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June 14, 2011

Top performers: Air Strike tourney

MORE AIR STRIKE: Notes

DANA POINT, Calif. - Some of the top players in Southern California participated with their respective high schools in the Dana Hills Air Strike Passing Tournament last weekend. Rivals.com West Region analyst Adam Gorney was on hand to watch all the action. Here are his top performers:

Air Strike Top Performers
CB Chaz Anderson, 6-0/175, Los Angeles Loyola
Committed to: Boise State
Strengths: Anderson has terrific ball skills and good timing at cornerback. He has no problems defending taller receivers because he has a good feel for the position and usually knocks down passes headed his way. He also shined at wide receiver and showed better than average hands.
Weaknesses: There were times when he played cornerback that he lost track of the ball and even though he deflected the pass he could have intercepted it.

WR Josiah Blandin, 6-4/185, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Committed to: Arizona State
Strengths: Blandin is a long strider who isn't the fastest receiver on the field but covers a lot of ground because he's tall and lean. Even in a crowd, Blandin can catch passes, which means he has excellent concentration. He made a one-handed catch on an extra-point conversion that was one of the nicest grabs all day.
Weaknesses: Sometimes, Blandin is content on hanging around the outside and down the sideline and waiting for jump balls to come his way. If he was a little more aggressive in his route running he'd be even more dangerous.

QB Dylan Lagarde, 6-0/185, Los Alamitos (Calif.)
Interest: Boise State, Hawaii and Oregon State
Strengths: Lagarde has a lot of pop on his passes and he spins it well plus he has no problem scanning the whole field to find open receivers. Rarely does he force passes and instead is smart enough to dump it down to the running back out of the backfield if nothing is there deep.
Weaknesses: The main concern with Lagarde is obviously his height because he barely cracks 6 feet. He is great in the pocket and throwing on the run but can he play at the elite level if he's done growing?

WR Kenny Lawler, 6-3/175, Upland (Calif.)
Committed to: Arizona State
Strengths: Lawler was outstanding all day and even though his team didn't make the semifinals it was no reflection on him. He is fearless catching passes across the middle and any ball that is around him he's going to come down with. He has great hands, plays with a lot of competitiveness and seems to always want to prove he's the best player on the field.
Weaknesses: There were times when Lawler just needs to stay focused and play football and not get worried about being missed on a route or talking back and forth with defensive backs. That kind of aggressiveness is usually applauded but when it interferes with his game then it's something to watch.

S David Price, 6-2/200, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly (2013)
Interest: SMU has offered and Price is hearing from Alabama, Nebraska and most of the Pac-12.
Strengths: Price is aggressive and tough, plus he has the body of a Division I defensive back already just going into his junior season. He also has great timing and vision to read where the quarterback is headed with his passes so he can make a play on the ball.
Weaknesses: There are times when Price gets stuck going one way or another and then is in no man's land when the ball is in the air. Especially against Upland, there were numerous occasions when Lawler sneaked behind him in the end zone and Price lost track of him.

ILB Blake Rodgers, 6-2/220, Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro
Interest: Washington, Air Force, Cal Poly and Northern Arizona have offered. UCLA, USC and Arizona State have been involved.
Strengths: There was no better-looking linebacker at the entire event as Rodgers is ripped with muscle and plays with a lot of toughness at the line of scrimmage. He's big and bulky but also plays with athleticism and is probably best as a traditional middle linebacker stuffing the run.
Weaknesses: Because Rodgers is so muscular there were times when he struggled changing direction and getting out in pass coverage. He probably won't be called on often to do that in college so it isn't a major issue.

OLB Matthew Rowe, 6-2/220, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Interest: Arizona State, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon State, Washington and Northern Arizona have offered.
Strengths: Rowe has excellent timing and reaction, and he picked off numerous passes because he got in passing lanes and then attacked the ball when the quarterback released it. He plays with a lot of intensity and swagger, and backs it up by always making plays and being around the ball.
Weaknesses: Sometimes Rowe gets a little too aggressive and overruns plays. Usually, he's right where he needs to be and makes lots of plays but if he can dial down some of his exuberance then Rowe would be even better.

WR Bryce Treggs, 5-11/171, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Interest: Cal, UCLA, Notre Dame, Stanford and Washington are some of his favorites. Many others have offered as well.
Strengths: Treggs plays with such smoothness and ease to his game, runs great routes, is fast off the line and even though everyone knows he's the top player at St. John Bosco, he seems to always find a way to get open. When he doesn't get open he usually still makes the catch even with cornerbacks draped all over him.
Weaknesses: It hasn't been a hindrance yet but Treggs will need to gain some muscle mass to be an elite receiver in college. His speed and smoothness are great qualities but he needs some bulk to absorb all the punishing hits on the next level.

WR Kodi Whitfield, 6-1/178, Los Angeles Loyola
Interest: Arizona State, Boise State, Boston College, Colorado, Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and others have offered.
Strengths: Whitfield has the frame of a college receiver and he has deceptive speed as well, usually catching up to passes thrown too far and outrunning some talented cornerbacks. He's also good at cornerback, has great vision and good hips to turn and run when defending receivers.
Weaknesses: Because Whitfield is so physically developed we'd like to see him be a little more physical against cornerbacks. He can get off the jam a little better and muscle his way to the football when it's in the air.

QB Travis Wilson, 6-6/205, San Clemente (Calif.)
Committed to: Utah
Strengths: Wilson continues to get molded into a quality quarterback and he's much better than he was a year ago. He throws a good fade into the end zone and also has a lot of zip on his passes across the middle. He's the type of player Norm Chow and Brian Johnson can turn into a real star in college.
Weaknesses: Sometimes Wilson forces the ball into tight windows and passes get intercepted. He threw a few balls high and some out of bounds as well but we've seen him at the Elite 11 regional, too, and his passes were on point.

RB Davonte Young, 5-8/165, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco (2013)
Interest: Young said he's hearing from pretty much the entire Pac-10 so far and that Oregon is his early favorite.
Strengths: Young rushed for 1,612 yards and 20 touchdowns in his freshman season at Irvine before transferring to Tustin and then St. John Bosco. He had to sit out last season because of transfer rules. Young has amazing athletic ability, has lots of speed, great moves with the ball in his hands and can catch passes out of the backfield.
Weaknesses: He sat out all of last season and the target is now on his back so it will be interesting to see how Young performs when defensive coaches scheme against him. He has lots of tools though so he could have a breakout junior year.



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