFTC, there were two players that stood out amongst the rest in Upland (Calif.) defensive end Joe Mathis and Pickerington (Ohio) Central defensive end Taco Charlton.
Mathis walked away with MVP honors, Charlton walked away with plenty of respect from the West Coast offensive linemen who took on the unenviable task of blocking him.
The week before, Mathis played linebacker at the NLA Elite 7on7, but was back with his hand down at his more natural defensive end position, and almost from the get-go, showed why he's a top 10 pass-rusher nationally.
Mathis played end on both sides and did some defensive tackle too, and outside of one stonewall, dominated in the 1-on-1s.
Charlton was much the same, setting the tone on the first 1-on-1, by blowing by the tackle without being touched. He too only lost 1-on-1, and won every other.
Another out-of-stater, Las Vegas (Nev.) Arbor View's Elijah George, looked really agile and was nearly unblockable in the 1-on-1s.
Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial lineman Jaylen Ruiz looked good in the drills and worked primarily as a tackle, moving away from his more familiar end position.
Lompoc (Calif.) defensive lineman Ainuu Taua was the top underclass performer at the NFTC and the 2014 prospect is definitely one to watch in the future.
National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins contributed to this report.