JUCO Games To Watch - California

While some schools in other parts of the country are entering their third week of games, this weekend marks the first week of games for the CCCAA. Here's a look at the most intriguing matchups of the weekend in the Golden State and some players on each side worth keeping an eye on...

#12 Saddleback at #2 Mt. San Antonio - Mt. San Antonio is always loaded with talent and this year, especially along the offensive line, is no different. Shaquille Davis, Jonathan Nava and Eden Mahina are the leaders up front and all are getting attention from four-year programs. Also keep an eye on Mountie RB Jamal Overton who is one of the top returning runners in the state. For Saddleback, WR Eric Lauderdale is the headliner. The Tennessee-commit has the speed to get deep, but he loves the intermediate routes that allow him to make plays with the ball in his hands. Throwing it around the field for the Gauchos will be QB Tim Belman who, like Lauderdale, is at the top of his position group as far as productivity is concerned. Naaman Butsko will do his best to keep the Mountie pass-rushers at bay from his offensive tackle position and on defense, S Duran Workman is one of the leaders for the Gauchos.

Prediction - Mt. San Antonio 31 - Saddleback 28
Bakersfield at #23 Santa Ana - Last season's amazing run proved that Bakersfield has plenty of talent and this year is no different. While the Gades aren't ranked at this point, they have plenty of talent including LB Grant Campbell who is one of the top linebacker prospects in the state this year. Joining him on the stop unit is DE/DT Clinton Carter who had a great year as a freshman in 2013 and S Chris Hannible who will be a leader in the deep patrol. On offense, RB Curtis McGregor is the big name, but they have a deep and experienced offensive line that should help them immensely this year. Santa Ana's defense could wind up being one of the best in the state this year and they are led up front by Arizona-bound Jeff Worthy as well as Billy Tanuvasa and Leo Sasi. The latter two have seen a lot of early recruiting attention as well and should have plenty of offers before it's all said and done. On offense, the Dons run a spread scheme and QB Mike Chislock is the trigger-man. This could wind up being one of the best games of this weekend's slate.

Prediction - Bakersfield 34 - Santa Ana 28
Laney at #24 College of San Mateo - CSM is always loaded with talent along the offensive and defensive line and this year is no different. Along the offensive line, T Dominick Jackson is widely considered in the top two or three tackle prospects in the nation and he's headed to Alabama. On the defensive side, Rika Levi is a mountain of a man and he's got several offers to his name and a lot more schools eyeing his talents. He can play almost anywhere along the defensive line, depending on the need, but he appears to be at his best inside as a one or three technique. The secondary is also loaded for the Bulldogs with Bryant Hayes, Deshane Hines and Joseph Turner at the corner spots. All three are getting attention from four-year programs. Laney has some very talented players on defense including top corner prospect Jamal Mayo and their top-two returning tacklers from last season Chris Lee and Jerome McElroy. Offensively, the Eagles are young, but Garrett Anderson showed promise this offseason and he could make them dangerous if he can find some playmakers to get the ball to on the outside.

Prediction - San Mateo 31 - Laney 13
#8 Ventura at #10 Riverside - Since Tom Craft took over at Riverside, the Tigers have blossomed into one of the top JUCO programs in the state. This year they feature plenty of talent on both sides of the ball including OT Dominique Robertson and OG Kenny Armstrong along the offensive line and two of the more explosive wideouts in the country in Devon Blackmon and Sam Boyd. At Ventura, head coach Steve Mooshagian lost 26 players to four-year schools after the 2012 season, so one would think they have their work cut out for them, but make no mistake, the Pirates are on a roll and they have plenty of guys who will have four-year schools clamoring for them once the season gets underway. Leading the charge up front for VC is Ralphie Martinez and out wide Dylan McDaniel returns after putting up big numbers as a freshman (40 receptions, 646 yards, seven touchdowns). Cornerbacks Michael Cirino and Marquise Price are names to keep an eye on this fall. Both are super-aggressive that like to come up and play physical with receivers and they will have their work cut out for therm this weekend with Blackmon (Oregon) and Boyd (San Jose State) both of whom are bouncebacks from four-year programs.

Prediction - Riverside 38 - Ventura 17
#6 Butte at Feather River - Butte always has talent, but what really makes the Roadrunners such a great program is their coaching staff. This year they will feature playmakers like TE Bo Brummel, one of the most athletic tight ends in the state, and wide receivers Wesley McCoy and Jonathan Parks. The key for them this fall will be finding a quarterback to take over for Nelson Fishback who parlayed a very good freshman season into an offer from Western Kentucky to play for the Hilltoppers this fall. Defensively, the two feature names to keep an eye on are DT Bobby Falagai and CB Chris Edward, both of whom are seeing early attention from four-year programs. Feather River isn't typically though of as a talent hotbed, but this year might see that perception change as the Golden Eagles feature several players worth a long look from scouts. When the Feather River defense is on the field, keep an eye on LB Kyle Newsom who is physical and flies all over the place. Offensively, the Golden Eagles feature an emerging star in WR LaVon Pearson and a solid running back in Kina Malafu who is a grind-it out type with enough burst to be a breakaway threat once he gets into the open field.

Prediction - Butte 24 - Feather River 17
Other Notable Games - Santa Monica at Mt. San Jacinto; Cerritos at L.A. Harbor; El Camino at Palomar; College of the Sequoias at Reedley; Fullerton at Long Beach.

JC Football Top Stories