For years, the Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison seven on seven passing tournament has been a great opportunity to see some of the top football talent in Southern California, and this year was no exception.
The Edison Chargers ended up defeating Valencia (Calif.) 39-18 to win their own tournament, but the outcome of the tournament is always secondary. Here's a look at who stood out on Saturday, including a handful of players from the Class of 2010 who will definitely be high Division I prospects in two years.
Matt Barkley, 6-3, 220 QB Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Barkley is regarded as one of the nation's top quarterbacks, and he definitely had his moments. His ability to throw with zip or touch is unmatched, and he has a great feel for the position as well throwing the ball early before his receivers are out of their break. He looked flustered at times, however, and he is still trying to click with a whole new receiver corps. There were times when Barkley threw to an area and his receiver either didn't finish his route or just gave up on the ball. The signal-caller still oozes talent and when you combine his poise, toughness and leadership, it's tough to imagine Barkley as anything but a star at USC.
Cameron Deen, 6-3, 190 QB Covina (Calif.) South Hills
Deen was very impressive all day, and he showed he has very nice upside. He has a long, lanky frame he's still growing into, and he's not close to physically peaking. He may have had the quickest release in the tournament; his arm was live and he was very accurate. Deen spins it very consistently, and this was easily the best he's thrown this spring or summer. He is still waiting for his first scholarship offer, but whomever brings him in will be getting a steal.
Clark Evans, 6-4, 210 QB Los Alamitos (Calif.)
Evans has a great group of receivers to throw to, and like Deen, this was the best we've seen the Colorado commit throw this summer. The Tim Tebow comparisons some threw out last year are not close to accurate, but Evans does have some solid tools to work with. He's a big, strong kid with good arm strength, and he was very accurate in the game we watched. He moves around well for a big man and made good decisions with the ball. He still has some mechanical issues to work on including his ball placement and tightening his release, but there is some upside there.
Ricky Marvray, 5-11, 185 WR Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Marvray was the top receiver at the NIKE Camp at USC back in April, and he was dominant once again Saturday. The receiver has incredible body control and even though he's not considered a burner, he doesn't have any trouble getting behind the defense. Marvray is very good when the ball is in the air; he uses his basketball background to outleap opposing corners. He has great hands, is physically tough and is a fierce competitor. Throw in a 3.8 GPA and a great worth ethic off the field and you have one very good prospect, making it very shocking that he is yet to garner a single Pac 10 offer.
Terrance Brown, 6-0, 160 DB Orange Lutheran (Calif.)
Brown was the best pure cover corner at the tournament. Brown has great football instincts, and we didn't see a single pass completed on him in the game and a half we saw of him. The corner has very quick feet, showed good makeup speed and had multiple interceptions for which he made great breaks on the ball. Brown plays physical and when he puts more weight on his relatively narrow frame, he'll be able to take his game to anther level.
Vontaze Burfict, 6-2, 235 LB Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Seven on seven tournaments don't normally feature linebackers, but Burfict is not a typical linebacker. He has a college body right now, above average speed and despite harnessing his aggression quite a bit, was extremely physical. Any time a receiver or running back came across the middle, Burfict would casually throw a shoulder or elbow into them to knock them off their route but the impact would send the opposing player flat on his back. The game always seems to slow down for Burfict, and he has to be among the top two or three linebacker prospects in the senior class.
Preston Spence, 6-1, 190 LB Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison
Spence is a very intriguing player who could end up at safety if he can't put on enough weight to stay at linebacker. He covers a ton of ground, is very twitchy and was among the most explosive athletes on the field. He's an ideal weakside 'backer because of his athleticism and cover skills, and grade concerns are the only thing holding him back from holding a handful of scholarship offers right now.
John Michael Davis, 6-1, 215 LB Tesoro (Calif.)
Davis transferred in from Santa Margarita and immediately gives Tesoro one of the top defenses in Orange County. Davis had a great game when the Titans upset Mater Dei during pool play. The Boise State commitment is one of those players who is always around the ball. He's very smart and has a good understanding of how to play the game. He's a plus athlete with a solid frame and plays with an edge to him. Davis has been one of the areas top linebackers since his sophomore year and the Broncos got a steal when they landed him.
Shaquille Richardson, 6-0, 175 DB Los Alamitos (Calif.)
The Griffins had two former corners drafted this past April (Antoine Cason and Orlando Scandrick) and the Los Al coaches feel Richardson is better at this stage of his career than either of those NFL prospects were at his age. He was definitely the most physical corner we saw; he was manhandling opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage. He has a great frame, and with a young face, you can tell he's not done growing. With two more years to improve his speed and overall athleticism, Richardson should develop into one of the premier corners in the state.
Wade Houston, 6-0, 180 RB-DB Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison
Houston showed he could be recruited at the high Division I level at two positions. He excelled at both running back and safety and has a lot of physical tools. He has a nice frame, good speed, nice wiggle, caught the ball well out of the backfield and made very good breaks on the ball at safety. There were times when he was able to read and react to a play quicker than the linebackers playing five to 10 yards in front of him.
Jordan Zumwalt, 6-4, 205 LB Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison
Zumwalt plays inside linebacker for the Chargers but likely will move to defensive end at the next level. He's still filling out his frame and with the size of his hands and length of his arms, Zumwalt could be in the 6-6 range by the time he's a senior. The athlete plays with as much fire and passion as anyone we saw and has a motor that never slows down. He makes plays from sideline to sideline but as he continues to grow, he may lose some of his range for the position. Saying that, he has a great upside as a rush end and is someone to be watched very closely this coming season.
Brandon Brown, 6-2, 245 LB Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Brown just transferred in from nearby Norco and gives the Huskies a great one-two punch at linebacker. Brown is a thick kid, very strong in the upper body and a better-than-average athlete. He has good range but can still improve his overall athleticism. He loves the weight room and is very good in the pads but like Zumwalt, it will be interesting to see if he outgrows the position.
Ify Umodu, 6-3, 185 DB Covina (Calif.) South Hills
Umodu has two older brothers playing at the Div I level (Tobi-UCLA, Kebin-Air Force) and is by far the best athlete in the family by a wide margin. He projects as a receiver, safety or even corner at the next level and made several athletic plays all tournament long. At his size, Umodu has good speed and hips, is a physical player and like just about every player out of the South Hills program, plays with a nasty streak on the field. At receiver, he has excellent hands and adjusts well to the ball.
Victor Backwell, 5-10, 160 WR Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Although just a sophomore in the fall, Blackwell could be Matt Barkley's go-to guy by the middle of the season. Simply put, Blackwell is a big-time player and will be a national recruit by the time he's a senior. He's still raw in terms of his route running and knowing how to use his incredible athleticism, but he has a great burst off the line, soft hands and can stretch a defense. He runs well after the catch and will have every opportunity to make plays in the Monarch's pass-happy offense this season.