Each year, the West turns out some of the top prospects in the country. This year, the nation's top-ranked prospect is from California, one of five of the top-ranked prospects at their position by Scout.com, who are from the West.
But as is the case each season, there are plenty of players who fly below the radar and it takes a big senior season to launch them unto the map.
Offers breed more offers, and some schools are hesitant to be that first one, especially when a player gets through the spring evaluation period without one.
Last year, Long Beach Poly, one of the most fertile schools in the country, had three players emerge late in the summer or early in fall. Vaughn Telemaque was a lightly recruited safety who blew up late in summer and then was named the Southern California Defensive Player of the Year before eventually signing with Miami. His fellow safety, Herman Davidson, couldn't even crack the starting lineup till the season started and had no offers before a bigtime showing at the Herbstreit Classic. Davidson ended the season as a four-star safety and signed with North Carolina. Douglas Spacht, the Jackrabbits center, was also a relative unknown, until he too had a big game in the Herbstreit. He ended up a Top 10 center and is now at Fresno State. A year before that, very few people knew of Taylor Dever, but the Nevada Union tackle ended his senior year as a four-star and is now at Notre Dame.
So who will be the next player to emerge from the West? Here is the "All-UnderTheRadar" Team of prospects from the West who've yet to receive an offer from a I-A (FBS) program (note: a handful have received I-AA/FCS offers).
QB- Jamie Jensen, Gilroy (Calif.)- Jensen led Northern California in passing as a junior and was second in the state. He spent most of the offseason refining his release and also helped lead his school, who represented the 49ers, to the national passing tournament in New Orleans.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Manning (Logan, UT), Andrew Pulsipher (Temecula Valley, CA), Levi Levasa (Tualitin, OR), Cameron Deen (Covina South Hills, CA), Emir Lopez (Las Vegas, NV), Nick Libonati (Henderson Green Valley, NV), Sean Berman (North Hollywood Harvard Westlake, CA)
RB- Melvin Richardson, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Richardson can look to his three former teammates for encouragement. He was the best offensive player on the best team in the toughest division in the state a year ago. Surprisingly, he's yet to receive an offer, but he'll get a chance to make a big impression early on when Poly takes on Miami Northwestern.
RB- Ryan Zirbel, Saugus (Calif.). Don't let his size fool you, pound for pound, Zirbel is one of the better running backs in the West. And he did it against quality opponents during his junior year. He's rushed for over 3,500 yards the last two seasons and he's set for one more big campaign for Saugus.
Honorable Mention: Akil Sharp (Las Vegas Silverado, NV), LeSean Wilcox (Pleasant Grove, UT), Craig Loper (Eugene Willamette, OR), Ben Bowen (Visalia Mt. Whitney, CA), Jontell Reedom (Tulare, CA), Andre Barrington (Federal Way, WA), Quincy Bagsby (Henderson Green Valley, NV)
WR- Kevin Chandler, Mission Viejo (Calif.). Teammate and quarterback Allan Bridgford quickly attributes much of his success to his good friend Chandler, and for good reason. Chandler is one of the most underrated receivers in the West, and extremely productive at that and should have another big season as Bridgford's favorite target.
WR- Travis Van Leeuwen, Provo (Utah) Timpview- Van Leeuwen had a very good summer and was one of the better receivers at the UA/Scout Combine in Phoenix. He's a big, tall receiver with excellent hands.
WR- Mike Edmunds, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham- Like his Beehive State brethren, Edmunds has good size and very good speed, running in the 4.5 range. He's also got excellent hands and is a good route runner.
Honorable Mention: Gianni Carter (Eugene Marist, OR), Mike Reeve (Seattle Rainier Beach, WA), Mitch Singler (South Medford, OR), Sam Knapp (Menlo Atherton, CA), James Flynn (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, CA), Noel Grigsby (Los Angeles Crenshaw, CA), Spencer Hagan (Sacramento Capital Christian, CA)
TE- Gavin Escobar, Santa Margarita (Calif.)- While Escobar plays receiver for the Eagles, we see him as a tight end in college. He's 6-5 and weighs 215 but can easily put on another 20 pounds. Escobar is physical and can catch everything.
OL- Mark Clampitt, Torrance (Calif.) West- Clampitt really impressed at the UA/Scout Combine in Los Angeles, earning all-combine honors. He's been one of the better interior lineman in California the past two seasons, and will make a good guard or center in college.
OL- Kyle Johnson, Sandy (Utah) Jordan- In a good year for lineman in Utah, Johnson is definitely one who is under the radar. At 6-3, 265, he's got good size to play inside, and likely projects to guard in college.
OL- Matt McCarthy, Sacramento (Calif.) Christian Brothers- McCarthy has one of the bigger frames of any tackle out West, standing at 6-7, and as he continues to work on his footwork, his size will get him plenty of looks. Has a couple of I-AA/FCS offers.
OL- Hunter Blackmore, Kent (Wash.) Kentwood- A big reason that UW signee Demetrius Bronson had a big senior year, Blackmore is one of the best pure centers in the region. He plays with a lot of "nasty" and is quick off the ball.
Honorable Mention: Anthony Luna (Spokane Gonzaga Prep, WA) Ryan Shott (Capistrano Valley, CA), Adam Murray (Rohnert Park Rancho Cotate, CA), Jake Amaya (Menifee Paloma Valley, CA), Kevin Pope (Phelan Serrano, CA), Marcus Cuellar (Independence Central, OR), Blake Verhaalen (Oregon City, OR)
DL- Talai Livai, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham- Has only played one year of organized football but has the size you can't teach, standing 6-5, 300 with 5.1 speed. Came out to the AIGA Combine in Long Beach in May and was one of the top big men there.
DL- Justin Brown, Compton (Calif.)- Brown was a major cog in Compton's tough D last year, playing next to Datone Jones. He'll carry the load up front for the Tarbabes this fall. Brown's got good size and quick first step.
DL- Noel Beckles, Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei- Beckles had a great spring and summer and is no stranger to recruiting. He's geared for a big start to his senior year to open some more eyes. Beckles is quick off the line and plays with a good pad level.
DL- James Cowser, Kaysville (Utah) Davis- Cowser came to the UA/Scout Combine in Phoenix and competed at a high level despite a broken hand. He's quick off the edge and is strong in backside pursuit. Could eventually move to the strongside in college.
Honorable Mention: Hunter Thomson (Wailulu, HI), Sione Tuihalamaka (Gardena Serra, CA), Kapono Asuega (Orange Lutheran, CA) David Gaylord (Lynden, WA), Nicholas Alexander (Los Angeles Crenshaw, CA), William McGill (Modesto, CA), Rob Tramonte (Issaquah Skyline, WA)
LB- Marcel Seely, Mukilteo (Wash.) Kamiak- Seely missed nearly all of his junior year with an ACL injury, but as a sophomore, was poised to be the top prospect in Washington in the class of 2009. If he shows he's all the way back from the knee injury, and all indications are that he is, expect him to be one of the most hotly pursued players in the region.
LB- Sam Foster, Esparto (Calif.)- Foster was one of the most physically impressive players we saw out West during the UA/Scout Combine tour. He's got size (6-2.5, 240) and can move. He's a physical player, who loves to hit and plays very well in space. Foster could even grow into a defensive end.
LB- Nick Bruce, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft- Bruce has been an anchor for the Toreadors defense and loves to get physical. He's also a potential fullback at the next level.
LB- Daniel Cox, Sacramento (Calif.) Christian Brothers- The big question for Cox will be does he play linebacker or safety in college, and he's spent most of his prep career playing defensive end. Cox did very well during the spring and summer on the camp circuit and is one of Sacramento's top prospects.
Honorable Mention: Isaac Foster (Lawndale Leuzinger, CA), Anthony Elliott (Fresno Clovis West), Sam Nielson (Salt Lake City Highland, UT), Jake Pele (Auburn Riverside, WA), Paul Ena (Kenmore Inglemoor, WA), Maurice Cox (Riverside JW North, CA), Garrison Goodman (Danville San Ramon Valley, CA), Ace Ward (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, CA), Brant Botill (Corcoran, CA), Simion Vehikite (Kapolei, HI)
DB- C.J. Anderson, Vallejo (Calif.) Jesse Bethel- Anderson went down to the Top Gun Academy in Florida and didn't allow a pass to be completed against him, and that was with some of the top receivers in the country participating. Longtime scouts from NorCal say he's one of the best cover corners from the region in years.
DB- Jabari Carr, San Jose (Calif.) Oak Grove- Carr's biggest holdup is academics, because the talent is there and everyone knows about him. He's doing the work in the classroom though and said he hopes the corner has been turned enough so that schools start to roll out the offers. He's the top defensive back in Northern California.
DB- Brent Seals, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat- Seals tested off the charts at the UA/Scout Combine in Los Angeles and while he's been playing exclusively linebacker for the Lancers, he's done safety at the numerous camps he's been too. Seals is also one of the finest student-athletes in the West.
DB- Chris Hill, Carson (Calif.)- Overshadowed by many of the Colts top offensive prospects the past two years, Hill is one of the best DBs in the City Section and while he's a smaller cover corner, he'll come up and hit you in the mouth in the open field like he's a linebacker. Physical, quick and with good hips, Hill won't be available for long if he keeps it up.
DB- Charles Childers, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman- Childers was the top defensive back at the Phoenix UA/Scout Combine and was excellent in coverage. Loves to hit and has good instincts. A big part of Gorman's state title season.
Honorable Mention: Rashad Adams (Sacramento Inderkum, CA), Taylor Elmo (Yakima Eisenhower, WA), Keenyn Walker (Salt Lake City Judge Memorial Catholic, UT), Blair Wishom (Concord De La Salle, CA), Sean Murray (Corona Santiago, CA)
ATH- David Quiroga, Chino Hills (Calif.) Ayala- Quiroga had some of the best testing numbers of anyone at the UA/Scout Combine in Los Angeles, particularly in the shuttle and L-Cone. He had over 1,000 yards receiving last fall but he may be best suited for the secondary in college where he can take his physical frame to safety.
Honorable Mention: Ross Bacon (Valencia West Ranch, CA), Raashad Reynolds (San Fernando, CA)