Saturday nights' Valor versus Fresno Central game went long with TV timeouts and delays for injury and lightning, when it finished defending Colorado 5A champion Valor came away with a 31-7 victory. On the field were multiple DI and FCS players here is a quick look at the some of the Valor players.
To me Christian McCaffrey is the epitome of the 21st Century player with a versatility matched by few. McCaffrey does it all for his Valor team and will need to early this season as new starting QB A.J. Cecil finds his footing
in the offense. McCaffrey has all the obvious attributes of speed, vision, balance and feet needed to do well at the next level, what I feel sets him apart are the intangibles. It is tough to explain but McCaffrey as a runner has a sense or feel where the cut or hole is, this allows him to stay one step or cut ahead of the D. I also like that defenders rarely get a clean shot on him. Further, his ability to catch the ball makes him a threat all over the field and will create opportunities for him at Stanford. I see Coach Shaw eventually moving McCaffrey all over the place in college. One piece of improvement McCaffrey needs to focus on for college is pad level, especially as he finishes runs. At times he can get and finish a little tall.
The Valor offensive line, all seniors, is massive averaging close to 300 pounds as a unit. It is not a stretch to say all will play college ball at the FCS or DI level. This unit is great, as expected, at run blocking. Tackles Alec Ruth and Isaiah Holland hold 10 plus offers between them. Each standing 6-5 300 pounds they are tough when they get their hands on an opponent. In pass blocking and in a couple of instances pulling or getting up field each showed the need to get lighter on their feet. Early in their college careers Holland and Ruth will have difficulty with speed pass rushers and potentially they may have to make the move inside. Fellow Valor giant Ryan Cummings, 6-5 295, a guard, is not getting the buzz of Holland and Ruth, but he is worth a look. I especially liked how he got to the second level and always got a hold of backers and defensive backs later in runs.
Defensively much was made of the matchup between 2015 corner Eric Lee Jr. and 2014 Central receiver Michiah Quick. Lee, who received help on the evening as the Valor D focused on Quick, was more than capable of holding his own. Fluid, with good size and hips, Lee's most impressive attribute may be his long arms. Lee is also not afraid to tackle on the edges, but he will need to improve in this area for the college level.
Fellow DB, senior Marcus Wilson, a Colorado State commit, was always in the picture making tackles Saturday night. On multiple occasions, the 6-0 185 pound Wilson made woo hoo hits. Active and comfortable versus run and pass, Wilson will need to wrap up more at the college level, something the Rams' staff will work on.
Three Valor players that do not have the profile of other players but are well worth looks, especially at the FCS/DII level are Clarke Cooper, Justin Fall and Gabriel Watkins. Cooper, a senior, does it all for Valor which makes him attractive at the next level. Standing 6-3 250 pounds Cooper is a very good defensive lineman, solid blocking tight end and good long snapper. Not sure if this is the case,but Cooper looked a little lighter and more athletic than last season. His work as a long snapper may secure him a scholarship. On a team filled with the progeny of NFL athletes and prototypical athletes, 5-11 190 pound linebacker Justin Falls stands out. Falls in not showy, but he always makes plays. By early in the third quarter, playing against a very talented Central squad, Falls had 10 tackles. Some smart college coach somewhere is going to get a football player. The speed of 2015 outside backer Gabriel Watkins caught my attention as well. A long 6-1 205 pounds it will be interesting to track Watkins' progress this season.
Finally, two touted Central players suffered injuries against Valor, running back Nick Wilson hurt his shoulder and two way lineman and Arizona verbal commit Sharif Williams hurt his leg and according to the Denver Post had surgery last night.