Inside Word from Cali-Florida

Here's the skuttlebutt going around at the Cali-Florida practice concerning the prospects UCLA is recruiting...

Winston Justice has intimated to a few people close to him something along the lines of: "You know where I'm going…" Many close to the Poly program believe that is UCLA. A source close to the family said that Justice's father has told a number of people that his son is going to UCLA.

Hershel Dennis is seriously considering UCLA, according to Marcedes Lewis and other Poly sources. Hershel told Marcedes that he is leaning to Washington and UCLA. Even though he's been mentioning USC, Washington and Oregon prominently, Marcedes said that Dennis likes UCLA now because of the chance to enroll early and participate in this spring's practice.

The uncle of Poly's Darnell Bing wore a USC hat to practice Sunday. Bing's family has USC ties and are pushing him to USC. It could be significant not only because Bing is a tremendous prospect, but he could influence his Poly teammates, Dennis and Justice. Also, Bing has become buddies with Aaron Miller during the Cali-Fla event. Miller, if you remember, is now considering USC pretty seriously.

Also, the word is that Manuel Wright, even though he talks about going away to school to Miami, will more than likely pick USC ultimately because of family. Both Bing and Wright, though, have to do quite a bit of work to be academically eligible.

Drew Olson looks very good in practice, throwing a nice, strong ball, and showing particular poise in the pocket. He doesn't have the size, athleticism and arm strength of Ben Olson, but Drew consistently had the best completions in practice Sunday, including a 40-yard TD strike where he stood in a collapsing pocket before throwing. A note: While you don't want to unduly criticize any high school player, from watching practice Sunday it would seem evident that Hart's Matt Moore is more deserving of being on the squad than Muir's Ryan O'Hara.

Kevin Harbour, UCLA's defensive line commitment, has achieved a qualifying SAT score, just shy of 1,000. But he'll take the test again to try to improve his score.

A few recruits said that the most impressive players at practice have been Marcedes Lewis on offense, and Fred Matua on defense. Matua definitely gets the award for most inspirational, if you want to call it that; Matua never stops rattling, talking trash, singing, joking with his teammates, etc.

Three different players commented that the recruits committed to Washington – Scott White and Albert Toeiana – have been recruiting for their respective school the hardest. Winston Justice said, "Yeah, those Washington guys keep saying, ‘Come to Washington, come to Washington.'"

Justice mixed it up pretty well with Sherman Oaks Notre Dame defensive lineman Tim Volk. After trading a few shoves and trash talking all day, the two traded blows and wrestled on the ground until players and coaches could separate them. Justice later sat out practice due to a strained shoulder and, of course, Fred Matua, gave him some grief for it.

Keith Jackson also sat out a majority of practice with a strained shoulder.

Antwuan Smith had the biggest hit of the day Sunday, putting a crunching block on a linebacker Scott White on the last play of practice.

UCLA coaches have told Marcedes Lewis that he should be prepared to be utilized greatly next year as a true freshman at UCLA. Bruin coaches have told Lewis they intend to use him as a slot receiver and as a wide out, in much the same way that Stanford uses Teyo Johnson. Also, the coaches have told Lewis that they also intend to try him out at defensive end, at least as a pass rush specialist.

Going on simultaneously with the California team practice was a quarterback workout organized by Air 7. Participating in the workout was Dennis Dixon, a prospect we originally saw in the Cali-Fla passing league last summer. Dixon, a junior from the same high school as Jarrad Page (San Leandro) is about 6-3, and is still pretty skinny, probably not more than 170 pounds. But he's a very impressive looking prospect. He has great quickness and great feet, and a very strong arm and quick release. The word is that he could be a UCLA target for in next year's recruiting class.

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