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Rivals Recap: Day 1 of Pylon 7v7

LAS VEGAS -- Day 1 of the loaded Pylon 7v7 Tournament is in the books. Here is a look at some of prospects who impressed and others who surprised during the opening day of the event.

I WAS IMPRESSED BY...

Darnay Holmes
Darnay Holmes

Darnay Holmes is absolutely in the running for the best cornerback in the 2017 class. The five-star from Calabasas, Calif., is so good in everything he does -- whether it’s being physical at the line, covering receivers in their routes, getting his hand in there to poke a pass away, everything. Holmes, who likes Stanford and UCLA among others, never takes a play off, wants to be the best and goes out every down to prove it.

Five-star Najee Harris won’t play wide receiver long term but in a 7on7 setting he can move outside and fit in just well. The Antioch, Calif., recruit looked natural at receiver, caught a few of deep passes with defensive backs hanging all over him and even had an incredible one-handed grab even though it was ruled out-of-bounds. Harris is a special running back with incredible size but he could also catch passes if needed.

Four-star receiver Tyjon Lindsey is such a headache to defend in the slot. The Corona (Calif.) Centennial prospect has dynamite speed which he also times up so well with exceptional cutting and moves and then he catches everything thrown his way. Lindsey isn’t a huge target but he gets open against anybody, can handle physical corners because he separates so well and he’s a constant deep threat.

Two of the top dual-threat quarterbacks were participating as four-stars Tate Martell and Tua Tagovailoa were in separate brackets but the outcomes were the same. Both had their teams dominating and cruising to Sunday’s playoff round.

Martell, a Texas A&M commit from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, looked to throw a football with a little more pace on it but Tagavailoa was more accurate throughout the day. The Honolulu St. Louis recruit who has USC and UCLA on top put the ball on the money time and again and his lefty release is smooth and natural. Both are outstanding prospects but in slightly different ways.

I WAS SURPRISED BY...

Dorian Thompson-Robinson
Dorian Thompson-Robinson ()

This was the first time I saw four-star athlete Isaiah Pola-Mao in person and he was good on both sides of the ball. The four-star athlete from Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe has tremendous length, he’s long and wiry, and he gets it done at receiver and safety. He’s not a natural pass catcher but he can high point the ball and get on top of smaller cornerbacks. At safety, he can turn and run and make plays because of his long arms.

Las Vegas Gorman’s backup quarterback is a fantastic player who should land national offers. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a 2018 prospect with fantastic size, a great arm and he’s a natural leader. Sometimes he’s inaccurate but he’s a physical specimen who is a tremendous athlete and so he could be special. So far, Colorado State and UNLV have offered but Pac-12 schools are interested even though he backs up Martell.

The Ground Zero defensive backs are impressive. Soft USC commit Thomas Graham is the leader of the group and he’s so athletic and dynamic that he can cover anybody even though he doesn’t have great size. Others who were surprisingly dominant throughout the day were Washington State three-star commit Tayari Venable and Etiwanda, Calif., CB Andre Grayson, who’s had an excellent offseason.

One of the best-looking receivers at the entire event is Las Vegas Desert Pines’ Randal Grimes, who is all of 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds. He’s a smooth route runner, a huge target who can play inside or outside and he also has great hands. Grimes, who recently picked up Oregon State and Washington State as his two biggest offers, is easily a Pac-12 player because of his special physical abilities.

Elijah Isaiah
Elijah Isaiah ()

One quarterback who has emerged in California in the last few weeks is Nicholas Sipe from Villa Park. He has outstanding size, is put together well and throws a beautiful football. Sipe is intelligent, makes the right reads and then delivers the ball right on the money. The Villa Park recruit has had some good showings recently, Colorado State has offered and more should be coming.

DB Guru always has impressive defensive backs and this year is no different as the Fresno club is led by 2018 Elijah Isaiah. The Fresno (Calif.) Edison standout breaks on the ball well, always seems to have a great read on where the play is going and then he has the athleticism to make something happen. In a long line of great defensive backs coming out of Fresno, Isaiah could be one of the next big ones.

Two big surprises on the loaded Pro Way team were receiver Chris Brooks, who has an Arizona offer and could be close to a Washington State one as well and defensive back Marques Evans. Brooks is undersized but super fast and finds open spaces in the defense to make big plays. Evans is a tremendous defensive back who has nice size and he knocks passes down left and right. Only Hawaii has offered him so far but that could change soon.

MORE NEWS AND NOTES...

Stephen Carr
Stephen Carr ()

Rize Up is loaded with talent on both sides but nobody had a better day than three-star receiver Jamire Calvin. The Los Angeles Cathedral standout is undersized, there’s no getting around it, but he’s super fast on the outside, stuns cornerbacks with his burst and is a tremendous deep threat who would fit so well in a spread attack. Plus, Calvin has awesome hands and catches everything. On defense, cornerbacks Elijah Gates and Elijah Blades lock down everybody. Blades is longer and fast while Gates is more physical at the line but also has great speed when he turns and runs.

Stephen Carr continues to impress. The top-rated all-purpose back and soft USC commit has surprising speed out of the backfield and excellent moves to maneuver around pursuing linebackers and defensive backs. The four-star doesn’t look like he’d be a speedy guy because of his size but he plants his foot, makes a move and goes. Even in 7-on-7, Carr is a tremendously valuable asset.

Team Texas is one of the best squads at the tournament and it’s loaded especially at defensive back. Four-star Derrick Tucker from Manvel, Texas, is a rangy ballhawk who steps into passing lanes to either pick it off or break it up. He has great size and a knack for being around the ball. Four-star Grant Delpit is also a big-time playmaker in the back end and it’s easy to see why he’s loading up with major offers. One big surprise on that team is slot receiver Jaelon Darden from Houston (Texas) Eisenhower. He’s tiny but a speedster and down the seam he caught deep balls all day.

Derrick Tucker
Derrick Tucker ()

Los Angeles Salesian has a bunch of top prospects but the two most-special ones are four-star Deommodore Lenoir and three-star UCLA commit Rahyme Johnson. Lenoir looked good at receiver and safety on Saturday as he just makes plays all over the field whether it’s a big catch or coming up to break up a pass. Johnson is an exceptional athlete who covers ground better than maybe any linebacker in California. He runs so smoothly and is so long and rangy it’s difficult to complete a pass in his area.

FSP, a team comprised of top Washington prospects, has some players -- some really well-known and others flying under the radar. Defensive backs Salvon Ahmed, a four-star, and Connor Wedington, a Washington pledge, patrolled the back end and make a bunch of plays. Ahmed is a special athlete with great coverage skills. Tight end Hunter Bryant is a massive target who doesn’t have tremendous speed but a huge catch radius who can haul in passes. Two big surprises on Saturday were receiver Marques Hampton Jr. and defensive back Anfernee Gurley.

Team Utah could go far in the playoff round because they are loaded on offense and defense. Three-star Utah commit Ty Jones, who will visit Stanford and Cal over spring break, has outstanding size and he can make the tough catch. Three-star BYU commit Jackson McChesney has tremendous speed coming out of the backfield or lining up in the slot and he’s just a playmaker all over the field. On defense, four-star defensive back Chaz Ah You can lock down and turn and run with receivers. Linebacker Sione Lund (a Stanford pledge) patrols the middle. The biggest surprise on Saturday for this team was Hyrum (Utah) Mountain Crest linebacker Levani Damuni, who is fast to the sideline and also big so he can come up and hit you.