Gorney's Takeaways: Physical five-star, 2020 class shines in L.A.
GLENDORA, Calif. - Stop four of the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp Series presented by adidas took place in the Los Angeles area on Sunday and there was plenty of talent from California and surrounding states. Dozens of players made their respective marks on camp, but below are five of the major takeaways from the event.
FLOWE IS SOMETHING ELSE
The talk of the camp was 2020 linebacker Justin Flowe, who absolutely dominated from the first snap until the end even though he was banged up from snowboarding recently. He goes by “Babyman” and that name was being yelled throughout the day because the Upland, Calif., standout is incredibly physical and wants to go after players all the time. He’s big, strong and athletic. Flowe covers like a cornerback and hits like an 18-wheeler. There’s no question he’s one of the best players in his class and it’s hard to believe a lot of linebackers in 2020 could have a bigger impact on the field. As for his recruitment, Flowe is in the early stages. He has 24 offers with Alabama, USC and others leading the way but the 2020 recruit is nowhere near narrowing things down.
STEELE WAY MORE PHYSICAL
Chris Steele has always been good and now the five-star cornerback has gotten much more physical at the line of scrimmage and it’s really paying off. The Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco standout did not let receivers get into their routes, he took one receiver and slammed them to the ground in the first five yards and then he was excellent on not being too handsy later in the route and just tipping passes away. Another thing that stands out about Steele is that he shows up to events every single weekend looking to dominate and enforce his will during every rep. The five-star has been on the circuit for years but Steele never goes through the motions and he always battles everybody every single time he’s on the field.
Ryan Hilinski won the quarterback MVP award and proved he’s one of the better prospects at that position in California but it was an exceptionally tight race and numerous players could have won it. The Orange (Calif.) Lutheran standout got the nod but Santa Clarita (Calif.) West Ranch’s Weston Eget was right there as well. Eget was the surprise of the day, dealing all over the field and definitely creating buzz as he continued to perform throughout the camp. Four-star Hank Bachmeier also looked strong along with four-star Jayden Daniels and then a bunch of 2020 stars looked great. Leading the way was Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral’s Jack Miller, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco’s D.J. Uiagalelei and Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei’s Bryce Young.
CHAD JOHNSON JR. IS FOR REAL
There is always extra scrutiny around sons of former football players or in recent years rappers in Southern California. Some have backed up their status, others haven’t. But 2020 receiver Chad Johnson, Jr., is definitely backing up his name and reputation and looked excellent throughout the camp. The Los Angeles Venice standout is a tremendous route runner to get open against almost any defensive back and when elite corners stick with him, Johnson can make the tough catch. Even after banging up his knee on a diving reception, the 2020 receiver came back in and kept competing. Johnson showed off excellent hands, he was a terrific route runner and his competitiveness was off the charts.
BUNKLEY-SHELTON GETS NOTICED
Right on the heels of the wide receiver MVP, which was won by Johnson, was 2020 Lavon Bunkley-Shelton who had an outstanding day at receiver and showed off his abilities all over the field. Early in the day, the Gardena (Calif.) Serra showed off his abilities to shake defenders in the cat and mouse drills and then later during one-on-ones, Bunkley-Shelton caught short, medium and long passes, regularly beating defensive backs. There had been some concerns whether he would develop physically (and get taller) but neither is an issue now as he’s getting bigger and strong - and dominating even more.