Ground Zero Tournament Targets

RIALTO, Calif -- The Ground Zero passing tournament only had a handful of teams, but with the host outfit fielding three solid squads in Team Panoramic, Team Sniper and Team Sky's the Limit, there were several intriguing prospects and targets on hand.

Grant Porter | Upland (Calif.) | Wide Receiver | 2016
Upland wide out Grant Porter is the son of former USC hurdler George Porter, and the 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior is an intriguing vertical threat in a 2016 class full of semi-possession receivers. Porter is raw, and while his route running appears limited, his exposure to the seven-on-seven circuit with Ground Zero this spring should help his game immensely. Of the prospects performing during the three day weekend, Porter may be the closest to being USC scholarship offer ready. However, Porter isn’t running track, and if USC wants him as a deep threat, Steve Sarkisian may want to put him on the stopwatch.

SCOOP: A scholarship offer from USC would be a benchmark moment in his recruitment, although Porter will likely hold off making a commitment to any school right away. His scholarship offer from Kansas is intriguing only because he has family in Kansas, but Porter would prefer to stay on the West Coast if possible.

Brandon Burton | Gardena (Calif.) | Safety | 2016
Serra wide receiver and safety Brandon Burton had a very good seven-on-seven outing for Elite Athletes Saturday and Monday in two separate tournaments. Burton was all over the field catching roughly two dozen passes in both tournaments. Burton was more impressive as a receiver than as a safety this weekend, which is a departure from his performances last spring. Burton made a ton of contested receptions, showing more physicality and toughness than in years past. He had a target on his back at the Ground Zero Tournament Saturday, and despite taking a few forearms to the ribs, he didn’t back down from the challenge.

SCOOP: Burton is playing the recruiting game cool, wearing a Florida State shirt Saturday in Rialto. Florida State is a school Burton will unofficially visit this spring, and with his dad originally from Florida, the Seminoles aren’t a complete long shot for his commitment. UCLA is also showing more recent interest in him, so while many would write Burton off for USC, expect his recruitment to have some twists and turns.

Demetric Felton | Temecula (Calif.) | Running Back | 2016
Great Oaks running back Demetric Felton was a standout for Ground Zero Saturday, and while seven-on-seven tournaments certainly don’t tell you much about a leading rusher, there were some attributes gleaned from his performance. First, Felton is a short running back, but he’s not necessarily small. With a frame that could carry 190-to-200-pounds, Felton looks the part physically. His hands are solid, although he did drop a couple of routine passes. What translates is how hard Felton runs. Each route, every snap, Felton went 100-percent. The player you see on film breaking tackles and relentlessly negotiating himself upfield was on display Saturday.

Stephen Carr | Fontana (Calif.) | Running Back | 2017
Summit running back Stephen Carr bursted onto the seven-on-seven scene late last year as a defensive back. One look at him this year and it’s clear Carr will play running back, if not linebacker in college. Physically, Carr has put in a lot of time in the weight room and it has paid off. Closer to 190-pounds now than 175-pounds, Carr caught the ball well for Ground Zero Saturday. He also showed excellent moves in space for a bigger, more muscular running back. Carr adds to a growing list of impressive young tailbacks in the 2017 class.

Krys Barnes | Bakersfield (Calif.) | Linebacker | 2016
Barnes is relatively new to the seven-on-seven circuit, and at times Saturday at the Ground Zero tournament at Carter High School, it showed. The type of passing routes that are nonexistent in a real football game took some getting use to, but overall Barnes had a solid day moving in space and diagnosing short routes in his zone. As with all linebackers, seven-on-seven play is rarely much more than an evaluation of movement and the ability to communicate.

SCOOP: Barnes scholarship offer from USC at the Elite Junior Invite was huge, although the 6-foot-2, 220-pounds linebacker is holding back from getting too excited about any single college option publicly. Barnes grew up a Trojan fan, and loves the school scholastically. If there’s one hang up, it’s that USC signed a stellar class of linebacker in 2015. Barnes admits he wants to see how the Trojans depth chart plays out this season.

Lokeni Toailoa | Rialto (Calif.) | Linebacker | 2016
The Ground Zero product got a good amount of reps for Team Panoramic Saturday, defecting a handful of passes and showing his signature lateral movement in cover three. Ground Zero head training and co-founder Anthony Brown Sr. says Toailoa is the best athlete he has on the roster. It’s true, Toailoa's feet and instincts set him apart from many other linebackers in a seven-on-seven setting. Toailoa could really line up at multiple positions and contribute in a seven-on-seven setting. For Carter High School, he plays linebacker, running back and tight end.

SCOOP: As times goes on, Toailoa becomes more and more of a lean toward UCLA. Although he raved about the USC Junior Invite experience in January, it’s clear the Bruins continue to recruit him harder than the Trojans. At 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, Toailoa doesn’t have quite the length USC signed at linebacker in 2015, and with two linebacker already committed in a deep 2016 class, the Trojans can afford to weigh their options until the summer camp season starts.

Tayler Hawkins | Palm Springs (Calif.) | Defensive Back | 2016
Tayler Hawkins, whose twin brother Tyler plays linebacker, is an intriguing prospect. Hawkins played played cornerback Saturday for Ground Zero, but has the build of a safety. One of the fastest players on the field, Hawkins is raw. This being one of his first seven-on-seven events, Hawkins was at his best just matching up with receivers one-on-one. At times Hawkins looked a bit stiff in the hips on his transitions trying to break on shorter routes. But at a solidly built 6-foot-1, he has the size to control receivers off the line once he starts to hone in on his footwork and technique.

JaQuan Blackwell | Moreno Valley (Calif.) | Wide Receiver | 2016
Citrus Hill has produced some good looking athletes the past couple of years and Jaquan Blackwell is another one of those intriguing players. At 6-foot, 180-pounds, Blackwell plays wide out for Ground Zero, but is one of those players whose overall athleticism will garner some interest at defensive back too. As of now, Blackwell is a prospect with physical potential, but light on production, the camp circuit will be crucial for his stock.


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