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February 6, 2013
Signing Day 2013 is upon us. Each year on the first Wednesday of February, high school players can sign their letter of intent and make it official which school they will attend. As always Southern California is loaded with top high school prospects and here is a list of some names that you will be seeing a lot of in the next few years at the collegiate level, headlined by none other than the USA Today All-USA Defensive Player of the Year, Su'a Cravens.
QuarterbackHeadliner: Hayden Rettig,Cathedral High School, Los Angeles
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Nick Stevens, Vista Murrieta High School
Rettig headlines a solid class of quarterbacks coming out of the Southland. He rebounded from a torn ACL early in his junior season by throwing for 3400+ yards and 40 touchdowns in his senior campaign. Rettig is a strong armed pro-style drop back passer who will head to LSU. Troy Williams is the 2nd best quarterback in the state, yet is the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation. He led his Narbonne Gauchos squad to the Open Division State Regional Bowl and will enroll at Washington in time for spring practice. Stevens is a name to keep an eye on, a pro style quarterback with a long, lanky frame that can be developed. He will head to Colorado State to play Jim McElwain and compete for a starting job with three current players, who have yet to establish themselves as the full-time starter.
Running BackHeadliner: Terrell Newby, Chaminade High School, West Hills
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Joseph Ajeigbe, Norco High School
The running back position is in a down year in Southern California in the class of 2013. Newby is small in stature but is a work horse back that headlines the group with ability to break tackles. He is also very quick in the open field. He will head to Nebraska. Terrell has the potential to be a 3 down back for the Huskers. Craig Lee is the second best back in Southern California. The Redlands standout heading to UCLA is versatile and has breakaway speed and good balance. Duke might have found a hidden gem in the Inland Empire in Ajeigbe, a smaller but powerful running back from one of the best systems for a running back in Southern California under Toby Gerhart's father Todd at Norco. He rushed for 1505 yards this past season.
Wide ReceiverHeadliner: Steven Mitchell, Alemany High School, Mission Hills
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Bryce Bobo, Charter Oak High School, Covina
Southern California is loaded this year at the wide receiver position and Mitchell is the best of that bunch. The talented wide out is a skilled route runner who catches very well with his hands. Mitchell will head to USC and is in the mold of former Trojan standouts Keary Colbert and Steve Smith, a player who isn't the biggest or the fastest but does all the little things right to be successful. Tyree Robinson of Lincoln in San Diego in my opinion is the 2nd best receiver in the State. He is one half of the talented dual sport identical twins that will play football and walk on to the basketball team in college. They decided this morning to stick with Oregon. Robinson is a raw, athletically gifted wideout could be the best player in this class down the road.
Bobo is a speedy wide out, with good size at 6'3. Bryce is part of coach Mike MacIntyre's first recruiting class at Colorado, he has the potential to have early playing time on a team that is young on the outside as he joins standout Paul Richardson, who missed this season due to injury and former Westlake star Nelson Spruce, who saw solid playing time as a true freshman.
Tight EndHeadliner: Marcus Baugh, JW North High School, Riverside
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Mat Boesen, West High School, Torrance
The future Ohio State Buckeye, Baugh is a versatile pass catching threat from the tight end position. Urban Meyer came into the IE and plucked out 5 star Ronald Powell a few years ago at Florida and he did that once again with the 4 star Baugh. He has the build of a starting Big 10 tight end, a physical kid who can make plays and will put on weight to his frame to become a better blocker. Thomas Duarte is the second best tight end in Southern California in my opinion. The Mater Dei standout, headed to UCLA, could also be classified as a bigger wide receiver. He has great hands and, similar to Baugh, a good frame to put weight on. Both players can be a traditional hand in the ground tight end and can flex out and line up as a slot wide receiver. Boesen, headed to Boise State, is a physical tight end, who can really block and could transition into a a fullback in college.
Offensive TackleHeadliner: Nico Falah, St. John Bosco High School, Bellflower
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Erik Bunte, Mission Viejo High School
Falah narrowly edges Cameron Hunt for the headliner of the offensive tackle class. He is an athletic tackle who has the frame to put weight on over time. It will be interesting to see how good Falah, a US Army All American, can become when he puts on weight to compliment his excellent technique and quickness. Hunt is a player I first saw as a sophomore getting playing time on a loaded Centennial squad. He has since developed and is a physical kid with a mean streak in him. He will likely head to Oregon. Bunte has had busy year ranging from transferring to de-committing. He has since found a home at CAL, he has guard size but the flexibility and foot quickness to play tackle.
Offensive GuardHeadliner: John Lopez, Orange Lutheran High School
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Emerald Faletuipapai, Serra High School, Gardena
Lopez is the top offensive guard in Southern California and has the potential to be a starter down the road for UCLA. The future Bruin has elite size, 6'6 315, that with a redshirt year to shape his body and get stronger can become a mainstay on the offensive line for years to come. Alex Redmond of Los Alamitos will join Lopez as part of a loaded UCLA offensive line class. Redmond is a big offensive lineman with good feet. Faletuipapai has been a mainstay on the Serra offensive line for years. The mammoth offensive guard will head to Houston and has the potential to be very good for the Cougars as he develops his body and technique.
CenterHeadliner: Scott Quessenberry, La Costa Canyon High School, Carlsbad
Quessenberry is the number 5 center in the nation and top in the state. The younger brother of San Jose State standout offensive lineman David, who recently had a huge Senior Bowl, is much more advanced at this stage than his older brother. He is a versatile kid, who has the size and quickness to potentially play all three offensive line positions.
Defensive EndHeadliner: Kylie Fitts, Redlands East Valley High School
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Fred Melifonwu, Lincoln High School, San Diego
Fitts edged out Joe Mathis of Upland for the top spot. Fitts has prototypical size for a defensive end, and the quickness, and motor to play the run and rush the passer. He decided on Tuesday night to attend UCLA. Mathis, however is solid to Washington as he announced at the US Army All American Game. Jo Jo is very strong and has the size to play both end and tackle at the next level. Melifonwu is an interesting prospect to keep an eye on. He is a quick, raw defensive end prospect that could develop into something special with time. He will stay home and attend San Diego State.
Defensive TackleHeadliner: Kenneth Clark, Rialto High School
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Travis Miller, Simi Valley High School
Clark is the prototypical strong side defensive tackle in UCLA's scheme. Clark is an active player who can who can add weight and strength to be an impact player for the Bruins to go along with his good motor. Tustin's David Maka is the 2nd best defensive tackle in the region. The Arizona bound lineman has the size to play on both sides of the ball as a nose guard and center. Miller is a rising prospect, who parlayed a nice senior year at Simi into a scholarship joining his former teammate, freshman tight end Jordan Thiel in San Jose.
Outside LinebackerHeadliner: Tyrell Robinson, Lincoln High School, San Diego
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Gabe Perez, Valencia High School, Placentia
The other half of the talented twins, Tyrell Robinson is the top outside linebacker in Southern California. He is also athletically gifted and very instinctive. He can play the run and is a sure tackler in addition to being able to use his exceptional quickness in pass coverage. He along with his brother will go to the same school and announced this morning that they will stick with Oregon. The fact that they both are this good, while splitting time and playing a lot of basketball is a testament to how good both Tyrell and Tyree can be if they focus exclusively on football.
Cameron Judge falls in a long line of impact players from Oaks Christian. He is an aggressive weak-side linebacker, who is a big time hitter. He will decide between Arizona State and UCLA on signing day. Boise State came into So Cal and nabbed a prospect that was hardly on anyone's radar in Perez, a raw defensive end prospect who will play outside linebacker in college. This might be a steal in a few years.
Inside LinebackerHeadliner: Viliami Latu, Rancho Cucamonga High School
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: George Frazier, Monrovia High School
If you liked reading about twins so far, you will like the Latu twins. Viliami is the top inside linebacker in Southern California, while A.J. is more of an outside backer. Viliami is a physical kid who looks for contact and finishes through tacklers. He is a punishing linebacker. The twins have committed to Arizona State. Frazier is a Mike MacIntyre type player - physical, quick, and versatile enough to excel at multiple positions. Thus it was no surprise to see him stick with his commitment to Colorado. Frazier can play outside and inside linebacker in Colorado's scheme in the Pac 12. Mac came in the San Gabriel Valley 3 years ago and nabbed Keith Smith, who was a 3-year starter for him. It would not surprise me if Frazier has similar success.
CornerbackHeadliner: Chris Hawkins, Rancho Cucamonga High School
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: Dionza Blue, Bishop Amat High School, La Puente
Similar to wide receiver, Southern California is loaded with cornerbacks. Hawkins is the top cornerback in Southern California, as he followed up a good senior year with an impressive week in San Antonio at the US Army All American Game. He has impressive feet and is very fluid transitioning in coverage. Hawkins has already enrolled at USC and will take part of spring practice. Jermaine Kelly of Salesian in Los Angeles de-committing from UCLA and heading to Washington shows how well Steve Sarkisian and his staff recruit LA. Kelly is a tall, rangy, athlete who could potentially play cornerback and safety for the Huskies. Chris Peterson might have flipped himself a starting cornerback as he convinced Blue to de-commit from Fresno State. Dionza has good ball skills and can be a lock down corner down the road.
SafetyHeadliner: Su'a Cravens, Vista Murrieta High School
Under The Radar Player to Keep an Eye On: David Price, Long Beach Polytechnic High School
Southern California's finest position group is the safety position. The number 1, 2 and 4 players in the state are safeties from the Southland. The top safety in the nation is Cravens, a physical, fluid athlete, who makes tackles and plays. He is the most instinctual football player I have seen at this level in my young early 20s life. Cravens has enrolled at USC already for spring practice.
Max Redfield is a natural free safety, who has elite cover skills and ball skills. The Mission Viejo standout is the #3 safety in nation, he has the hands to be a wide receiver for some schools. Redfield will sign with Notre Dame on signing day.
Tahaan Goodman and Hawkins were teammates in high school and at the US Army Game. However, they will be opposite sides of town in college, as Goodman will head to UCLA. The Bruins are getting a knock out punching safety, who can really run. He can play possibly both free and strong safety at the next level.
Price might be one of the few under the radar players in the eyes of college coaches from the powerhouse Poly program in some time. Price does a little bit of everything. He can cover and tackle and play both safety positions. He will likely join fellow Jackrabbit wide receiver Thomas Tucker as San Jose State signees.