Prospects at 7-on-7 Tourney

There were a very good collection of big-named prospects at the Nike Passing League Championships Friday at Veterans' Stadium. Here's our evaluations of a number of UCLA-committed players, prospects, and guys committed to other schools...

There were a good number of UCLA prospects at the Nike 7-on-7 Passing Championships Friday at Long Beach State's Veteran's Stadium, as well as many other interesting prospects.

Encino Crespi:

Kevin Prince, 6-3, 195, QB. Prince was impressive, probably having the best pure throwing motion of any quarterback participating, and that's saying quite a bit, given the high-profile quarterback prospects that were there (Nick Crissman, Dayne Crist, and Matt Barkley). He threw a strong ball, and showed good touch. Occasionally a ball would get away from him, but not often. Physically he fits the profile, with good height and fairly wide shoulders, looking muscular but with the ability to add more bulk easily. The scenario with Prince, right now, is that UCLA could offer him a scholarship, dependent on him going on his LDS mission out of high school and then returning for the 2010 season as a freshman. After seeing Prince for the first time in person, seeing his talent and potential, it appears to be a valid move. Prince intended to meet with the UCLA coaches last week on UCLA's campus, but there were too many coaches not available, so he could be doing it this week. The thought is that UCLA will offer Prince a scholarship and the prospect who grew up a UCLA fan could readily commit.

E.J. Woods, S, 6-1, 200. The champions for the day were Long Beach Poly, and there were players, coaches and fans of Poly that said they thought one of the best players on the field Friday was the UCLA commit, Woods. Physically, he looks the part, and perhaps his most impressive aspect is his closing speed combined with that well put-together 200 pounds. Woods looked good on defense, sometimes, however, looking like he made a misread. But he's earning a rep as being a very physical player, and he showed it here, many times bumping a receiver to take him out of his route. On offense, either coming out of the backfield as a running back or lining up as a receiver, he showed some very impressive flashes. On a few under routes, he caught the ball and had a quick burst up the field.

Kevin Cummings, JR WR, 6-1, 165. Cummings is still very thin, but he has time, just going into his junior year. He has good quickness and found some open seams Friday. When we were watching him, he split two defenders on a post and caught a nice ball from Prince for a touchdown. He's definitely going to be someone UCLA will be watching in the 2009 class.

Joseph Fauria, TE, 6-8, 250. Fauria is a good 6-8, and towers over everyone. He has gotten thicker physically and looks all of 250, but still, amazingly, looks like he could fill out more with good weight. He runs very well for someone his size and, with that size, defenders looked like little gnats climbing on him that he could just swat away. Notre Dame definitely got a very good prospect when he committed.

Lake Balboa Birmingham:

Donovan Carter, LB, 6-2, 230. A friend of mine, who is a basketball scout, came out to the 7-on-7 with me, and when he saw Carter, he said, "He's a beast." UCLA has started to get some bigger linebacker recruits, and Carter is one of them, built well, and with still room to probably top out in the 240-250 range once he gets some time in a college weight program. For his size, he moves well, showing good lateral quickness and feet for such a large body. When you're a linebacker in a 7-on-7, you really don't get that much action, but it was a good opportunity just to watch Carter move.

Milton Knox, RB, 5-8, 190. We watched most of Birmingham's two games, and didn't see the UCLA-committed Knox touch the ball much. He caught a short pass, and that's about all we saw. He was open quite a bit, though, coming out of the backfield, but his quarterback didn't see him. Knox isn't necessarily a speed burner, but when he puts it into that last gear, he has some good acceleration. He's very thick, with very thick thighs, and it's easy to see why he's so hard to bring down. Physically, the comparisons to Maurice Drew are apt.

Newhall Hart:

Patrick Larimore, LB, 6-2, 225. Larimore, like Carter, stands out physically in a 7-on-7, at least an inch taller than the other defenders on his team and probably 20-30 pounds heavier. Larimore looks like the prototypical middle linebacker, and moved particularly well laterally for his size, and showed good flexibility in his hips. Again, he didn't have many opportunities to touch the ball, but was very physical in coverage.

Delano Howell, DB/RB, 5-11, 185. One of the biggest disappointments was not being able to see Howell play, since he sat out with an injury suffered recently in another 7-on-7. Physically Howell passes the eyeball test, with good musculature and a good frame. He's definitely not one of these skinny-looking cornerback prospects, but a guy you could see easily as a running back (at least physically) in college.

Huntington Beach Edison:

Nick Crissman, QB, 6-3, 195. UCLA's committed quarterback was probably the best overall quarterback on the day. His throwing motion isn't classic; he basically short-arms the ball. But he has no problem with velocity with that motion, so you wonder if you'd want to tinker with it since he gets it off so quickly. He also is accurate, threading needles and hitting receivers in the numbers, along with showing good touch. In the semi-final, he threw a couple of picks trying to force completions, but overall, his accuracy and consistency were the best on the day.

Santa Ana Mater Dei:

Matt Barkley, JR QB, 6-3, 220. The junior quarterback has offers from many schools, including UCLA. He's an interesting prospect, and from what we hear a really great kid with a good work ethic and attitude. Physically, he is a good 220 pounds, already very thick – perhaps too thick for someone going into his junior year of high school. You have to wonder about where his body is going to go, already being so thick, and not just muscular. He also looks pretty stiff in his torso, without a great deal of flexibility. He has a strong arm and can muscle balls to their receivers. He has a stiff release, without much wrist, which makes for some balls with velocity but not much touch. Even nitpicking him like this, he was effective, and when he can really unleash his arm, throwing downfield, he's the most effective. He also has a good presence and strong leadership qualities. Scott Lewis, who was at the 7-on-7, likened him to Drew Olson, and it is a good comparison – but Olson with a stronger arm and physically as a junior in college. We're hearing it's only a matter of time before he commits to USC.

Robbie Boyer, WR, 6-0, 175. He had a good day, running strong routes, catching some difficult balls and being physically tough. He might not be lightning fast, but he has good quicks, he's strong and he doesn't take a play off. He might be under-rated as a prospect and looks like he could be a very good college possession receiver.

Long Beach Poly:

Vaughn Telemaque, S, 6-2, 190. One of the best prospects on the field, a big, physical presence in Poly's defensive backfield. He is really quick and long, and has very good instincts, and was one of the main reasons Poly won the tournament. He did well at the USC camp and we've heard that he likes USC and Arizona State and, if academics get in order, USC would put on the press to get him.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame:

Dayne Crist, QB, 6-5, 225. The prospect committed to Notre Dame has some vast potential, but is still a work in progress. Physically, he's at least 225. In fact, he looks more like a tight end, with bulk that isn't necessarily good weight. His mechanics aren't consistent, changing practically from throw to throw. But when he gets it right, it's pretty and explodes off his hand. You can see he's still inexperienced at reading defenses, and his hesitation seems to impact his throwing motion. But his athleticism is clear – being that big and having very good flexibility. When he tones up, and gets more disciplined in his throwing motion, he has the potential to be very good college quarterback.


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