Pylon Elite 7-on-7: Five Things to Watch

Feb. 27 -- Scout takes a look at five key things we'll be watching at the Pylon Elite 7-on-7 in Las Vegas...

With the Pylon Elite National 7v7 returning to Las Vegas for the eighth straight year, there will be a terrific contingent of players from the West, and nationally, in Vegas.

With so many of the top prospects from the West expected, Scout will have the chance to see a number of Scout 300 prospects at quarterback, receiver, tight end, linebacker and defensive back.

Here are five questions Scout will be looking to get answers to at the Pylon Elite National 7v7.

Who's the No. 1 Quarterback in the West?

Lake Stevens (Wash.) quarterback Jacob Eason is currently the No. 1 quarterback in the West and No. 2 nationally while Santa Margarita (Calif.) quarterback K.J. Costello is No. 2 in the West and No. 4 nationally.

But there really isn't a whole lot separating the two (other than Malik Henry, the former West Coast quarterback now in Florida, who's No. 3).

While Scout puts much more stock in game film and projecting to the next level, the 7v7 and camp circuit is a pretty helpful barometer in seeing the top passers.

And Eason and Costello figure to battle much of the year for the top nod. Eason had a better season statistically for Lake Stevens while Costello played a better schedule with better competition.

This weekend will give us a chance to see the two at the same place and potentially deep in the tournament, play each other, since both will be leading good squads, Costello having four four-star receivers on BBT Truth and Eason with FSP Elite, who won the NW Elite 7v7 Tournament last weekend.


Eason is the No. 1 quarterback in the West in 2016

And watch out for Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro quarterback Devon Modster, the four-star and Scout 300 passer who's looked good in early season 7v7 this spring and could be this year's Blake Barnett or Travis Waller in making a huge move in the offseason.

Who's the No. 1 Cornerback in the West?

A lot of people love to mock and trash 7 on 7 and say it's not real football and we'll be the first to say what you in pads matters most. Saying that, when trying to evaluate a corner, 7 on action might be the best environment to do it in.

Our top 5 rated corners will all be in attendance in Vegas and it will be a great chance to see who emerges as THE top guy following the event.

Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro's Byron Murphy is the top guy on our board right now and is an exceptional two-way talent. He's a long, athletic playmaker and shows up very well on film.

La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat's Trevon Sidney (Pictured Above) is our No. 2 guy but might be an even better receiver and we've heard that's his preference as well. He has great feet and ball skills, is very quick and is always around the ball.

Pittsburg's (Calif.) Jordan Parker is one of the fastest rising corners in the region. His stock is on fire among college coaches and the more we watch him, the more we like him as well.

Etiwanda's (Calif.) Treyjohn Butler isn't as long as some of the other corners out west but might be the fastest player in this group. He's a standout on the track but he's a football player first and always competes at a high level.

Bellevue's (Wash.) Isaiah Gilchrist plays for one of the nation's premier programs and he's the top player on that team. He has impressed in 7 on 7 action already this winter and another strong showing in Vegas should move him up the national board in a big way.

Who's the next Marcus Mariota?

No, we're not asking to find the next Heisman Trophy Winner (though, if he's in Vegas this weekend, it will make for a great story in the future).

But who is the guy who no one knew about going into his senior year because he had to wait his turn to be the starter, had to sit out his junior year with an injury or because of transfer, or just came from an area no one really knew of?

Mariota attended the 2010 event in Las Vegas with Team 808, his first real big national event, and looked the part when throwing the ball, but being the runner that he was in college, 7v7 negated that aspect. Still, you could see some of the flashes that would make him a pretty successful college quarterback.

Last year, Upland (Calif.) linebacker Josh Woods was that guy, having to sit out his junior season after transferring to Upland from Victor Valley and then putting himself on the map in Vegas, the first of many big camp performances that had him racking up offers in the spring and summer despite having no junior film (and to those skeptics who say camps and 7v7 don't help with offers...Josh Woods says hi).

Who will be the risers this year who use the Pylon 7v7 as their launching point? With nearly 100 teams, there will certainly be some one who does the same, and validates the camp circuit as a big time boon for their recruitment, when there is no game film to really help them.

Who's the next Trent Irwin, Iman Marshall or Josh Rosen?

All three were in the Scout 100, all three were All-Americans and all three are headed to the Pac-12.

But all three also came to the event as 8th graders (Irwin/Rosen) or freshman (Marshall), and made the all-underclass team, giving themselves plenty of early attention and the rest is history.

Rosen and Irwin, as 8th graders in 2011, both had very good performances, as did Tyler Hilinski. Irwin helped B2G win their second straight title that year while Rosen showed off the strong arm then that he possesses now. Hilinski was overshadowed a bit by his brother, Kelly, who was on the same team that year, but enough to show he'd be a guy in the future.

Marshall started on a loaded B2G team that featured three All-Americans in the same secondary in Chris Hawkins, Priest Willis and Tahaan Goodman, and may have been the best DB on their team that weekend, despite being two years younger than most of his squad.

So who are some of the freshman candidates in the 2018 class, that are ready to launch themselves as names, despite their youth?

Bothell (Wash.) quarterback Jacob Sirmon is one. The 2018 passer is a good-sized passer with a really strong arm, with a strong football lineage (his father played at Montana and his uncle, Peter Sirmon, is a former Oregon linebacker who's now the linebackers coach at USC). Sirmon saw significant time this fall for the Cougars as the backup to Elite 11 quarterback Ross Bowers (Cal) in their run to the WIAA 4A state title. Next year, the offense is his. But this spring, Sirmon is getting plenty of action and will be a name to remember.

Paramount (Calif.) receiver/corner Eric Fuller is a 2018 prospect who started as a freshman for Paramount and while he's not the biggest player, he's a pretty electric prospect with three more years of prep football to grow and he can play on either side of the ball.

Who will be the best receiver in Vegas?

We've called this, 'The Year of the WR' out West so of course we can't wrap up a preview without looking at some of talented pass catches we'll see.

Only two of our top five WRs in the region will be in attendance but the position is so deep, it still looks like a loaded group, headlined by our No. 1 rated guy right now, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat's Tyler Vaughns.

Vaughns really blew up last last spring and summer and then had a solid year on the field. His hands, smooth route running and body control are all exceptional and you can expect at least a few highlight reel grabs from him this weekend.

Vaughns' BBT teammate Dylan Crawford, a recent transfer to Santa Margarita (Calif.) had an exceptional spring last year as well. He has a solid frame, runs much better than given credit for and is one of the more natural pass catches in the region.

Long Beach Poly's (Calif.) Jack Jones is an electric play maker and among the most explosive players in the region. He's the guy you can put in the slot, throw a little hitch too or quick slant to and watch him juke a couple of guys and take it to the house.

Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West's Darian Owens was our top WR at last year's NorCal NIKE Camp and he could really rise up the charts this weekend. We know Owens is a highly competitive kid and badly wants to prove he's the top WR in the West. He has all the physical tools in the world and could put on a show this weekend.

Another player we're very excited to see is Chandler (Ariz.) four-star N'Keal Harry. We love big receivers who can run and that's definitely Harry's game. He's all of 6-3, can get down the field and has tremendous upside.

A few other players we expect to shine who will battle for top WR honors include Fontana (Calif.) Summit's Damian Alloway, San Diego (Calif.) Mira Mesa's Steffon McKnight, Los Angeles (Calif) Loyola's David Long, Upland's (Calif.) Grant Porter and Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis' Drew Kobayashi. That's just naming a few, this position is so loaded, we could name another 10 players easy who we know will have big tournaments.

For all the latest news and notes from the Pylon Elite 7v7 National Tournament, check out Scout's complete 2015 Pylon Elite 7v7 Tournament Coverage.


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