Day 1 Observations:
Novato (Calif.) San Marin quarterback Manny Wilkins generally looked pretty good, playing with Fresno (Calif.) Central receiver Michiah Quick. He hit one really pretty 35 yeard throw down the sideline to Quick. He's got a good release, and physically, he looks great at about 6'3 and lean. He's still a bit raw on the finer points of the position, and just based off the limited observation from today, he'll have some work to do on his footwork. He launched a few balls way beyond the end zone in his final game, but it's easy to see that there's a ton of upside there. He still has no offers, but it's a good bet that he'll start to garner quite a few over the next few months.
Quick played both receiver and defensive back, and played well at both spots. He might have even looked better at DB, able to stay with any receiver and showing great instincts on when to break on the ball. At receiver, he has good hands and ability to get separation. One concern is that he's got a bit of an attitude on the field, to the point where the refs flagged him for talking so much trash to them and the opposing team. Other than that, though, there's very little to dislike about his game.
Westlake (Calif.) Oaks Christian running back/defensive back D.J. Riggins played on both ends for his team, but primarily at receiver. He told us that he was actually at UCLA's Junior Day a few weeks ago and that the coaches have been talking with him extensively. He doesn't have an offer yet, but expects to camp at UCLA this year. He's extremely quick, and was a very tough cover for every DB he went up against. He's a bit undersized, and I'm not sure how he'd do at running back, but he looks like a good candidate for slot receiver.
South Jordan (Utah) Bingham tight end Dalton Schultz was probably the most dominant player of the day for any team. He caught everything thrown his way when I was watching, and was able to get separation well. For a big guy (about 6'6, 230), he moves extremely well. He's sporting a 3.9 GPA, and claims Zach Ertz as his hero, so you'd have to guess Stanford has the inside track here despite a UCLA offer this week, but he's a great prospect.
A guy who UCLA isn't currently on too hard is receiver Tyler Whiley from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chapparal, and he was very good as well, with good size, long arms, and great hands. He's a long 6'1, and he's good sized, looking like he's an easy 190, 195.
Gardena (Calif.) Serra linebacker Dwight Williams looked fine, but this isn't really his element, playing in shorts and t-shirts. He moves really well though, and actually stayed with some receivers throughout the day.
Other quick evals: QB Brandon Dawkins looks the part physically, but has a long, loopy delivery that doesn't get the ball where it needs to go on time. QB Jalen Greene is better, but also has a bit of a long motion.
Day 2 Observations:
Novato (Calif.) San Marin quarterback Manny Wilkins again had a fairly nice day, which was especially impressive considering how windy it was. He had a few balls sail on him, but for the most part, he was on the money. His mid range throws were probably his best, hitting the sidelines fairly well and showing better velocity to that area. Having Fresno (Calif.) Central receiver Michiah Quick on his team certainly helped, but Wilkins was arguably the best quarterback in the entire competition.
Quick made more plays on the offensive side of the ball today, catching three touchdown passes in a single game from Wilkins, and also looked very good defensively. He can run stride for stride with anyone, and gets to full speed quickly. He talked much less trash than yesterday, so you might be able to chalk his antics yesterday up to the Vegas heat.
The other contender for best quarterback of the day was probably West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade quarterback Brad Kaaya. Kaaya, who was playing on a team that included Westlake (Calif.) Oaks Christian running back D.J. Riggins and West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade receiver Donovan Lee, looks the part, with a big frame at about 6'4 and a powerful arm. He made a couple of really beautiful deep throws in the final game for his team, despite wearing what looked like a pretty bulky knee brace on his left leg. His decision making could use some work, though. Kaaya likes UCLA, but so far he hasn't gotten a tremendous amount of interest.
Riggins, once again, made a lot of plays out of the slot for his team. He and Lee both showed great quickness playing in the slot and, when Kaaya could hit them, were fairly uncoverable. Riggins isn't tall, but he's got decently long arms and a nice vertical, which allows him to go up and get balls even when he's in fairly tight coverage. Riggins' cousin is UCLA freshman Ishmael Adams. Again, it's impossible to evaluate him as a running back in this sort of environment, but he looks like he'd be a good fit for the F receiver role in UCLA's offense.
La Mirada (Calif.) tight end Tyler Luatua had a much better day on Sunday after looking pretty pedestrian on Saturday. This isn't a great environment for him since he's a really big, physical type of tight end. He did a much better job of catching the ball on Sunday, and looked a bit better running. He's not a super fluid runner, though. By comparison, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham tight end Dalton Schultz once again looked dominant, with an easy gait, great hands, and the ability to get open.
Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan safety Adam Soesman says that UCLA has started talking to him, and he shined on Sunday. He's a very big safety, at about 6'2, 190, but runs really well and has great instincts. He picked off a couple of passes where he made a read before the the ball was thrown and then used his good vertical to pick the ball off. He looks like he'd be a linebacker at UCLA, though, with a frame to add more weight and broad shoulders.
Both Upland (Calif.) receiver Jeff Farrar and Diamond Bar (Calif.) receiver Cordell Broadus had their teams kicked out after an ugly brawl escalated from two players to what looked like a scrum that included coaches and parents. Before that, Farrar looked good, playing on both sides of the ball. He caught two touchdown passes that I saw, but he looked a bit better at safety. Broadus looks the part, with a big frame and long arms, but didn't do much that I saw, having trouble getting separation.
The team that included Gardena (Calif.) Serra linebacker Dwight Williams, his Serra teammate and quarterback Jalen Greene, and Westlake (Calif.) Oaks Christian quarterback Brandon Dawkins was eliminated in the second game on Sunday. Williams again did fairly well for a linebacker in this environment. He runs really well sideline to sideline.
UCLA Notes From the NLA 7 on 7
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