Prospect Evaluations: WRs

Luckily for UCLA, since it needs a crop of wide receivers, the west coast class is loaded -- with very good talent going at least ten deep into this list...

As opposed to the tailbacks, the wide receivers in this class are talented and very, very deep, which is great for UCLA because the Bruins need them. So, while some of these guys that are pretty good are getting ranked 6th-10th, that is more of a indication of how deep the class is rather than their talent.

1. Whitney Lewis, 6-1, 200, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. The only drawback to Lewis are his academics, but while that keeps UCLA from recruiting him, I don't think other programs will be deterred. Lewis has the best combination of size, speed, athleticism and catching ability in a very deep wide receiver class.

2. Steve Smith, 6-0, 185, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Lewis is probably the prospect that's separated from the rest of the pack. Smith is probably in that pack, but at the top of it, merely because of his accomplishments. He has put up astounding numbers, and he's a great athlete. He's not blazingly fast, and he's not that big, and when you merely eye ball him, he looks positively ordinary. But he's just one of those guys that has a knack for getting things done. He has pretty good moves, but has great hands, and, again, a great knack for going up and getting the ball. He also has better football speed than 40 speed, meaning that he looks faster on the football field in pads than he does running a 40.

3. Alex Ghebreselassie, 6-3, 185, Chula Vista (Calif.) Bonita Vista. Yeah, you can say this is a homer pick at #3, but I put in some long hours watching video of all these guys and it's a legit choice. Ghebreselassie is a lot like Smith, but bigger. He's got good speed, but he's not going to run a 4.3 40 (more like a 4.5). But he has the knack for catching the ball and getting in the endzone. He has excellent hands, runs very nice routes and is a very nice all-around athlete. He also has a great burst after catching the ball and nice moves. He plays safety in high school, too, and again, has a great knack for the ball.

4. Quintin Daniels, 6-0, 190, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Another guy whose talent as a wide receiver gives him a higher ranking than say his pure 40 speed. Daniels has great hands and great quickness, and has that knack, like Smith and Ghebreselassie, for finding a seam and exploding through it once he's caught the ball. He's also a very tough competitor and gets raves from his opponents.

5. Devin Stearns, 6-1, 190, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. He is right there in the pack with Ghebreselassie and Daniels. There isn't much distinguishing the three. Stearns, in fact, looks a lot like Daniels on film: quick, good moves and hands, and an explosive, long stride. Daniels might be a little quicker, but Stearns is a little bigger.

6. Sam DeSa, 5-10, 185, Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista. On tape, DeSa is probably the guy that explodes more than any other wide receiver on the list except for Noah Smith. He's got great football speed, and he's so small that he finds a hole and bursts through it and he's gone. Curiously, he doesn't have great moves. His M.O. is to run nice, precise routes, catch the ball, find a seam and then explode.

7. Noah Smith, 5-11, 185, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Many believe he might end up one of the best on this list, and it's mostly because of his speed. He's the fastest guy on this list, with sprinter-level speed and he shows it in person. He's still pretty raw in his route-running and pass-catching abilities, but he's a blur in the open field.

8. Mark Bradford, 6-2, 190, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fremont. He's similar to the Ghebreselassie/Daniels/Stearns group in size and style, but he doesn't have the quickness, speed or cutting ability of those three. He does, though, have the best vertical among them, and can go up and get the ball with the best of them. He has to leaern to play every down, even when the ball is away from him. Bradford shows some nice defensive instincts and hitting ability, and many believe he could make an excellent safety.

9. Charles Smith, 6-0, 180, San Diego (Calif.) Helix. Another guy in that same mold, with decent size and decent speed, Smith runs very well and smoothly and has very sure hands.

10. Joe Cowan, 6-4, 200, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Perhaps the most unusual guy on this list, Cowan has many great qualities and could end up one of the best among the prospects listed here. His style is different – he is big and long, and can get up and grab the ball from a defender very well. Also, when he has open field, he's surprisingly fast and gets upfield quickly. His pass-catching is pretty raw, as is his footwork, and he doesn't move laterally very well at his point, looking like he's still getting comfortable in his body.

11. Craig Chatman, 6-2, 180, Carson (Calif.) High. He plays on a primarily running team so he doesn't get the ball in his hands much. But when he does there is some talent there, with good speed and a good body.

12. Matt Slater, 6-1, 180, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. Once again, another in that mold of good size and good hands. Slater sometimes looks very good, with a nice burst upfield, but at other times looks very ordinary and not very quick. He has good size and a good body, and is the son of former L.A.Ram Jackie Slater.

13. Desmond Reed, 5-9, 175, Temple City (Calif.) High. Nice quickness, nice moves, but just very small. Not only is he pretty short but he's very thin. He looks like a cornerback physically. He's kind of a poor man's smaller version of Idris Moss.

14. Ruben Jackson, 5-11, 175, Stockton (Calif.) Edison. He catches the ball well, has some good, shifty moves, and gets it done. He doesn't have really explosive speed or quickness, but he has a nice knack for getting open and then getting yards after the catch.

15. Sam Cheatham, 5-11, 190, San Leandro (Calif.) High. He looks more like a running back than a wide receiver, with pretty thick legs. He runs just okay, and has okay speed, but shows some decent quickness and catches the ball well.

Haven't Seen:

Craig Chambers, 6-5, Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson
Duran Cooley, 6-0, 185, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral


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