Mater Dei spring game recap

I had a chance to attend the Mater Dei spring game and came away impressed with the Monarchs. This is a team that has a veteran QB, a quartet of talented receivers and a strong o-line. On defense, they have athletes in the secondary and d-line. From what I've seen, you have to consider Mater Dei to be one of the favorites this year for the Trinity League, the Pac-5 and the state title.

Of course, it all starts with Matt Barkley. He's at 6-3, 228 right now and he just looked so polished tonight. He led his offense to scoring drives on their first three possessions and even added a two point conversion of his own as he carried the ball on an option play. He had one deep throw late in the scrimmage which was as pretty of a deep ball as you will find and I continue to be impressed with his play action fakes. It's obvious that Matt is the leader of this team and Coach Bruce Rollinson even mentioned that Matt's leadership efforts in workouts is reminding him of former top MD quarterbacks such as Matt Leinart. With all due respect to Dayne Crist, I find it hard to believe that there will be a better prep quarterback in Southern California this year than Matt Barkley.

Khaled Holmes - the big fella looked solid, trimmer than I remember him being last year. Rollinson is really pleased with a new training program that the Monarchs are using this year which emphasizes agility and flexibility. If that sounds familiar to the teachings of Chris Carlisle, it's because the program was recommended by Matt Grootegoed, who told Rollinson how much he liked the program at USC and how much it benefited him as a player. As Rollinson said tonight "there is no player more revered by these guys on the field than Groots so if he says something is good for them, they buy off on it". Holmes looks to be one of the beneficiaries as he was really moving well. I also liked seeing how vocal he was with his teammates, that's not something we've really seen in the past from him so it's a sign that he is becoming more comfortable in a leadership role. The common thought from those I spoke with tonight is that it's only a matter of time before Khaled commits to the Trojans. The Monarchs also have a couple other offensive linemen; Ben Tauanuu is the right tackle and he will get a Division 1 ride this year while a Class of 2010 prospect to remember is Chris Ward. Only a freshman right now, Ward is scheduled to be the starter as a sophomore in the fall at left guard and he certainly looks the part.

One of my favorite players in this class is Andrew Abbott, a corner who will also see time at receiver. He reminds me of Vincent Joseph, he has a similar swagger and instinct for the game but he also shares the lack of size which will scare away many recruiters. Somebody is going to get a very good player in Abbott.

Cameron Meredith is a solid defensive end, a tall and rangy guy with a good motor. Cameron has offers from schools like Oregon and Oklahoma but he will attend the USC lineman camp on Sunday with the hopes of attracting more attention from the Trojan coaches.

A pair of receivers who should receive solid offers are Robbie Boyer and Carlo Valdes. Boyer is similar to Sean Wiser from Oaks Christian last year, a tall receiver who runs good routes and catches everything. He is also Barkley's cousin and they have been best friends since birth. For anyone who grew up with cousins, you can only imagine how much fun these two are having as a top pass-catch duo at the high school level. Their chemistry on the field is unmistakable. Valdes has good size and he is fast, he is also scheduled to be a starter at safety.

Another player worth mentioning is Blake Arthur. He ran the 2nd team offense tonight at quarterback but is normally a part of the receiver rotation. Blake was basically a mini Doug Flutie with the ball in his hands and if he was bigger than his listed 5-10, 155 there would be a lot of college interest. As it is, this guy knows how to play the game and he was a lot of fun to watch.


USCFootball.com Top Stories