football

Stars shine at NIKE Passing Championship

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There was an old English song that stated only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid day sun. Yesterday on a hot and sunny Long Beach day the mad dogs and Englishmen were joined by athletes from eight California high schools.
The schools involved included Westlake Oaks Christian, Culver City, Newhall Hart, Los Angeles Verbum Dei, Long Beach Poly, Huntington Beach Edison, Mission Viejo and Valencia.
Notre Dame bound five-star quarterback Jimmy Clausen from Oaks Christian put on quite a show and made believers out of everyone in attendance including opposing coaches.
Clausen and his Oaks Christian teammates won the event on the strength of Clausen's right arm. The talented signal caller earned the events MVP award.
Keep an eye on Oaks Christian wide receiver Sean Wiser. He showed those in attendance why he has received offers from Stanford, Oregon, Virginia, Duke, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Oregon State.
Wiser had a nice game against Poly and even caught passes while being covered by four-star cornerback Donovan Warren.
Another Oaks Christian player who shined was linebacker Casey Matthews. You can tell that Matthews has put in the work this off-season and he could have a breakout year.
The word is Oregon is the favorite to land Matthews and they could end up looking like geniuses in a couple of years. Like all good middle linebackers, Matthews always seemed to be around the football and even picked off a pass during crunch time in the championship game against Edison.
Also from Oaks Christian USC bound Marc Tyler and Marshall Jones helped the cause.
We would be remiss if we didn't mention junior to be wide receiver Chris Potter made several fine catches especially in the clutch. He caught two touchdown passes in the championship game.
Verbum Dei had three players who did a fine job and made plays for the Eagles.
Wide receiver Reggie Dunn had a nice day and caught most of the passes thrown his way. He did drop one that he should of caught but that was the only miscue he had all day.
Linebacker/wide receiver Akeem Ayers made a nice grab from his wide receiver position. He showed excellent athleticism, focus and body control on one pass reception that ended up for a touchdown.
Ayers is seeing his stock rise everyday. He also stood out at the recent Beyond 2000 Elite Camp where the linebacker coach is predicting big things out of Ayers in the future. The sky is the limit.
The third standout for Verbum Dei was wide receiver/cornerback Maxwell Lacy. He did a particularly good job at corner. He was locking his man down and if he continues to learn the position with his size he could end up being highly sought after.
Culver City has been a surprise team on the passing league circuit and have won some tournaments and have been competitive in others. The seniors to watch from Culver City are wide receiver Damien White and cornerback Tyrone Justin.
Culver City also has two juniors who have a chance to be very good in wide receiver Antwon Moutra and quarterback Darius Banks. These two players are definitely two to jot down in your memory banks for the class of 2008.
From Valencia Shane Vereen proved to onlookers just why Rivals.com has given him four stars.
On defense, Vereen locked down whoever was in his area and he was just impressive catching the ball out of the backfield and the slot. This is special and it is very understandable why UCLA and USC have already offered him a scholie.
Long Beach Poly always has players to offer the D-I ranks and this season will be no different.
The Jackrabbits will be breaking in new wide receivers since their two starters from year will be playing at UCLA and USC respectively.
One Poly wide receiver who show off his stuff was Travionte Session. He is an impressive athlete who made quite a few clutch catches.
Session also has excellent bloodlines. His brother is former Poly and Oregon great, now NFL wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs, Samie Parker.
Former Tennessee Vol quarterback, Casey Clausen was very impressed with the performance of Donovan Warren.
"Donovan is a good football player," Clausen said. "He can play."
The unanimous feeling on Warren is he has a skill set that labels him a "can't miss" prospect. He moves silky smooth for a big man.
As many who were in attendance said about Warren there is a reason that he has offers from some of the nation's best programs.
Newhall Hart looks to continue their tradition of fine quarterback play. Alex Pettee is another Hart quarterback who can parlay being a one-year starter into a D-I scholie.
Pettee did get some action as a junior when he stepped in for Arizona bound Tyler Lyon when he went down with an injury and all he did was earn Fox Sports Player of the Game.
Huntington Edison has had a nice run and surprising run this summer on the passing league circuit. For many they were the unexpected team that took on Oaks Christian in the championship game.
Edison is well coached by Dave White and was able to get to the final without the services of wide receiver Dominique Vinson who is considered as Edison's best threat offensively.
Edison rallied without Vinson and were able to play it close to Oaks Christian but in the end it was too much Clausen for Edison to overcome.
NIKE and Student Sports should be congratulated for putting on this happening and they did a great job organizing and pulling off this event. Much of the credit goes to Greg Biggins for a well put together competition.
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