Created to celebrate youth and high school football all across the country, the Los Angeles Festival featured not only some of the top athletes from California, but also had participants from Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.
The Festival consisted of six events that spanned throughout the course of three days. Over 500 athletes participated in the weekend's events including sons of Hall of Fame quarterback and four-time Super Bowl Champion, Joe Montana; former San Francisco 49ers linebacker and current USC Trojans Assistant Coach for Defense, Ken Norton Jr.; and former Los Angeles Raiders defensive end, Greg Townsend.
Sponsors of the Festival include The National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA), PureSport, and SE Video. Each had representatives on-site to educate athletes and parents on their products and services throughout the weekend. DSU was honored to have legendary recruiting coordinator and Director of NCSA, Bob Chmiel, on hand as a featured speaker to educate athletes, families, and coaches in attendance on the recruiting process.
The weekend got underway with a skills challenge on Friday evening. As challenging as the event typically is, athletes had to battle through the fierce and stormy weather conditions that lurked throughout the night. Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Linemen were put through a series of tests to determine who the top performer was at their respective positions.
Despite the rain clouds that lingered overhead of Citrus College Stadium, Mother Nature would not run away with MVP honors in this Challenge. Amidst a highly competitive field of athletes, the following individuals placed atop the standings in the Festival's Challenge competitions:
Will Harrity – 100 points
James Crook – 100 points
Anthony Neyer – 100 points
Zack Gauthier – 38 reps
Michael Morgan – 22.93 seconds
Jesse Scroggins – 63 yards
Fastest Route Drill:
Brent Scott – 4.06 seconds
13 guys – 4-for-4
Trevor Niemann – 14.77 seconds
Vincent Rivera – 67 reps
Brandon Koetsky – 62 reps
Mark Winrow – 26.10 seconds
Darrell Tupuola-Pola – 5.19 seconds
Brandon Koetsky – 3.22 seconds
Darrell Tupuola-Pola – 14.79 seconds
Super 7 Quarterback Academy
Saturday and Sunday featured the Super 7 QB & WR Academy designed by Steve Clarkson and Jerry Rice, along with a Lineman Academy created by NFL coaches and players.
Athletes were placed into groups according to grade level and experienced the most cutting edge training techniques and drills available to prep athletes. The training program encompassed several different elements that factor into an athlete's game day preparation such as film study and chalk talk sessions, core strength and position specific agility training, and the most intense on-field training concepts of any other training curriculum in the country. Amongst the special instructors on hand for quarterbacks were former Oklahoma Sooners Offensive Coordinator, Joe Dickinson; former University of Tennessee standout, Casey Clausen; record setting Hofstra quarterback and former New York Giant, Anton Clarkson; and J.P. Losman's Head Coach/mentor at Venice High School, Angelo Gasca.
The Los Angeles Football Festival fully upheld Southern California's reputation as a hotbed for quarterback talent. The event featured several signal callers who have already begun to stake their claim as the ‘Best in the West.'
Nick Montana was one of the most, if not the most, mechanically polished quarterbacks in attendance. Over the last year Nick has shown tremendous improvement while becoming a more balanced and smooth prospect. He exhibits more confidence in his drops, and has matured into a guy who will be one of the top recruits in America.
San Clemente transfer Chase Rettig is unquestionably one of the best under the radar quarterback prospects in the country. By the start of the 2009 season, Rettig will have already established himself as one of the top gunslingers on the West Coast. This is a prospect that will amaze you with how good he is each time he takes the field.
Perhaps one of the more publicized quarterbacks heading into next season is Redlands East Valley HS quarterback, Tyler Shreve. Throughout the Los Angeles Football Festival, Shreve proved he is every bit worth the hype. The 2008 Elite 11 ball boy possesses all the characteristics college coaches are looking for in a quarterback. He stands tall in the pocket, has a powerful throwing arm, and is a playmaker with his feet.
One of the most accurate arms at the Festival belonged to Jesse Scroggins of Lakewood High School. Scroggins has a lot of raw talent, but really knows how to get things done under center. He is not just an athlete playing quarterback. He is a quarterback who just happens to be an athlete. Scroggins is a player with an incredibly high ceiling for development.
Though much has been made of Sammamish quarterback Jake Heaps, over the weekend another quarterback emerged out of the state of Washington. Southpaw signal caller Dalton Gervais is a big time prospect in his own right. The powerful left hander can make all the throws and should be mentioned alongside Heaps as top quarterbacks in the Evergreen State.
The following names, broken up according to grade level, were the quarterback performers in attendance for the Los Angeles Football Festival.
Dalton Gervais (Lakes HS), Omar Herrera (Verbum Dei HS), Cody Keith (Maranatha HS), Nick Montana (Oaks Christian HS), Chase Rettig (San Clemente HS), Jesse Scroggins (Lakewood HS), and Tyler Shreve (Redlands East Valley HS).
Jonathan Jerozal (Canyon HS) and Kevin Porche (Culver City HS)
Brady Badder (Belding HS), Kelly Hilinski (Our Lady of Assumption), and Ian Fieber (Citrus Hills Intermediate School), and Hayden Rettig (San Clemente HS).
Bradley Alexander II (Las Vegas, NV), Randy Beggs (Temecula, CA), Brandon Dawkins (Oxnard, CA), Troy Dixon (Los Angeles, CA), Taylor Mensik (Pacific Palisades, CA), and Gage Pucci (Glendora, CA).
Cody Brazzill (La Verne, CA), Dwayne Haskins Jr. (Kendall Park, NJ), Dymond Lee (Palmdale, CA), Austin Moore (Yorba Linda, CA), M.C. Poe (Nashville, TN), Daniel Prieto (Simi Valley, CA), Grady Sullivan (Southlake, TX), Ricky Town (Walnut Creek, CA).
DeBartolo Lineman Academy
Serving as the Feature Coach for the Lineman Academy was Randy Cross, an All-Pro lineman and Super Bowl Champion for the San Francisco 49ers. Cross was joined by former New York Jets offensive tackle, Marko Cavka; former University of Kansas Defensive Coordinator, Vic Eumont; Former All-Pac-10 Defensive End and National Champion for the Washington Huskies, Danianke Smith; and footwork & agility specialist, Angelo Jackson.
Cross raved about this year's class of Big Men. Talent-wise he went as far as labeling them "the deepest class" he's seen throughout his coaching tenure at DeBartolo Sports University.
The top overall lineman at the Festival was 6'4 275 lb defensive tackle Kirifi Taula of Servite High School. Taula was a man amongst boys during the Saturday/Sunday Big Man event. There wasn't a lineman in attendance that could contain this overpowering prospect. Time after time, Taula used his monstrous frame to bull rush offensive lineman up the middle during the Festival's one-one drills. Currently a member of the ESPNU 150 Watch List, the junior defensive lineman has caught the attention of programs such as UCLA, Cal, USC, and Arizona State are involved in his recruiting.
Taula along with teammates Nico Espinoza, Christopher Collodel, and Riley Whyte easily made up the top line unit at the Festival. Espinoza is one of those diamond in the rough type prospects that will land on the radar of a college program in due time. Whyte on the other hand is a player who could come in and earn immediate playing time as a Division IA center. It's evident how hard he's worked at establishing himself as one of the premier long snappers in the west.
The following Big Men were also standout performers at the DeBartolo Lineman Academy:
Anthony Boykins (Pasadena HS), Jamil Douglas (Cypress HS), and David Hotchkiss (Citrus Hill HS)
Jaxon Romanowski (Frazier Park HS) and Mark Winrow Jr. (David Starr Jordan HS)
Paul Mesa (Riverside, CA)
Super 7 Wide Receiver Academy
The action didn't stop with just Quarterbacks and Lineman. The Super 7 Wide Receiver Academy is a training program designed by the legendary Jerry Rice. The Academy featured a trio of accomplished instructors: former USC speedster and Houston Oilers wide receiver, Travis Hannah; Cal Bears all-time record holder, Geoff McArthur; and former University of Maryland wide receiver Conrad McKethan.
The headline name out of the Wide Receiver Academy was Jared Cohen who led an impressive group of wideouts from Cypress High School. Cohen has tremendous size and body control. He showed incredible leaping ability while plucking passes out of the air. Cohen, along with teammates Keyon Lee, Akeelie Muhameed, and Vincent Rivera looked to be the most polished route runners in the entire camp. They easily took the title of ‘Top Receiver Unit' at the Festival.
Other top wideout performers at the Festival include Marquel Carter (Culver City High School), Anthony Denham (LA Wilson High School), Keith Holland Jr. (Downey High School), Blayr Jimmerson (Winward High School), Cole Martinez (Wilson High School), Trevor Niemann (Chadwick High School), Lamonte Peters (Carson High School), and Brent Scott (Carson High School).
Please monitor the DeBartolo Sports University website for results from the Los Angeles Football Festival Underclassman Showcase. In what is being touted as the most talented event of the weekend, you won't want to miss who emerged as the top performers. Stay tuned to discover who will be named to Eddie DeBartolo's All-Los Angeles Football Team.
The action doesn't end in Los Angeles. DeBartolo Sports University will be taking their Football Festival to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Feb. 20 – 22), Tampa, Florida (Feb. 27 – March 1), Atlanta, Georgia (March 13 – 15), and Las Vegas, Nevada (March 13 – 15).
To view their complete 2009 schedule or to register for the Quarterback/Wide Receiver Academy, Lineman Academy, Underclassman Showcase, or a Skills Challenge event you can secure a roster spot by signing up on www.debartolosportsu.com.
Recap written by Brian Watson Director of New Media for DeBartolo Sports University