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Golden Recruiting Wire: the Coming Out Party of San Ramon Valley Quarterback Zach Kline

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Verbal commits are marked w/ (Cal)

May 18th, 2011 | 11th | 4th


Tedford & Company

  • Zach Kline, QB (CAL) San Ramon Valley (Danville, CA) is playing at the Under Armour All-American Game instead of the US Army All-American Bowl due to a family conflict [1]. Kline will enroll early in Spring 2012 [2][3]. He is recruiting TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick to join him @ Cal [$4].

    Kline's arm strength impressed recruitniks at Elite 11 QB camp @ Stanford on Friday [5][6]. He went to Nike Football Training Camp (NFTC) @ Stanford again on Sunday and earned rave reviews that included the QB MVP honor [7]. Kline's outstanding weekend performance earned him an invitation to Elite 11 Finals camp in Los Angeles [8].

    There was a buzz about Kline prior to the camp among the observers and he did not disappoint. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has a cannon for an arm and was accurate in most of the passing drills during the event. Kline also has good footwork and is overall consistent. Kline, the nation’s fourth-ranked pro-style quarterback prospect, is committed to California and has a bright future ahead of him if he continues to develop [9].

    Kline, the quarterback MVP, was another that was impressive Friday and Sunday. He has such a big arm and great velocity on his throws, but the thing that stood out on Sunday was that he was also very accurate throwing all of the passes he needed to. His footwork is good, fundamentals are there- he’s a complete quarterback. But it’s his God-given ability to throw the football well that gives him a bright future. Kline is the nation’s No. 4 pro-style quarterback prospect [10].

    Arguably the top QB prospect in California, Kline was as advertised and had a polished overall showing. He lacks ideal size but stays balanced as a passer, has a quick release and can really get some RPMs and spin on his ball to fit it into tight spots. While he needs to avoid pushing it at times, he showed the ability to take something off his underneath passes, add touch and lead receivers downfield when needed. The Cal commit also threw some of the better intermediate-to-deep balls at the camp, exhibiting great arm strength, timing and accuracy [11].

    "From the moment I stepped out on the field today, I felt good, like I was in the zone," Kline said. "I used this camp as a measuring stick, to see where I'm at, and honestly, I feel like I'm in a good place right now. Everything is falling into place for me."

    "I'm solid with my decision to go to Cal, I'm happy with my choice and excited about the future," Kline said. "I like Berkeley, that's the place for me to be [12]."

  • Shaq Thompson, ATH Grant Union (Sacramento, CA) looked physically ready for college football @ Stanford NFTC [13][14][15].

    Thompson, a five-star prospect, looks great physically. He’s got size, he can run, he can turn and run, change directions, you name it. The thing that’s going to be interesting with him is finding a position. Is he a safety or is he almost too big to play back there? He’s a great high school running back, but doesn’t project there at this point. Regardless, he’s an elite athlete and one of the best overall prospects in the country. He was committed to Cal and the Golden Bears still have the inside track to land him. Thompson did not take many reps in one-on-ones, but when we saw him, it was evident he had good ball skills and instincts as a defensive back [16].

    Thompson is one of the better looking safeties in the country on the hoof. He's tall, well-built and long which hints that a possible outside linebacker or safety hybrid-type position could be in his future with continued physical development. After watching him move though, there is no doubt he could remain at safety and we would not be surprised if he even gets reps at corner during his career -- potentially in red zone packages -- thanks to his great frame, strength, athleticism and ball skills that are needed to match up with today's taller college receivers in jump-ball situations. Thompson broke well on the ball in coverage, showing very good range getting on top of routes and plant-and-drive burst breaking underneath. He did show a bit of tightness at times changing direction and his ability to play with consistent hip sink may be the one area he can improve. The scheme-versatile defensive prospect who also took reps at receiver like Shepard and flashed his total skill set [17].

  • Scott Starr, OLB Norco (Norco, CA) offered by Cal [18]. Starr has been invited to the US Army All-American Game [19]. He impressed even more @ Stanford NFTC [20][21].

    Starr, the nation’s No. 5 inside linebacker prospect, was the star of the linebacker group. He’s obviously going to be a player that shines more on film when wearing pads, but he showed good lateral movement, quick hands/reflexes and toughness during Sunday’s event. Offers are starting to roll in now. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA and Washington have all stepped in. He wants to go to USC and would likely jump on a Trojans offer, but they haven’t pulled the trigger on the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder yet [22].

    Starr could have been confused for an All-Pro linebacker with his tapered bulk and prototypical size; he really passes the eyeball test. The thickly-built ESPNU 150 Watch Lister performed very well in a setting that did not necessarily give him the platform to showcase his strong downhill, run-stacking skills. Starr did have a chance to shine in blitzing drills, overpowering inferior running backs while also showing the ability to dip and rip adequately well -- something he will need to do if deployed as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level, where his measurables could take him with added growth. Starr looked solid breaking down in space, dropping in zone coverage and matching up with tight ends, but his tools appear more suited for the short range and he will likely start his career off between the tackles or as a Sam linebacker [23].

    "I'm talking to a bunch of different schools, Michigan and USC are couple of them, but I haven't received an offer from either school. Hopefully soon," Starr said. "Really, I'm not in a hurry to commit. My goal is to keep on working hard and take my game to the next level. That's why it was important for me to have a good showing at this camp and I think I was able to do that [24]."

  • Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, TE Whitney (Rocklin, CA) is back on football camps after track & baseball [25]. Cal coaches visited JCF @ Whitney last week. JCF @ practice [video: 26]. He easily passed the eye test @ Stanford NFTC [27].

    This is the first guy you want off the bus thanks to his prototypical size measurables, and at times Cope-Fitzpatrick showed a similarly impressive skill set. The ESPNU 150 Watch List tight end showed good range and straight-line speed stretching the defenses vertically as a route-runner and is a big target. His length and mobility posed matchup problems for linebackers and his hands where consistently good. We did expect to see a bit more burst and fluidity as a route-runner and after the catch. He may not be a real weapon in the passing game at the next level, but is someone who looks to project best as a pro-style tight end with continued improvement of the in-line blocking skills we have seen on film [28].

    Cope-Fitzpatrick, the nation’s No. 7 tight end prospect, made some tough catches in drills and showed improved athleticism compared to last summer when we saw him. He’s got good hands, competes hard and is on his way to being an excellent college tight end. Cal, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State has offered Cope-Fitzpatrick [29].

  • Deontay Greenberry, WR Washington Union (Fresno, CA) hit the national recruiting scene during Badger Sports 7on7 @ Las Vegas. Greenberry was nominated as one of the nation's top 400 seniors for the US Army All-American Bowl [30]. Alabama has offered Greenberry [31]. Notre Dame is Greenbery's top school [32][33]. His family is high on USC [34]. He plans to visit USC and verbally commit before season starts.

    The tall, rangy and fluid receiver made some great grabs on the day, including a few that showcased his wide catching radius, great concentration, hands and body control. He was a vertical threat with his length and extension away from his frame [35].

    Greenberry put on a show the last time we saw him- at the Badger Elite 11 in Las Vegas- and continued to make his trademark difficult catches during this event. He dropped a few, too, and wasn’t as dominant as he was in Vegas, but he still was one of the top prospects in Palo Alto. Arizona State, California, Notre Dame, UCLA, UNLV, Washington and Washington State all have offered Greenberry. The Fighting Irish have been the team to beat [36].

    Based on what we heard and saw at Stanford Sunday, it probably is just a matter of time before four-star wide receiver Deontay Greenberry (Fresno, Calif./Washington Union) commits to Notre Dame, joining fellow Fresno-area star and friend Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif./Central East) on the Fighting Irish commit list [37].

  • Kyle Murphy, OT San Clemente (San Clemente, CA) placed 1st in shot put @ Sea View League Track & Field Finals [38]. Murphy's quick feet stood out to recruitniks @ Stanford NFTC [39].

    There is little doubt that Murphy, currently the nation’s No. 9 overall prospect, is one of the top prospects in the country after watching him in person Sunday. He’s got a great frame, elite feet and elite flexibility. The coaches were heaping praise on him for his ability to pass protect and move his feet during one-on-one drills, where he was dominant. Murphy has a double-digit offer count from all over the country and recently said that Oregon, USC and Stanford stood out the most [40].

    If you had to sculpt an offensive tackle prospect out of clay, the result might very well look like Murphy. One of the top prospects at his position nationally, the ESPNU 150 Watch List tackle has prototypical height, arm length and lean bulk. We expect his frame to continue adding size and power, which he showed he still could improve after getting knocked off-balance and out-leveraged on an inside counter of a bull rush. However, that might have been the only time Murphy showed a hint of weakness. He demonstrated his great reach, punch and quick-set ability sliding and riding defenders out of the pocket in pass protection with bend and also recovered with balance to the inside. The agile and athletic tackle also showed the ability to sink and pull during running drills and overall played with great leverage and agility for his taller frame [41].

    "I had fun and enjoyed the competition," Murphy said. "I liked the coaches, I didn't learn that many new things because we have some great coaches at San Clemente but I enjoyed competing against the other lineman and it was an overall fun experience for me [42]."

    This past Sunday, a few coaches had an opportunity to see Murphy up close at the Stanford Nike Football Training Camp. Assistant offensive line coaches Greg Pedemonte and Nick Ekbatani agreed that in a group of possibly the best top-tier offensive line talent to ever grace that particular camp, Murphy was one of the players who stood out.

    "He's a stud," Ekbatani said. "He has all the tools you want in a college tackle."

    Murphy called it a "pretty good" day for him, as he was certainly one of the many Southern California players thrown for a loop by pelting rain and hail at the start of the camp. But ultimately, Murphy said his athleticism allowed him to settle in and put together a solid performance.

    It turned out to be strong enough to earn an invitation to Nike's "The Opening," where Murphy will have an opportunity as one of the top-18 offensive linemen in the country to go up against a group of the top defensive linemen. To go from virtually unknown a few months ago to being regarded as possibly a top-20 talent at his position nationally says plenty about Murphy's growth.

    "I think he's going to be great," Williams said. "With his footwork and hips right now, he's so far advanced from where a lot of kids his age are. And almost all of that stuff is natural."

    It's that athleticism that will allow Murphy to choose from a host of schools at the next level. Of course, a 3.96 GPA doesn't hurt either. While he said he hasn't begun narrowing things down yet -- he expects to begin doing so during the summer -- Williams thinks Murphy will likely wait until after the high school season ends to make a final decision [43].

  • Jaydon Mickens, WR Dorsey (Los Angeles, CA) and his Dorsey teammates won 400m relays at LA City Section Track & Field Championships [44]. Micken stood out @ Stanford NFTC.

    Mickens isn’t very big at all. In fact, he’s on the smallish side. But, when you see him run, cut and catch, it’s evident why he’s a four-star rated prospect and committed to USC. He’s a crisp route runner that can be electric with the ball in his hands and he showed that during receiver drills and one-on-ones [45].

    He doesn't look like much from a physical standpoint, but he can really move. Mickens showed great suddenness and balanced burst in and out of his breaks and at the top of his stem; he consistently got DBs flat-footed and over extended. He also showed the ability to shift gears to separate and is a very good space player, which are attributes that could be valuable as a slot receiver in USC's offense [46].

  • Erik Magnuson, OT La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, CA) attended Stanford NFTC after visiting Berkeley. There is interest in all the West Coast programs. USC has not offered. Magnuson will be using his official visits to see schools farther away such as Notre Dame, Miami, etc [47]. SDSU visited Magnuson @ La Costa Canyon [$48]. Michigan seems entrenched in Magnuson's top 3 [49].

    Magnuson has an excellent frame, good feet and plays with a nasty streak. He was dominant in one-on-ones and looked good athletically moving around in position drills. Combine what he showed Sunday with what he shows on film and there’s a good chance that Magnuson could move up our rankings when they are updated again. Currently, he’s the No. 13 offensive tackle prospect in the country. Arizona, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and others have offered the 6-foot-5, 275-pounder [50].

    Magnuson looked like Murphy 2.0; he just lacks a bit of his size and lower-body flexibility. He has a tall, well-built body with great length for a college program to mold and develop. He moved well during drills, looking athletic and balanced, and utilized his long wing span and strong hands to control defenders and mirror the rush outside. He did show trouble on one occasion trying to adjust to a quick inside move after over-extending to the outside. A dominant run-blocker on film, Magnuson showed some promise in pass protection but we feel he still needs to work on technique in handling the outside speed rush to make a smoother adjustment to tackle at the next level [51].

    Before his knees let him down, Erik Magnuson (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) was very impressive and easily among the top players in the camp, regardless of position. At 6-5, 268 pounds, Magnuson has a great frame that he can grow in to and he plays with just the right amount of nastiness.

    "My knees have been sore for awhile now because of basketball," Magnuson said. "I tried to do as much as I could but towards the end of the camp, they were really hurting and I had to shut it down. I still had a great time out here and learned a lot. I wish I could have taken a few more reps in the one-on-ones because I wanted that MVP award but overall, this was still a positive experience for me [52]."

  • Michael Barton, LB (CAL) De La Salle (Concord, CA) won 110m & 300m hurdles @ Bayshare Athletics League Championship Track & Field Meet [53].

    "In the 110s, I felt good. That was probably my second best run of the year," Barton said. "In the 300s, this track is a little weird here. The goal is just to get through to the next round and get a good lane."

  • Travell Dixon, CB Eastern Arizona (Thatcher, AZ) offered by Cal [54]. Oregon State also offered the JuCo star.
  • LaDarrell McNeil, S A Maceo Smith (Dallas, TX) offered by Cal [55].
  • Damien Lawry, ATH A Maceo Smith (Dallas, TX) offered by Cal [56].
  • Tommy Schutt, DT Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, IL) offered by Cal [57].
  • Freddie Tagaloa, OT Salesian (Richmond, CA) added Oregon to his top 3 of USC, Cal, Stanford [58].

    Stanford: "Of course on the West Coast, Stanford is on the rise, went to the Orange Bowl, the future looks bright."

    Cal: "Cal just got Coach Michalczik back, and he has a reputation of getting offensive linemen into the league. He’s put the most offensive linemen into the league in the whole Pac-10, so that’s a big plus."

    USC: "It doesn’t get better than that."

    Oregon: "Like I said, they’re on the rise, and I’m going to really take this year to see how the program really takes off."

  • Bryce Treggs, WR St John Bosco (Bellflower, CA) has Notre Dame in the Top 5 [$59]. Treggs is also interested in an Oregon offer [$60].
  • Jordan Payton, WR Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, CA) visited by Charlie Weis of Florida [61] and UNLV [62].

    "I'm still committed to USC, yes. But I think I'd like to take some unofficial visits at some point. One day, when I'm older, I'd like to be able to say that I went to somewhere like Gainesville or Ann Arbor, just to see what it was like in those places."

    "I can see my self taking a visit to Michigan, maybe Arkansas, Oklahoma after that, we'll see," Payton said. "Like I said before, things are crazy, but I'm enjoying life right now. Stuff like this happens once in a lifetime. I'm just trying to enjoy the ride [63]."

  • Darius Hamilton, DE Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ) could still be wide open as far as recruiting is concerned [64].

    Hamilton, who we met at his school one morning, has a unique build- he has extremely long arms, broad shoulders and a frame that could pack on more pounds of good weight. He's athletic enough to play defensive end, particularly in a 3-4 alignment, but long-term he grows into a big-time, athletic defensive tackle. Hamilton also is a high-character prospect with a strong work ethic and great bloodlines (his father Keith Hamilton played for the New York Giants), so the five-star prospect has a low bust factor. Right now, he's wide open as far as college choices go. Expect him to take some visits in the coming months and narrow things down.

  • Eddie Goldman, DT Friendship Academy (Washington, DC) visited ACC & SEC programs unofficially [65].
    Goldman, who we caught up with at his school one afternoon, is one of the more impressive looking defensive tackle prospects we've seen the last few years. He's a legitimate 6-foot-4 and a solid 300 pounds. Goldman, who has more than 50 scholarship offers to his credit, is wide open with regards to his decision. He visited Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Florida State on a trip through the Southeast a few weeks back and said that all o those schools stood out to him. Goldman is the nation's No. 3 overall prospect and top defensive tackle prospect.
  • Yuri Wright, CB Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ) needs to bulk up more [66].
    Wright’s ability on film is what garnered him the ranking as the nation’s top cornerback prospect, but when you meet him in person (we did shortly after meeting Hamilton), his height, long arms and good frame are legitimate. He needs to continue to build muscle, but the potential here is extremely high. Wright has a slew of offers and like Hamilton, Goldman and Spence appears to be wide open. He’s mentioned Notre Dame and Georgia as two schools he would like to check out at some point.
  • Arik Armstead, DE Pleasant Grove (Elk Ridge, CA) is focusing on his AAU basketball for the summer [67]. Armstead did not attend NFTC at Stanford [68]. Armstead @ practice [video 69].

  • Andrus Peat, OT Corona Del Sol (Tempe, AZ) is making summer visit plans to Texas [70], Notre Dame [$71], Auburn [72]. Florida State, Oregon State, Michigan State visited Peat on Monday [73].

    One of the schools that took an interest in Andrus was Auburn. He watched the Tigers play in the BCS National Championship Game in nearby Glendale. He noticed when offensive tackle Christian Westerman of nearby Hamilton High School abandoned a commitment to Texas and signed with Auburn. His father knows offensive line coach Jeff Grimes from when both were with the Raiders.

    Andrus plans to go to Auburn for a visit, perhaps for Big Cat Weekend later this month.

    "Of course, they are coming off the national championship," Andrus said. "They are the best of the best right now. They are having good recruiting classes. You know they are going to be back on top pretty soon.

    "Also, I have gotten a good relationship with Coach Grimes. He knows my dad from when he was with the Raiders. That’s a good relationship right there [74]."

  • Ellis McCarthy, DT Monrovia (Monrovia, CA) visited by Miami, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Utah [75].
  • Zach Banner, OT Lakes (Lakewood, CA), Joshua Garnett, OL Puyallup (Puyallup, WA) are likely to stay on the West Coast but will go through the recruiting process to make their commitment decisions [76].
  • Jordan Simmons, OT Crespi (Encino, CA) has accepted his invitation to the US Army All-American Bowl [77]. Northern Arizona, San Jose State, UCLA, Colorado all visited Simmons yesterday [78].
  • Cedric Dozier, ATH Lakes (Lakewood, WA) offered by Oregon [79].
  • Seth Jacobs, OLB Arroyo Grande (Arroyo Grande, CA) offered by San Jose State [80].
  • KeiVarae Russell, RB Mariner (Everett, WA) offered by Colorado [81].


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