Friday Night Lights: Prospect Analysis

Some of the state's top high school football prospects were on display this past weekend and Dawgman.com was present to watch several games including the top matchup of week one – Skyline and Bellevue. Read on to see our thoughts on the top prospects we saw and some new ones that will be on the radar in the coming years...

Skyline vs. Bellevue

Skyline won the game 6-0, but honestly, they should have won by more. QB Jake Heaps – a sophomore – made a great run on the Spartans' first drive of the night and fumbled at the three as he was trying to regain his balance after being tripped up. Before that gaffe, Skyline had gone right through Bellevue's defense.

Skyline QB Jake Heaps (2010) – We've known about Jake for a while and it was nice to be able to see him actually play a game (all we've seen his camps and passing leagues). He's worth every bit of the hype we've gotten from those close to the Skyline program and the promise he's shown in workouts. He's got a great arm, excellent touch – he hit WR Gino Simone with a beautiful 60-yard touchdown pass – and he's a better athlete than many give him credit for. He'll never be a player that gets out and runs away from people, but with his good frame (6-1.5, 195) and football smarts he can make quick decisions in the running game as well as when asked to drop back. Keep an eye on this one, he's likely to be the best in the state if he keeps progressing like we think he can.

Skyline RB Tyler Washburn (2008) – I had never seen Washburn run before, but he's a tough player who has exceptional vision and just brutalizes opponents that try to tackle him. He broke several tackles on his way to be good night on the ground. Probably not a D-1 player, but someone who could walk on at a big program or earn a scholarship at Western Washington, PLU or Central Washington.

Skyline OT Tom Swanson (2008) – He's a big kid and one that could excel at a program like Eastern Washington. He's a player that already is adept at pass-blocking and is getting better as a run-blocker. Not the greatest athlete, but he's strong and has a bit of a mean streak.

Skyline WR Gino Simone (2009) – He's come back from a broken leg and looks really good. He was pressing a bit early in the game, but found his stride and shows great hands and decent breakaway speed on long passes. He reminds me a lot of Cody Bruns from Prosser. They're about the same size, although Bruns is faster, but Simone has this year and next year to become even more polished as a receiver.

Skyline S/LB Eric Biege (2008) – If he were bigger, he's probably be on plenty of regional teams' radars. He's just a football player, but with his size (5-10, 180) he'll just never be able to do much other than try and make it at a smaller college. He was all over the place versus the Wolverines and made plenty of plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Other Skyline players to watch: TE Jared Lemke (2009); WR Cooper Pelluer (2010); OL Cameron Butler (2009); OL Jase Butorac (2010); WR Kasen Williams (2011)

Bellevue OL David DeCastro (2008) – The Stanford commit looks way bigger than he did last year. He's listed at 285, but he looks even bigger than that and he was pretty cut. He was about it for the Wolverines up front and caved in his side most of the time (he played tackle). The problem was that the quarterback who replaced Eric Block really didn't make good decisions and the Skyline defense got great penetration all night long.

Bellevue S/CB Jamal Atofau (2009) – Looks like a great athlete. Has good quickness and breaks out of his backpedal well. He played safety over the slot most of the night so it was tough to actually watch him run and gauge his speed, but you can tell he's a player that will get better as the season goes along. I didn't see him carry the ball on Friday night so it appears he will focus on defense.

Bellevue TE/LB Hank Thayer (2010) – One of the more impressive athletes I saw on the field on Friday. Looks like he has a great frame (6-3, 220) and made a couple of nice hits on defense. He runs well and sheds blockers better than most young players are able to do. He also sealed the edge on a couple of Bellevue's outside runs.




Franklin Pierce vs. Selah

Franklin Pierce TE Austin Olson (2008) – Talk about your mister "do-it-all". Olsen caught passes, blocked punts, played defense and punted. He's the Cardinals' best player and he showed it on Saturday at the Emerald City Kickoff Classic. He runs well and even showed a bit of blocking prowess, but he will make his way in college football as a pass receiving tight end and he showed soft hands (he made a one-handed stab for a touchdown) and enough speed to challenge the deep middle when necessary.

Franklin Pierce RB Aram Mann (2009) – He was one of the best players I saw on Saturday. Showed good speed, good vision and has a nice frame (6-1, 190). He had an 81-yard kickoff return late in the game and made two cuts that showed his outstanding vision. He'll be one to keep an eye on over the next two years. Could play receiver or safety at the next level.

Other Franklin Pierce players to watch: OL Justin Williams (2009); OL Abraham Siolo (2010); OL Travis Hoberg (2011); QB Demsey Wheelock (2010); QB Erich Armstrong (2008)




Gig Harbor vs. Lakes (Tacoma)

Lakes dominated the game on the scoreboard, but Gig Harbor was really big inside and jammed the middle and made a game of it during the first three quarters. We could fill up he entire page with Lakes prospects – head coach Dave Miller's team is loaded – but we'll focus on the biggest prospects from the Lancers squad.

Lakes TE/DE Kavario Middleton (2008) – What isn't there to like about Middleton. He's big, he's athletic and he's a very, very good football player. Talk about a must-get for the Huskies, Middleton really showed the hype is real. Middleton didn't do a lot on defense, Miller told me after the game they used him on contain most of the day, but on offense…boy did he really stick out. He got robbed on a touchdown as he leapt over four players and extended the ball for what appeared to be a touchdown. As it was, RB Domini ck Davis went over on the next play. Middleton didn't block much because they split him out wide on almost every play. He looks like he could be a better tight end than defensive end at this point.

Lakes WR/S Jermaine Kearse (2008) – A very good athlete. Runs effortlessly and showed soft hands on several receptions in traffic. He ran right by the Gig Harbor corner defending him for a 60-yard touchdown reception. Didn't see him do a lot on defense, but that's because Gig Harbor didn't throw it down the field much.

Lakes QB Calvin Schmidtke (2008) – He appeared to be pressing a bit early on and he admitted that after the game. He settled down though and toughed it out on a gimpy ankle toward the end of the game when he was hit by two Gig Harbor defenders. Has a strong arm and makes quick decisions. We'll see how he progresses as the season moves along.

Lakes RB Dominick Davis (2008) – I wish he was a little bit bigger, but he's a quick, scat-back type that has good hands and excellent vision. Not the fastest guy, but shows good football speed and can get the edge when necessary.

Other Lakes players to watch: OL/DL Sione Potoae (2010); LB Martin Smitherman (2010); S/WR Jamaal Kearse (2010); CB/WR Brandon Jimenez (2008); WR/DB Devin Davis (2009); QB Dalton Gervais (2010); OL/DL Tupou Manaea (2008)

Gig Harbor OL/DL Matt Bernard (2008) – He's getting a lot of attention from the regional schools and spent four days over at Washington State. He's a big man with excellent leg drive and a nasty side. His head coach said he could be just as good or better than Kenny Alfred who is playing center for the Cougars. Not a great athlete, but he has enough to be a solid interior player.

Other Gig Harbor players to watch: OL/DL Brendan Saltvick (2008); OL/DL Tyler Hopkins (2008)




Kentridge vs. Inglemoor

Kentridge ATH Brandon Turner (2008) – They have him playing quarterback, but everyone knows he's headed to receiver or safety at the next level. Since I didn't see him run routes, although I've seen quite a bit of that during the offseason, it's hard to say the impact he could have out there, but you can see his overall football skills when he ran with the ball making several defenders miss. He also looked great at safety and blasted a receiver on a deep pass. It's baffling why more teams aren't after him.

Kentridge OL/DL Le'Roi Edwards (2008) – Another Chargers player that just seems to be flying under the radar. He's the emotional leader of the team as well as the leader of the offensive and defensive lines. He runs really well for a big man and every time I see him play he impresses me more and more. Blocked for the run well and even made some nice plays stuffing the run.

Kentridge RB Aaron Beck (2008) – Great speed and quickness. He shared time with junior Alex Ferg uson in the backfield, but he has great vision and used his lateral cutting ability to get free for a couple of nice runs. If he was bigger, he'd probably have a lot more schools looking at him.

Kentridge RB Alex Ferguson (2009) – Loved his vision and quickness. Needs to get faster and I think he can, but he plays fast and ran away from a couple of players. He will be one of the top three backs in the state in the 2009 class.

Other Kentridge players to watch: DE/OL Jaden Cox (2009); DE/OL Austin Robinson (2010); OL Matt Miller (2008)


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