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SoCal is filled with top recruits

Local teams got a good look at some of the highest-rated prep football players in the nation

Posted: January 31, 2010 8:35 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Along with Florida and Texas, the state of California is one of the biggest recruiting hotbeds in college football.

This Wednesday is National Signing Day, the day when recruits can formally sign a letter of intent to play for a school.

The Santa Clarita Valley has already produced several Division I recruits this year, including Santa Clarita Christian’s Collin Keoshian (BYU), Hart’s Ty MacArthur (Air Force) and Valencia’s Brock Vereen (Minnesota), Nolan O’Sullivan (Navy), Kevin Carrington (Air Force) and Jabari Howard (UC Davis).

Other parts of Southern California have produced some of the highest-rated recruits in the country — and SCV teams have faced several of them.

Palmdale’s Joshua Shaw is the No. 28 recruit in the nation according to the Web site, and he has issued a verbal commitment to Florida after also considering Ohio State.

Both Valencia and Hart defeated Palmdale during this past regular season.

Valencia also handled Loyola this past season, although Loyola was without injured running back Anthony Barr, who hurt his ankle early in the season.

Barr is the No. 50 recruit in the country according to Rivals and he has issued a verbal commitment to UCLA.

Highland of Palmdale tight end Christian Thomas is considering the Bruins along with several other schools but has yet to commit. Thomas is Rivals’ 112th-rated overall recruit and he helped Highland defeat Canyon this season.

Shaw, Thomas and Barr are all four-star recruits according to Rivals and

Saugus faced a pair of highly rated recruits in the preleague season. In a loss to Crespi, the Centurions got a look at Oregon-bound quarterback Bryan Bennett, who is a four-star prospect according to Rivals and Scout.

The Centurions also saw Newbury Park running back Cameron Roberson, the nation’s No. 231 recruit according to Rivals, who is headed to Notre Dame.

CIF-Southern Section Northern Division runner-up Moorpark defeated both Valencia and Canyon this season, and the Musketeers did so with the help of quarterback Brian Blechen. Blechen has issued a verbal commitment to Utah and is a three-star prospect according to both Rivals and Scout.

Southern California is also home to Rivals’ No. 1 overall recruit, defensive end Ronald Powell of Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley. Powell is a five-star recruit according to the two Web sites and has issued a verbal commitment to Florida after strongly considering USC.

But the Trojans are hardly hurting without Powell. USC’s annual powerhouse recruiting class is highlighted by wide receiver Kyle Prater, an Illinois native who is Rivals’ No. 3 overall recruit, and athlete Robert Woods, Rivals’ No. 6 overall recruit who helped Serra High School of Gardena win the CIF-SS Northwest Division title this past fall.

USC also has a commitment from Taft of Woodland Hills running back D.J. Morgan, whose father worked with Canyon High hurdler Taylor Thomas when she was younger.

Morgan, who won a state title in the 110-meter hurdles during track season, suffered a severe knee injury in a victory over Garfield in late November and is currently rehabilitating.

Rivals’ No. 17 overall recruit, San Diego-area running back Dillon Baxter, is also headed to USC.

UCLA, meanwhile, pulled off a huge coup recently by getting a verbal commitment from Oaks Christian defensive tackle Cassius Marsh, Rivals’ No. 33 overall recruit who de-committed from Louisiana State.

The Bruins are also getting Oaks Christian running back Malcolm Jones, a five-star recruit according to Scout; College of the Canyons defensive end Marquis Jackson, Rivals’ No. 27 overall community college recruit; and Serra High receiver Paul Richardson, a four-star player according to the Web sites.

The rankings of USC and UCLA’s classes differ according to the Web sites. USC’s class is ranked eighth by Rivals but just 19th by Scout, while UCLA’s haul is ranked 13th by Rivals and 15th by Scout.

While the team rankings differ, the sites agree that Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Auburn and Penn State will have top-10 recruiting classes.

A couple of the nation’s highest-rated recruits have yet to issue a commitment and will likely wait until signing day to announce their decisions. Minnesota offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson is believed to be leaning toward Ohio State but is also considering USC, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is believed to be down to Auburn and South Carolina, though he is also considering Florida State, Georgia, Oregon and Penn State.

The highest-rated California recruit yet to announce his decision is defensive back Dietrich Riley of St. Francis of La Canada. He will announce his decision on Wednesday on ESPN.


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