Scout on the Town -- West Recap

How did UCLA-committed running back Craig Lee look Friday night? Uncommitted tight end Thomas Duarte, a bit UCLA target, had a big game on both sides of the ball. All of this and more from the west coast...

Brandon Huffman, National Recruiting Analyst
Redlands (Calif.) vs. Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos
Craig Lee (Redlands, Calif.), is the No. 2 running back in California, and looked like it, with a workmanlike game where he carried the ball 26 times for 184 yards, including 48 yards on five carries on the decisive drive that put Redlands ahead. As the game went on, Lee, a UCLA commit, got stronger, peeling off 8-9 yard runs, and wearing down the Los Osos defense.

Walter Jones (Redlands, Calif.), had a trifecta night, intercepting a pass, recording a sack on a cornerback blitz and catching a touchdown pass on a halfback throw. The sack set up offensive drive for Jones' reception. Jones plays corner and receiver, but could grow into a safety in college. He looks noticeably bigger since when we saw him in the spring.

Victor Bolden (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Los Osos), is one of the fastest players in the West, but the offense didn't do a good job using his game-breaking skills. Some of that was due to the coverage Redlands slapped on him, but there were times he was wide open and no look would go his way. Los Osos ran some Wildcat in the fourth quarter, and Bolden quickly picked up 30+ yards on three plays, then they inexplicably went away from it and the offense stunted. The Oregon State verbal also played defense and had a big hit on a Redlands receiver that knocked a sure reception and first down into an incompletion.

Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian vs. Covina (Calif.) Workman
Jermaine Kelly (Los Angeles, Calif./Salesian), did it all for the Mustangs, only to see penalties damper what would have been an impressive stat line. Kelly had an interception, where he went up the ladder to grab the ball at its highest point, to set up an early scoring drive. He had a 41-yard touchdown reception called back because of a procedure penalty on the running back, and had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown called back because of a block in the back. The UCLA commit, had a couple of other pass breakups, and around 50 yards receiving.

Jihad Vercher (Los Angeles, Calif./Salesian), is a guy we've been high on all spring and summer, and he showed just why, rushing for over 100 yards and three touchdowns and throwing two more, racking up nearly 400 yards in total offense. Vercher, who got an offer from Army last week, showed great poise in the pocket and good decision making, his lone interception coming off a deflected pass by his receiver.

Kevin Carden, West Recruiting Analyst
Bakersfield (Calif.) Stockdale vs Inglewood (Calif.)
Stockdale running backs Deon Martin and Anthony Wood dominated the action with several long gains in their 54-14 victory over Inglewood on Friday. Martin, who is looking at a handful of Pac-12 schools as well as San Diego State, had a 35-yard touchdown run and showed a good combination of speed and power. 2014 running back Anthony Wood was the most productive player on the night, scoring three touchdowns and added a handful of 25-plus yard gains. If Wood continues to preform at a high level he will see his recruitment heat up in the near future.

Scott Kennedy, Director of Scouting
Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian vs Venice (Calif.)
Friday's Oaks Christian/Venice game turned into the Francis Owusu show. The Stanford commit showed off his versatility with a 95 yard interception return for a touchdown and later added three touchdown receptions. Owusu is a big (6-2/190), physical receiver with strong hands. He is sneaky fast in that he never looks like he's running very hard, but he's almost always pulling away from those giving chase. Owusu, not surprisingly given is academic achievements, is a smart player on the field as well, whether it's finding the holes in zone coverage or anticipating throws while he's playing defensive back. Greg Biggins, National Recruiting Analyst
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly vs Harbor City (Colo.) Narbonne
Poly running back Gerard Wicks has some impressive tools but didn't have much of a chance to get going on this night. He attacks the line of scrimmage and is a physical runner. He shows good speed and quickness and runs very hard between the tackles. Poly got behind early and had to abandon the running game and Wicks was never able to show what he can do. He did have a couple of nice kickoff returns where he came very close to breaking it the distance and has some definite upside to him.

Poly defensive back Iman Marshall is just a sophomore but already has a very mature body. He could play corner or safety in college but played corner on this night. Marshall has excellent football instincts and plays with a lot of confidence. He's very physical and loves to play in press coverage. He was rarely tested but when he was, showed good speed and cover skills. With his size and aggression, Marshall is very good in run support and is definitely an elite, high major prospect.

Narbonne quarterback Troy Williams was efficient and did more damage on the ground than through the air. He only had to throw 14 times but completed 11 of them for a touchdown while rushing for three more scores. Very few quarterbacks anywhere throw a prettier ball than Williams. He can spin it as good as anyone, is very accurate and has plus arm strength. He shows very good escapability and continues to improve by leaps and bounds every year. The more you see him, the higher his upside seems to grow.

Narbonne linebacker Keishawn Bierria had a big game and is a very good looking prospect. He has put on 15 pounds since last year and says he's now a solid 215 pounds on a 6-1 frame. He's very athletic, hits like a truck and can play the run or pass equally well. He runs very well to the football and plays with an edge to him. Bierria had a couple of chances to pick off passes off and dropped them but that was about the only thing the athlete did wrong Friday night.

Narbonne defensive tackle Paulo Lepua is one of the most intriguing linemen in the state. At 6-2, 260 pounds, Lepua is extremely quick and athletic and dominated the Poly offensive line. He shows great strength getting up the field but his closing speed was what really stood out. He was constantly in the backfield putting pressure on the quarterback and was just far too explosive for any of the Jackrabbit linemen to handle. He has a great frame and could easily pack on another 25-30 pounds without a problem.

Narbonne receiver A.J. Richardson scored on a 20 yard post early in the game and also had a couple of big returns in the kicking game. Richardson has excellent size for a receiver. He's very strong and has as good a pair of hands as you'll see at the H.S. level. He's not a burner, but does run well enough and is already an advanced route runner. He's a tough player who isn't afraid to go over the middle and is a very good blocker as well.

Annabel Stephan, West Field Reporter
Santa Ana (Calif.) Carson vs Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Though Carson put up a good fight in the first half, Mater Dei star prospect Thomas Duarte and the Monarchs took charge on the field, ending with a 48-13 victory. Duarte (who has offers that include Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington, Utah, UCLA, Oregon State, California, Colorado, and Arizona State) shined on both sides of the ball, but says he thinks he'll end up playing a wide receiver/tight end hybrid in college. Duarte had two touchdowns on Friday night (22 yards and 53 yards) in the third quarter, and a couple of big hits at linebacker. He would have had a third defensive touchdown (interception and 89 yard return), but it was called back for holding. After the game, Duarte said he will definitely be taking his official visits, but doesn't have a clear cut favorite right now and is more focused on the season than he is on recruiting.

2014 receiver and defensive back Jonathan Lockett (Mater Dei) is a prospect to keep an eye on. Lockett, who camped at UCLA and USC over the summer, was the surprise of the game. In the first half of the game, Lockett had two passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, but covered well at corner and had a few big tackles. He isn't thinking about college quite yet, but if he continues to play like he did Friday night, he should expect some early offers during his junior season.

Jason Jewell, Southwest Recruiting Analyst
Phoenix (Ariz.) Paradise Valley v. Peoria (Ariz.) Liberty
If you like quarterback play, this was the game to be at as two of Arizona's top QB prospects faced off. Tyler Rogers and his Liberty team had a strong second half to break a 24-24 halftime tie and beat Boise State commit Ryan Finley and his Paradise Valley teammates 65-31.

Both players were extremely sharp early on, picking apart the defenses. Rogers is a bit bigger, standing about 6 foot 3 and 195 pounds while Finley is 6 foot 3, 180. I am very surprised that Rogers only has offers from South Dakota State and Air Force. He has the arm strength to make all of the throws, throws a very nice ball, is accurate and while he is not necessarily a dual-threat quarterback, he is mobile enough to make plays when the pocket collapses, as evidenced by his 31 yard TD run. Rogers finished the night with 277 passing yards and two touchdowns, to go along with his rushing score.

Boise State head coach Chris Peterson was on hand to see his future signal-caller throw live and while Ryan threw three interceptions, he did not disappoint. He too throws a nice ball with plenty of zip. He runs a no-huddle offense and is given the freedom to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Finley has plenty of arm strength, plays mainly out of the shotgun, and has a frame to be a big kid.

Glendale (Ariz.) Apollo v. Glendale (Ariz.) Ironwood
Got the chance to see two quality offensive line prospects in this game. Senior Elijah Cox from Ironwood and junior Jon Sekona from Apollo are both division-one caliber players despite the fact that neither have a FBS offer currently.

Cox has an offer from Northern Colorado but I fully expect him to land FBS offers when his senior film circulates. The 6 foot 5, 300 pound Cox plays left tackle now but probably will be a guard at the next level. He has worked extremely hard and lost over 100 pounds since his freshman season. When Cox wants to, he can dominate, he just needs to be more consistent. He shows flashes of big time ability. He is very athletic and runs well. I would like to see him work on his pass pro technique.

Sekona also plays left tackle but at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds he will certainly be a guard at the next level. He is thick, strong and plays with a good base. Sekona is a finisher, gets to the second level and has his best football in front of him.

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