Early Season 7-on-7 Standouts on Defense

Feb. 24 -- Over the last two weeks, Scout was in attendance at the B2G and Pylon 7v7 tournaments and saw several talented players. Here’s our breakdown of some of the top players we saw in attendance on the defensive side of the ball...

With so many teams in attendance at both the Pylon 7-on-7 and the B2G 7-on-7, we didn’t get a chance to see everyone in attendance. So, keep in mind that this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but rather a list of the best players we had a chance to watch. 


Elijah Gates, DB, Buena Park (Calif.)

Gates has established himself as one of the top defensive backs in the west region. He’s a shutdown corner who can play in press, is comfortable playing off and has the quickness, closing ability and instincts to play for just about any school in the country. He has also looked good playing wide receiver and has improved his speed and overall explosiveness since last season. Gates said UCLA is recruiting him hardest and he plans to visit Notre Dame and Oregon in the spring and possibly Nebraska as well. 


Quentin Lake, DB, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Lake is a big corner, pushing 6-2 but showed nice short area quickness, the ability to break and close on the ball and solid man on man cover skills. He’s advanced technique-wise, which isn't surprising as his father is former UCLA All-American and Pittsburgh Steelers pro-bowler Carnell Lake. The younger Lake has a safety frame but moves around well enough to play corner and can play at the high BCS level. Lake is still waiting for his first offer to roll in but he has Pac-12/Mountain West ability. 


Darren Hall, DB, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) 

Hall plays both corner and safety for a loaded Rancho secondary and has a lot of tools that translate well to college. He has a long, athletic frame, can really close well on the ball and shows good short area quickness as well. He’s going to get fill out and get bigger and stronger and when you combine his length and quickness, there’s definitely a nice upside there. HawaiiNevada and Utah have offered Hall. 


Rhedi Short, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral

Short is known more for his physical style of play and is one of the biggest hitters in the region, which you can't really show off too much in 7v7 play. He still looked comfortable in coverage, moves well in space and is bigger than we expected, looking all of the 6-foot-1 he's listed at with the frame to add plenty of weight. He brings an enforcer mentality to the field and is one of those players you never feel comfortable playing against. Short is a UCLA commit but said he would like to take some visits and mentioned California and Washington as likely destinations. 


Elijah Blades, DB, Pasadena (Calif.) Muir

Blades really looks the part of that long, athletic corner all colleges are looking for these days. He looks all of 6-foot-3, with long arms, moves well in space and can smother an opposing receiver. He can close on the ball and shows the speed to turn and run with opposing receivers. Fresno State and San Jose State have both offer. 


Josh Talbott, DB, Long Beach Poly (Calif.)

Talbot is a good looking safety with a solid frame and good overall athleticism. He’s a physical player, shows nice range and is always around the football. He loves to hit and you can tell he has to really back off his game on the 7v7 circuit. He’s poised for a big senior season and should get time on both sides of the ball. Talbott said Texas A&M and Washington State are the two schools on him hardest. 


Greg Johnson, Los Angeles (Calif.) Hawkins

Johnson is one of the best two-way players in the region and could play three positions in college. He plays mostly corner on the 7v7 circuit but is a tremendous talent at running back and has the frame that could even grow in to a safety. Corner is where his heart is and he has improved his flexibility and quickness in the last year. He’s a physical player who plays with advanced technique and has a nice edge to him. Johnson has 20+ offers from schools all over the country but said Arizona, Tennessee, UCLAUSC and Washington are on him hardest right now. 


Brandon McKinney, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) 

McKinney is a rangy free safety and just oozes upside. He has a college body right now, is very fluid in his movement, covers well and shows high level instincts. He’s a smart player with a high football IQ and just understands how to play the game. He’s a player who we feel should have double digit offers right now and has the talent to play for any school out west. ASU, UCLA and Washington have all offered and look like the teams to beat at this time. 


B.J. Ubani,  West Covina (Calif.)

Ubani is a kid who has very good film and showed up well in shorts and shirts as well. He has good size at 5-foot-11, long arms, plays physical and does a nice job playing the ball without having to clutch and grab. He can swing between corner and safety and is someone worth watching closely this spring. 


Jaiden Woodbey (’18), Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

Although just a sophomore, Woodbey looks like a college player right now. He has a prototype safety frame, long and athletic, plays with toughness and has plenty of physicality. With two more years to develop, look for Woodbey to have his choice of just about any school in the country when he’s a senior. Cal, Louisville and UCLA have all offered. 


Jaylin White San Diego (Calif.) Morse 

White is a sleeper corner prospect who jumped out to us. He’s a rare three-sport athlete with good cover skills and will battle with anyone. He’s quick, has very good feet and good body control. He shows up well on film on the offensive side of the ball and has some nice explosiveness to his game. 

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