CaliFlorida Bowl: Final Comments

Here's our final group of notes from this year's CaliFlorida Bowl III in Torrance,

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Impact Player: Who came away with the hardest hits during the game?
My vote goes to Lincoln's (Fla.) DB Greg
Threat. Threat did a great job of coming on the run and delivering helmet-jarring
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Thrills: Probably the most enjoyable part of the CaliFlorida Bowl was watching
Devin Hester fly all over
the field. On special teams, defense and offense, Hester made statements and
drew immediate attention. He has quick get-ups and a gear that very few others
can reach.
In the Right Place at the Right Time: Los Angeles Manual Arts WR James
Finley ended up with the top stats at wide receiver and showed an ability
to get downfield and open quickly. Sure he scored once off a trick play, but
a touchdown is a touchdown and James had five catches for over 100 yards including
another touchdown.
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Backs that Could: With Florida's Tre
Smith, Tremaine McCullom
and Travis Glasford and California's
Hershel Dennis, Robby
Dubois (and Marcus O'Keith
all listed at 5-foot-11 or under, the CaliFlorida backfields still packed a
ton of punch. Dennis and Dubois seemed to do the most with their carries, but
Smith broke away for a couple solid runs and McCollum and Glasford both showed
good feet and quickness.
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Special Player: Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison DB Marcus
McCutcheon had a couple returns that may have gone the distance against
teams not as gifted in the speed category. On top of his special teams play,
McCutcheon put in the best performance for a corner on the California side.
Several times, McCutcheon was in on pass deflections and running stride for
stride with the speedy Sunshine State wideouts.
He's Got What? Personality: Besides being a dominant presence on the
defensive line, Wilmington (Calif.) Banning DL Fred
Matua's running mouth was a team and media favorite.
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Work and No play Makes Terrell a Dull DB: Miami (Fla.) Edison DB Terrell
Walden talked the talk and walked the walk. A talkative and energetic
young man, Walden was a favorite among coaches and players for his lighthearted
antics, but don't let his easygoing nature fool you. On the field, Walden was
all business and showed why he needs to be considered one of the top cover men
in the country.
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Someone Hiding in That Horse: With Gavin
Dickey (pictured), Pat Watkins
and Greg Threat stealing the headlines, it should be noted that their fellow
Lincoln Trojan players didn't hide and turned in solid performances. James
Jackson scored twice at fullback, DB Larry
Williams was solid in coverage and delivered one of the hardest hits
in the game while WR James White
scored twice and played as well as one could have possibly done in an all-star
game. No wonder the Trojans won the Florida 4A championship!
Why Was this Kid a Late Entry?: Myself and others were very pleased
a spot opened up on the California roster for Thousand Oaks (Calif.) WR Dave
Anderson. A teammate of QB Ben Olson, Anderson may have lost some of
the spotlight to his nationally recognized partner. However, Anderson put to
rest any doubts of his ability with several key catches and showing an ability
to find the open space in a secondary that had very little.
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I am Your Father: With his trade mark visor shield inside his helmet, the
nation's top tight end, Marcedes Lewis
looked Darth Vader on the sideline. However, once he stepped on the field, Lewis
was more like Chewbacca in pads. Always looking for someone to hit and rarely
trying to run around anyone when he had the ball, this big man looks to punish
anyone who gets in his way.
Almost Miller Time: Fresno (Calif.) Edison DB Aaron
Miller showed great technique and good speed. With his solid coverage,
Miller had a couple chances at interceptions but couldn't haul in the ball.
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Tall to Be: Miami (Fla.) American Senior DT John
Wood was drawing comparisons to Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp because
of his explosive first step and ability to run down running backs and quarterbacks
from the defensive tackle position.
Two of a Kind: While brother Tremaine performed well at running back,
Miami Southridge DB Jermaine McCollum
may have moved up on a couple coaches lists with his performance in the secondary.
With Walden and Threat starting, Florida lost nothing noticeable when McCollum
came in to replace them. Seems these McCollum brothers want to stick together
and are pushing themselves as a packaged deal on the next level.
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but Deadly: Despite a lack of stats, Glades Central LB William
Beckford was certainly a concern for the California squad. Beckford
did the dirty work battling double teams and taking on blocks to allow his fellow
teammates to make tackles.
You Can Never Have Enough Coverage: Sure I've mentioned about 20 other
defensive backs, but I'd be mistaken if I didn't mention Pacific Palisade (Calif.)
DB Justin Clayton. Clayton is a 6-foot, 200 pound cover man with good
feet and quickness. Would I take him in a foot race against Florida WR Ryan
Moore, no. But, there are not many Ryan Moore's out there and Clayton could
more than handle your typical college receiver and may turn out to be a better
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the Menace: Poly RB Hershel Dennis
turned in a stellar performance, hitting the holes hard and never letting down.
I would have like to have seen Dennis run behind a better offensive line, or
at least one that had spent more than a couple days together.
Not Your Father's Mr. Rogers: Miami (Fla.) Norland DL Baraka
Atkins showed a great football sense to go along with a good combination
of size and speed. In on a couple sacks and stuffing screen plays, Brown could
be heard yelling, "We didn't come out here to be nice!" after stops
by the Florida defense.
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Magnet: Santonio Holmes
seemed to find a way to get his hands on the ball easily and often ... A sure
sign of a receiver who's going to do good things on the next level. Although
I'm not sure how he's going to explain being thrown out of bounds by Poly Safety
Darnell Bing to his buddies
back in Florida ... On what looked like a touchdown for Holmes on a reverse,
Bing closed quickly like a cheetah pouncing a gazelle.
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Time you Throw the Ball Down Field, Bing Bing!: If Holmes was an offensive
magnet, then Long Beach (Calif.) Poly safety Darnell
Bing was his counterpart. Bing was all over the field and showed that
he's as fast as advertised. Probably the meanest player on the field, Bing didn't
back down from anyone. Bing has a star quality about him and he loves being
a primetime player.
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Dreams Do NOT Come True: With Florida safety Pat
Watkins (pictured) and California tight end Marcedes
Lewis on the pre-game rosters, I was hoping for a meeting between these
too giants. I mean, who wouldn't like to see the collision created by 6-foot-6
Lewis going across the middle for a pass with 6-3 Watkins coming up to break
it up. Unfortunately, Watkins was ill all week and did not play.