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March 2, 2013

NLA Saturday: Top offensive players


LAS VEGAS -- There were many top players on offense during Saturday's action at the New Level Athletics 7-on-7. Here is a breakdown of the 10 best during all the competition on Day 1.

NLA OFFENSIVE TOP PERFORMERS
1. QB Josh Rosen, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco (2015)
It is hard to fathom that Rosen only has an offer from Fresno State, but he's a 2015 prospect so maybe some coaches just don't have him on the radar yet. That could change soon because Rosen has really proven to be a national recruit and he had another outstanding performance on Day 1. Rosen has outstanding arm strength but also nice touch, he's smart, makes the right throw and has a great feel for where the ball should go. Cal, Stanford and others are involved and more offers could come soon.

2. WR Rahshead Johnson, Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan (2014)
Johnson never has a problem getting open. It doesn't matter if he's being jammed at the line or if he has a lot of cushion, Johnson does a great job of setting up the cornerback and giving the quarterback a lot of room to get him the ball. Most importantly, Johnson always catches it. He has sure hands and can also catch the ball in a crowd or against a physical corner, even though he's slightly undersized. There has been a lot of talk about Johnson in recent 7-on-7s in Los Angeles and he's proving it here, too.

3. WR Jalen Brown, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe (2014)
Brown only played in one or two series before injuring his shoulder and being sidelined for the rest of Day 1, but his first few plays were impressive enough to earn a spot high on this list. There are few players -- maybe none in the West -- who possess his size and athletic ability at wide receiver. He is so smooth and agile and he has such great balance and hands that he makes impressive catches all the time. Brown actually got hurt on a diving catch in the end zone that was one of the best grabs all day.

4. ATH Michiah Quick, Fresno (Calif.) Central East (2014)
Quick is best at wide receiver. No, maybe defensive back. It really doesn't seem to matter where the four-star lines up -- offense or defense -- because he has such a tremendous impact on the game. On the first play of a game in the afternoon, Quick ran right by the cornerback and caught a touchdown to open things up. He has outstanding speed but also timing, so he sets players up, makes a move and he's gone. Quick also has gotten a little thicker than last year, and he plays with an air of confidence that's contagious with teammates.

5. ATH Tyler Whiley, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral (2014)
Whiley made the morning session especially interesting by absolutely dominating the competition and, most importantly, he took over when Brown went down with his shoulder injury. Whiley has great size and uses it to his advantage, catching balls away from smaller cornerbacks and getting open without a problem. He also has surprising speed. The Scottsdale Chaparral standout was impressive on defense and could get tested on Sunday during the playoffs once his name gets out. It will be interesting to see how he performs against really top-notch competition.

6. QB KJ Carta-Samuels, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep (2014)
The Vanderbilt commit was clearly frustrated at times and forced some passes, but he wasn't playing with a bunch of high-end receivers so Carta-Samuels felt he needed to make plays. The accuracy has been better, but Carta-Samuels has nice size and an outstanding arm. There is no question about his deep ball, he throws a tight spiral and he can also check down and make the right throw. If he had been surrounded with elite players, he could have shined even more.

7. QB Brad Kaaya, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade (2014)
Since the end of his junior season, Kaaya has received a lot of attention, especially from Stanford and Miami, and now Oregon State is growing more interested. It's easy to see why. Kaaya is poised and calm in the pocket, plays with a lot of moxie, has natural leadership ability, and he throws a beautiful pass, too. He has good arm strength, gets the ball where it needs to be, and he's smart. Kaaya makes the right pass almost every time, and it gets there with a tight spiral. Offers could be coming soon.

8. WR Shay Fields, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco (2014)
Fields reminds some of Bryce Treggs and, even if he's not at that level, there are similarities. The St. John Bosco recruit has a lot of shake to his game at WR and even at running back on a few plays, and he made some linebackers look foolish. He's a little undersized, but he's tough. Fields gets off the line quickly and without issue, he runs outstanding routes and he showed great hands. Nevada just offered, and more offers could be on the way if Fields keeps playing this well.

9. WR Erik Brown, Fontana (Calif.) Summit (2014)
Brown was involved in a scuffle during one game but only because the cornerback was being overly physical. The CB even had Brown around the neck a couple of times, but that shouldn't obscure the Fontana Summit wide receiver's talent. He can get open basically whenever he wants. Brown has impressive size and is physical enough to create separation from the corners. Put an elite quarterback out there with Brown and it could get really dangerous. He's a deep threat, a short threat, everything.

10. TE Dalton Schultz, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham (2014)
Schultz has impressive size, and that had good benefits and some issues on Day 1. The four-star is difficult to defend because he's so tall and getting open is not an issue, but he plods a little and we're unsure of his straight-line speed. Being a deep threat is still a little bit of a question, but let's not knock him too much. Schultz runs good routes, he caught a lot of passes and it's difficult to defend him because of his size. Anywhere near the end zone, just throw it up to him and he'll catch it. He has a lot of skills but just needs to be a little lighter on his feet.



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