We were in attendance Thursday night when Orange Lutheran (Calif.) took on Anaheim (Calif.) Servite in one of the better games we'll see all year. One player we were especially interested in checking out was Lancer junior tight end Blake Ayles, a likely top 100 player nationally a year from now.
Ayles, 6-4, 235 pounds was already one of the state's top tight ends his sophomore year. The athlete earned all-state underclass honors a year ago after catching 34 balls for 417 yards and six touchdowns. He's a big kid who can run, is a very good blocker and has great hands- basically the total package of what you're looking for at the position.
Before the game, we caught up with Lancer OC Rod Sherman who said Ayles already has a handful of scholarship offers on the table.
"UCLA, Cal, Arizona State and Colorado have already offered," Sherman said. "He's one of those kids who will likely be offered by just about everyone after they see him. He's a big time kid with a lot of tools and is a hard working athlete as well."
With a couple of teammates, QB Aaron Corp and DL Michael Reardon, already committed to USC, we asked Sherman if that was the school of choice for Ayles as well.
"Blake does like SC a lot," Sherman said. "I know he's going to give them a serious look but unlike Aaron and Michael, I think Blake wants to go through the process a little more and take some visits.
"He likes UCLA and has been to two of their games this year. He's also high on ASU because of how they use the tight end and he likes Notre Dame also so I think he'll really take his time with the process before making a decision."
As for the game itself, Ayles has been playing with a bum shoulder and wasn't a big factor in the game. He usually plays on both sides of the ball but was unable to play his normal defensive end position opposite Reardon. He had just one catch in the game as Servite paid very close attention to him all night.