Overall 450 kids were reregistered for the Addias Football camp that took place on UCLA's Spaulding Field, and a handful of Arizona prospects clearly stood out as the best of the bunch.
There were many college coaches from throughout the country from schools such as LSU, Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Washington, to name a few, and with the staffs of UCLA and USC both very well represented with multiple coaches. This event was a little harder to scout, as there was no testing taking place as per the new NCAA regulations (testing can't be conducted on a college campus).
The event was broken into three parts: agility drills, second individual position drills and lastly one-on-one drills.
The morning started off with a greeting from the staff who ran the combine and also a brief presentation from former Bruin Tim Wrightma,n who is now a recruiting analyst and educational speaker with the National Collegiate Scouting Association. Wrightman broke the ice with the crowd by telling the story of his recruitment. He stated that during his senior year he had narrowed it down to the two local schools, UCLA and his mother's favorite, USC. He said that his mom was such a big USC fan that when John Robinson visited his home she baked for him and was convinced he was the smartest guy in the world and that he should attend USC. After the Robinson visit Terry Donahue came to his home and, in preparation, his mom bought a doorbell ringer that played the USC fight song. When Terry came to the door, he rang the doorbell, and when Tim got up to open the door his mom ordered him to sit down to let Terry hear the fight song at least three times. As it turned out, Tim chose UCLA because of the education and the chance to play early, which was important to him. After choosing UCLA he said his mother was very upset with him and told him that she had worked three jobs to send him to private school, yet he was choosing a public college. The moral of the whole story, he said, was, while it is nice to have supportive parents, he wanted to remind parents that the recruiting process should be more about their kids' preference, not their own.
Covaughn Deboskie, the elite running back from Hamilton High in Arizona, after winning MVP honors at the Scout.com Combine a couple of weeks ago, once again was the top overall prospect in attendance. On the defensive of side of the ball, the top prospect was linebacker Kurt Mangum from Basha High in Arizona.
Here is a recap of the day.
While observing the QBs, what caught my eye was, although there was around 40 QBs in attendance, the position was really lacking in star quality. I heard from one parent that many of the top kids were not attending since the camp was held at UCLA and UCLA took a commitment from Huntington Beach Edison's Nick Crissman, and there was no real point of showing up.
However, one top QB recruit who did show up and performed extremely well was Matt Scott from Corona Centennial. Scott, who looked to be about 6-2 and 190, was easily the best quarterback in attendance and showed that he could be of the top quarterbacks in the entire west region.
Even in a camp atmosphere what stands out about Scott is his presence. He just looks like a leader out there. Scott also throws a really tight ball and showed great touch on his throws throughout the day. Scott had been flying a little under the radar prior to camps, as Centennial is primarily a run-oriented offense with star tailback Ryan Bass doing most of the damage for the Centennial offense. In individual drills, Scott throw the best ball and in one-on-one drills he showed that great touch by perfectly lofting the ball over the linebackers on more than one occasion to the tight end for touchdowns. Again, although Scott plays for a run-oriented offense, he looks extremely well polished, possessing excellent footwork and a good throwing motion.
Other standouts included B.R. Holbrook from Newhall (Calif.) Hart and Derek White from Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake. Holbrook looks to extend the legacy of Hart quarterbacks. He looked like he could add some weight, but he had a strong arm and threw the deep ball effortlessly. Witte also looked good throwing the ball. One intriguing prospect was Graham Wilbert from Valencia (Calif.) High, a big kid who struggled with his footwork and long throwing motion but definitely had one of the stronger arms in attendance.
The top running back was again Covaughn Deboskie, who was as good as advertised, showing a good combination of size, speed, and quickness. In the agility drills. he clearly had some of the quickest feet of all the kids at the camp. In one-on-one drills he often would put a move on a defender either before or after catching the ball that would leave the defender in his tracks. The only time Deboskie was stopped in the one-on-one drills wsa when he beat a defender so bad that the kid clothes-lined him in an attempt to at least get a hand on him.
The other two running backs that stood out were D.J. Iverson from Corona (Calif.) Santiago, and Jerell Thomas from Oxnard (Calif.) Rio Mesa. Coincidentally, while both these players worked out with the running backs at the camp they may be better suited as DBs at the next level. In the first session of agility drills Iverson was in a group with UCLA-committed cornerback Anthony Dye and Deboskie, among others, and he clearly had the best feet of the group and possibly in the entire camp. Iverson, a smaller scat-back type of running back, had to sit out for a bit due to a groin injury, but returned and finished off strong.
Jerell Thomas is the brother of USC cornerback Kevin Thomas who was in attendance, cheering on his brother. Unlike Kevin, who is a lanky athlete, Jerell possesses more of a compact body. Thomas showed good quickness in the one-on-one drills and won every rep I witnessed against the defender. Again, although Thomas worked out with the running backs, he did not seem to possess the size for the position at the next level and it would have been nice to see him work at defensive back.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT ENDS
The Wide Receiver position lacked some of the big-nameD kids in the region and because of the amount of kids reps were limited.
An interesting prospect who showed good quickness and excellent hands was Caleve Deboskie, the younger brother of Covaughn. Caleve showed that he definitely is a prospect in the class of 2009 to keep an eye on. He's about an inch or two shorter than his brother and with a skinnier build but he has two more years of football to fill out. The younger Deboskie stated that he is getting letters from colleges right now but stated that where his brother goes to school will have a big impact on him, wanting to follow his brother as almost a package deal. Because Hamilton High is a powe house in Arizona and last year's varsity had two upperclassmen starters at wide receiver, Caleve spent the majority of his sophomore year on the junior varsity, where he showed he was a big-play artist, catching 18 passes for around 900 yards and 12 touchdowns. Caleve told me that he recently had run a 4.6 (electronic time).
Another prospect that stood out was Elijah Orosco from Bishop Garcia Diego High. Orosco was a real physical specimen who possessed good quickness and burst. However, because of his size he seemed suited better for strong safety in college. Another receiver that was noticeable in the agility portion of the drills was Spenser Britton from Brookside Christian High. In the individual portion of the WR drills, Britton showed that he not only had good feet but excellent hands and ran good routes. Apparently, Britton is a top student who is getting attention from Stanford and several Ivy League schools. Two other prospects that did well were Saron Hood from the Bishop's School in La Jolla and Charles McCall from Los Osos High.
The tight ends were tough to keep an eye on, working out on the far side of the field, which made it difficult to evaluate them thoroughly. One kid who did stand out in the one-on-one drills was Tyler Cottrell from Stockdale High. Cottrell is a very big kid, 6-5 or so, who possessed soft hands for a big kid and made several catches against the linebackers. I overheard the linebackers talking to each other about Cottrell, admitting he was a tough match-up because of his size. Another tight end that I didn't get a chance to evaluate who attended was Levine Toilolo from San Diego Helix, considered one of the top overall prospects in the class of 2009 in Southern California.
Overall, both the offensive and defensive line groups really lacked top prospects. I talked to one college coach who stated that no offense linemen at the camp was worthy of a Div. 1 offer at this time.
The top prospect I saw, because he seemed to possess the only real size to play at the next level, was Trevor Richter from El Segundo High. Richter was the top overall line prospect, with good quickness for a bid kid to go along with a good frame that could easily carry an additional 25 pounds. Trevor's pass-blocking technique needed work but he was eager to compete as he constantly was jumping in line to get reps. In fact, Richter had so many battles that, by the end of the day, his shirt had been completely ripped by the defensive linemen. A side note: a college coach told me when I got to the drills that you could easily tell the kids who wanted to compete and get better by whether their numbers and shirts had been torn off (which, incidentally this made identifying prospects that much harder).
Another kid who surprised, faring well in the one-on-one drills and even got the best of UCLA commit defensive end Datone Jones in one battle was Kyle McManus from Redondo Union High. It was surprising since McManus is a heavy-set kid, to put it kindly, however he probably had the best pass-blocking technique and never lost a one-on-one battle against any defensive lineman. Another prospect that showed promise was a kid named Daniel Lincoln who walked up to the event and his high school was not listed for the media, however a coach at the event told me he was a 2009 prospect. Lincoln was a tall kid that needs to add weight for the position but he definitely possessed the quickness to play tackle at the next level.
Again, the defensive line group did not possess much star quality. The top prospect easily was UCLA commit Datone Jones from Compton High. It was a bit surprising that Jones was even participating, since he wasn't expected to participate, but just showed up with Craig Noble from Woodland Hills Taft to watch the event. However, seeing the rest of the kids competing must have been too hard for Jones just to watch. What first stands out about Jones is that he is a legit 6-4, if not a little taller. He showed an array of pass-rushing moves, as he would use his first step to blow by an offensive lineman's outside shoulder on one rep and then follow that up by beating the next offensive lineman with a quick inside move. Jones will need to improve his strength, naturally, as you could see that a good forward punch from an offensive lineman would momentarily stop his momentum.
The same college coach that said there wasn't a offensive line prospect worthy of a D-1 offer, told me that Datone Jones was the only prospect that participated worthy of an offer among the defensive linemen. However, a prospect that has a chance to play at the next level is Dominique Austin from La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. Austin will have to add size to play defensive end at the next level but he showed great energy throughout the drills. He had a nice speed rush but, unlike Jones, he did not show a variety of moves.
Lastly, a prospect to keep an eye on was Mitchell Abraham, the brother of current UCLA offensive lineman Brian Abraham. Mitchell is a tall, lanky kid who probably weighs 235 pounds, similar to his brother in high school who was also thinnish (but who now weighs 300 pounds). The younger Abraham fared very well in the pass rush drills, with a good first step, and he beat a couple of linemen with a good swim move. Abrahaml is another prospect that might have benefited from practing at another position, such as tight end.
The one defensive lineman in attendance that I really wanted to see again was Craig Noble, but he didn't participate. I was able to speak to him and a story will follow.
The linebacker position, although not deep in numbers, had a couple of real standouts.
The top linebacker and top defensive player overall was Kurt Mangum from Basha in Arizona. When I arrived in the morning I noticed Mangum immediately because he physically is a beast for a high school kid. While watching him in the agility drills he had the feet of a running back on a 230-pound frame. Although a physical kid like Mangum cannot fully play to his strength at this type of combine he more than held his own in the one-on-one drills. Every time he matched up against a running back on a pass route he would shut them down physically and would not allow them to get into their pass route. To show his versatility, when Kurt went up against the tight ends, he showed that he could turn his hips and easily run with them. He showed his athleticism on one rep where he stayed with the tight end down the field and at the last minute jumped to tip away a potential catch for the tight end.
Another prospect that was similar to Mangum in terms of his physical play physical was Chris Mantas from Murrieta Valley High. Mantas is a true middle linebacker prospect at the next level who was also very well put together. He also had his way with the running backs and seemed to really enjoy beating up on them. The other top prospect was William Jackson from Eastview Apple Valley in Minnesota. Jackson, although not as physical as Mangum and Jackson, showed well in the agility drills and in pass coverage, as he also plays running back on his high school team.
The defensive backs were highlighted by UCLA commit Anthony Dye from Corona Santiago, and Quinn Evans from Basha High in Arizona. Dye has been a combine warrior this spring, standing out at all three big So Cal combines, showing that he definitely is not scared to compete against anyone. What first catches your eye about Dye is that, unlike many high school DBs in the spring before their senior years, he is very well put together. Throughout the day Dye showed that he is also very well-coached at the high school level, as he is so much more polished than your average high school corner. He has very strong hands and exceptional hips that enable him to never lose separation from the WR, not losing speed when he turns his hips.
Quinn Evans was one of the top three defensive players at the camp. It's going to be a long year for Basha opponents with Mangum and Evans leading the defense. Evans is exceptionally quick with great cover skills and I was very impressed with him in pass coverage, possibly being the best cover corner at the camp. Not as well built as Dye, Evans still was very phusical against the good-sized receivers, being able to jam them and not let them off the line.
Other defensive backs of note were Jonathan Warzeka from Temescal Canyon High and Miles Shelton from Montclair.
Writer's Note: This is by no means a comprehensive list of prospects from the camp, as I gained a great respect for Tracy, Brandon, and the rest of the Scout.com staff in the job they do in covering such combines. This was the first combine write-up I've done and it was an incredibly tough assignment.