De La Salle Scouting Report

Team speed, running backs and perhaps the best secondary in school history are the strengths of this year's squad. Special teams play remains among the best you'll see anywhere. It's up front where the Spartans may have slipped backward from previous teams.

Wide Receivers -- Cameron Colvin is a junior and has a chance to be the school's best wideout since Amani Toomer. De'Montae Fitzgerald also has excellent speed and runs good routes. In the first game, the DLS receivers dropped five passes and appeared not to have improved much since last year. In the second game against St. Louis, though, the receivers were 200 percent better. Colvin's juggling, diving catch at the goal line was like the famous one by Lynn Swann in the Super Bowl. They may have an edge vs. the Poly secondary and if the ball is close these guys will have to make the catch. Drops just won't do this time.

Tight End -- Terrence Kelly was a fullback on the JV team last year and can make plays from the tight end position. It's been a key position in big games DLS has played in recent years and Kelly has some versatility, though not the size, that other DLS tight ends have had.

Offensive Line -- Erik Sandie, at 6-1 and 255, has assumed the main two-way role Derek Landri had last season. But Landri was 6-3 and 280 and may go down as one of the best linemen from California ever. It therefore figures to be much tougher for Sandie to take on the even deeper corps of Poly linemen that Landri faced last year. John Chan is another line stalwart, but mostly on offense. Garth Gorrall, at 6-3 and 242, is the only player on the team who stands above 6-2. He had some good moments in Hawaii and seems to be improving. The rest of the group is typical De La Salle: stocky, super quick and very smart.

Quarterback -- Britt Cecil threw for nearly 150 yards in the first half against St. Louis and has proved to be a solid starter, as good as many the school has had in the last 15 years. He's not Matt Gutierrez, though, who is the best passer the Spartans' have ever had and possibly the best field general they've ever had. The only sophomore on the roster is 6-2, 195-pound back up QB Kevin Lopina. He trains weekly with noted Bay Area QB guru Roger Theder and Roger said last season he thought Lopina was a future major college Div. I recruit.

Running Back -- Maurice Drew might be the best player in America under 5-8. He can get the tough yards, he doesn't fumble and his speed is greatly improved since last year. He's like Joe Igber of Cal, but a lot stronger. It was thought Jackie Bates would be a prime compliment to Drew this year. But the wunderkind from last year's sophomore team has tended to share that role with senior Gino Ottoboni. Gino is not a college prospect, but he's tough enough and good enough that if Poly's defense forgets about him, he will hurt them.

Defensive Line -- A lot has been made about Landri's absence from this unit, which is correct, but people tend to forget that Andy Briner was a Div. I recruit, too. Sandie does the double duty here, but the rest of the unit has been more jumbled. Eric Love, Cole Smith and Chris Mulvanny have all had their moments, but no one stepped up to provide much of a pass rush against St. Louis. The defensive line was called the best in school history last year by defensive coordinator Terry Eidson. It's nowhere near that level this year.

Linebackers -- For a pair of juniors, Parker Hanks and Terrence Kelly, have been terrific. The sideline-to-sideline speed has been there and the tackling sure-handed. If these two get a little bigger coming into next season, both could be major college recruits. Maurice Drew often comes in and plays a linebacker-like role on this side of the ball, too.

Secondary -- The Spartans have the best pair of corners in the state with senior Damon Jenkins on one side and junior Willie Glasper on the other. Cameron Colvin, Matt Kavanaugh, Jackie Bates and Maurice Drew all play a lot as well. This unit not only sticks to opposing receivers it also brings the pads with tremendous force. It's surprising they haven't forced that many turnovers so far this season. Their play vs. Derrick Jones and the rest of the Poly receivers figures to be a critical part of Saturday's game.

Special Teams -- Tony Binswanger has field goal range out to 45 yards and hasn't missed an extra point this year. It's his kickoffs, though, which have been really effective. One has hit the goalposts and almost every one has been unreturnable. Of course, De La Salle's returns, especially when Drew gets the ball, are always spectacular. Jackie Bates and Damon Jenkins can take it all the way as well.

Coaching -- What can you say? Bob Ladouceur is in a class by himself, but Terry Eidson's defenses are on the same level.

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