Interview with Lamar Jackson

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One of the hottest players in all of the west coast is safety, Lamar Jackson. Jackson (Elk Grove, CA/Franklin High School) possesses a unique mix of size and speed, measuring in at 6’3”, 205 lbs and running a 4.46 40-yard-dash. Jackson competed at the Nike Opening Regional Camp in Oakland this past weekend and earned himself an invite to the prestigious Army All-American game. I was able to talk with Jackson about his recruiting process.

So right now in the recruiting process, what schools stand out the most?
Jackson: “USC, UCLA, Oregon, Michigan, Alabama, Washington and when I say standing out, I’m just going off of who’s recruiting me the hardest.”

Where does USC stand with you right now?
Jackson: “USC is high with me. I love the constant communication I have with the coaches.”

How important are depth charts to you with USC being so thin at safety?
Jackson: “Very important. I plan on coming in and playing right away, and with USC thin at safety it’s great for me.”

At this point, do you have a date or a timetable for your commitment?
Jackson: “I want to commit on TV- so the latest would be at the Army All-American game, but if it feels right before than I will do so”

Is there anyone that you want to play with in college?
Jackson: “Not really- but I will love to play with another top guy in my class like CJ Pollard”

If you had to describe the way you play to someone who has never seen you play, how would you describe your game?
Jackson: “I would describe my game as physical, technical with the hips, and speed to recover. Also I have a natural feel for routes with ability to take routes away.”

Do you have any plans for visits this summer?
Jackson “I might come down for the Rising Stars Camp on June 20th”

What have been the worst and the best part of your recruitment?
Jackson: “The best has just been the recruiting in general- and there’s really not a worst thing for me, I’m just enjoying it”

With Jackson playing so well this past Spring, I would expect big things from this elite athlete in this upcoming season and into college.

Interview with USC Target and Elite 2016 Tyler Vaughns

I recently interviewed USC target and elite 2016 WR Tyler Vaughns from La Puente, California. Vaughns, who has a offer from the Trojans, gave me his latest info on his recruiting and his goals for his junior season at Bishop Amat. After completing this interview with him, I would say that USC is in great shape with the very talented WR.

It’s early in your recruitment, who is standing out?
Vaughns: I’d say UM, Washington, USC, UCLA, Alabama, Cal.

What do you like about USC?
Vaughns: The players and the coaches because when I’m there it feels like home. They want what’s best for you and your education, not just sports.

How would you describe your relationship with the new coaching staff?
Vaughns: Great, they treat me like I was one of theirs. They tell me where I would fit into the playbook.

What are you hoping to see from USC on the field this year?
Vaughns: Great offense and a good defense. Solid receivers and cornerback.

Are you going to be a guy who commits early and helps build the class, or are you going to be a guy who takes his time?
Vaughns: I will be committing early by the end of my junior year.

Will you be going out to any USC fall camp practices?
Vaughns: I am going to be at the first practice of the year.

What are your goals for your junior season?
Vaughns: For me, I want to hit a thousand yards with 15-20 touchdowns. As a team, to average 400-450 yards passing and running yards a game.

Interview with Elite 2015 Linebacker Cameron Smith

Yesterday I interviewed Granite Bay, CA linebacker Cameron Smith about his commitment to USC and who he is trying to recruit to USC. Smith is going to be a Spring 2015 early enrollee at SC.

What was the main reason for your commitment and how strong is it at this point?
Smith: ”That’s hard to point out the main reason. I just felt it’s where I wanted to play my whole life. I love Coach Sirmon, he’s a great mentor for me and the education is unbreakable.”

Now going forward you are going to be an early enrollee. Are you going to be taking any visits before signing with USC?
Smith: ”No I wouldn’t do that. That’s just the type of person I am. As much as I would love to see a Wisconsin, or something in those terms, I want people to know how serious I am with USC so no I won’t be taking any visits.”

Now that you are all USC who are a couple of guys that you are working on to add to the class?
Smith: “Iman “Biggie” Marshall, John Houston, Porter Gustin, Marvell Tell and Osa Masina. More defensive guys because that’s who I really have relationships with. I’ll let Ricky (Town) get the offensive guys.”

What are your goals for you senior season?
Smith: “I would love to win another championship with my team- that’s our main goal this year.”

Lastly, what are you looking to see from USC on the field this year?
Smith: “I’m not really interested in how they play this year. I know they are going to do great things, I’m just excited to watch.”

Ricky Town Elite 11 Update

When Ricky Town arrived in Oregon for the Elite 11 competition, he checked in at 6’3’’ 205lbs. Right away they went to work and did army training designed to help them become better leaders. After a few hours of the army training, they did yoga to help get them “get loose” for the next day of practice. Throughout the first day, Ricky Town was not playing like he normally does. He didn’t really make a name for himself and California QBs like Josh Rosen and Brady White were out performing him in a big way.

However, Ricky came out on the second day of practice ready to let it all out. In the 7-on-7 part of the day, Ricky went 5/6 with two touchdowns. He threw the ball with great velocity and if it wasn’t for one throw that he let get away from him, he would have been the top quarterback of the day.

I would put him right in the #3 spot behind Jarrett Stidham and Brady White. I would expect Town to make it to the next round of the Elite 11 seamlessly. Right now, because of not doing well on the first day, Ricky is ranked #11 out of 18 according to the Elite 11 rankings. If today was the last day, Town would be going to the next round.

Elite 11 Preview

The Elite 11 competition consists of the top 18 rising senior quarterbacks in the country.  These quarterbacks were chosen from the various Elite 11 regional competitions across the country that took place this spring. At regionals, quarterbacks received advanced, one-on-one instruction. They spent the day in instructional drills, accuracy competitions, routes-on-air and a final two-minute drill. Top performers earned a spot in the Elite 11 QB Finals, which begin today.

All quarterbacks listed below had to prove themselves to make it to the finals, but I think that the top five are in a class of their own. All five of them have already committed, but they all are very different. First, number five on my list is Blake Barnett (6’3’’ 195 lbs). Barnett was originally committed to Notre Dame, but recently flipped his commitment to Nick Saban and Alabama. Not only does Barnett have a great arm; he has the ability to run the ball- as he showed in his Junior year at Santiago High School in California. He threw for 2,322 yards and 22 touchdowns, and ran for 695 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Next, at number four, is Brady White (6’2’’ 190 lbs). Brady is currently committed to Arizona State. White is more of your typical pocket passer, which might bode well for him at the Elite 11. In his Junior year at Hart High School in California he threw for an outstanding 4,535 passing yards and 50 total touchdowns.

At number three we have USC commit Ricky Town (6’4’’ 205 lbs). Town was originally committed to Alabama, but flipped shortly after new OC Lane Kiffin was hired. Town has all of the tools that you look for in a quarterback. He has elite height, a big arm, and one of the quickest releases you will ever see in a high school quarterback. Town is one of the most technically sound QB’s in the whole class, which is why I think he has a strong chance to win the whole event. In his Junior year at St. Bonaventure in California, he completed almost 70 percent of his pass attempts- tallying 2,300 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Next, we have the most exciting quarterback in whole country, Kyler Murray (5’11’’ 180 lbs). He is a bit short, but man is he a playmaker. He is currently committed to Texas A&M and might make Aggies fans remember an old QB who was less then 6 ft. In Murray’s Junior year at Allen High School in Texas, he threw for a unreal 5,673 yards and 63 touchdowns- and also running for 2,644 yards and 44 scores. Murray might be, in some eyes, the favorite to win.

In my number one spot we have California quarterback Josh Rosen (6’4’’ 205 lbs). Rosen, a UCLA commit, is also one of the more pocket passer QBs. He has a huge arm and great accuracy. In his Junior year at St. John Bosco High School in California, he threw for 3,200 yards and 39 scores.

It’s going to be a great competition and it’s almost too close to call. But if I had to guess, I think either Town, Murray or Rosen will win.

My Elite 11 rankings
1. Josh Rosen, 5-Star (Bellflower, California)
2. Kyler Murray, 5-Star (Allen, Texas)
3. Ricky Town, 5-Star (Ventura, California)
4. Brady White, 4-Star (Santa Clarita, California)
5. Blake Barnett, 4-Star (Corona, California)
6. Jarrett Stidham, 4-Star (Stephenville, Texas)
7. Drew Lock, 4-Star (Lee’s Summit, Missouri)
8. Deondre Francois, 4-Star (Orlando, Florida)
9. Sheriron Jones, 4-Star (Moreno Valley, California).
10. Brian Lewerke, 3-Star (Phoenix, Arizona)
11. Ross Bowers, 3-Star (Bothell, Washington)
12. Travis Waller, 4-Star (Anaheim, California)
13. Brandon Wimbush, 4-Star (Jersey City, New Jersey)
14. Ben Hicks, 3-Star (Waco, Texas)
15. Alex Malzone, 4-Star (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan)
16. Sam Darnold, 3-Star (San Clemente, California)
17. De’Andre Johnson, 3-Star (Jacksonville, Florida)
18. Ryan Brand, 3-Star (Detroit, Michigan)