Los Angeles Preps: Craig Lee

I.E.: Class of '13 looks like best ever

March, 30, 2012
Five months away from the start of the high school football season and the incoming seniors are stacking up as the deepest and most high-profile recruiting class in Inland Empire history.

Schools that usually don't pursue recruits this far West, such as Alabama, LSU, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan, have made scholarship offers to several elite I.E. players, and local programs such as USC and UCLA are desperately trying to position themselves as well.

According to reports, Rancho Cucamonga defensive back Chris Hawkins already plans to announce Sunday at the L.A. Nike Camp at Cerritos College the school he plans to sign with next February. Stanford and USC are reportedly leading the way among the two dozen or so schools that have offered. Hawkins has twice this month made unoffical visits to USC, according to reports.

Here’s an up-to-date look at the top players and the programs that have, so far, extended offers, courtesy of scout.com.

Su’a Cravens, LB/RB, Vista Murrieta – Alabama, California, Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington.

Joe Mathis, DL, Upland – Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Boise State, Colorado, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State.

Chris Hawkins, CB, Rancho Cucamonga – Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Houston, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Penn State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Washington, Washington State.

Kylie Fitts, DL, Redlands East Valley – Arkansas, Boise State, California, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State.

Tahaan Goodman, S, Rancho Cucamonga – Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Diego State, South Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington, Washington State.

Marcus Baugh, TE, J.W. North – Arizona State, California, Florida, Hawaii, Miami (Fla..), Nebraska, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington.

Kenny Clark, OL/DL, Carter – Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Washington State.

Demorea Stringfellow, WR, Rancho Verde – Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, UCLA, Washington, Washington State.

Craig Lee, RB, Redlands – Arizona, Colorado, Oregon State, San Diego State, UCLA, Washington, Washington State.

Samajie Grant, WR/DB, Colony – Arizona, UCLA, Utah, Washington State.

Viliami Latu, LB, Rancho Cucamonga – Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii.

Alani Latu, LB, Rancho Cucamonga – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon State, San Diego State.

I.E.: Top 10 football recruits for 2013

February, 3, 2012
National signing day has come and gone, with the Inland Empire making another solid contribution to college programs across the country. It’s never too early to start looking ahead to next season’s class, just ask the college recruiters who are already extending offers to blue-chip athletes. With the amount of offers already on the table for several I.E. juniors, this is shaping up to be one of the strongest classes in years, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Here’s a preview of the region’s top 10 recruits for 2013.

Su’a Cravens, LB/RB, Vista Murrieta – Cravens has been offered by virtually anyone and everyone, beginning as early as the spring of his freshman year. He began his high school career as a freshman cornerback at Temecula Valley, switched to strong safety as a sophomore at Vista Murrieta and added running back to his resume last season, while playing more of a roving outside linebacker on defense. It’s anybody’s guess where Cravens will end up playing when all is said and done, and he’s providing few clues of his preferences, but it’s all but guaranteed the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder will play wherever and anywhere he wants.

Joe Mathis, DL, Upland – The Highlanders inked four players to Pac-12 Conference scholarships this week, and Mathis is lined up to be the leader of next year’s class. Mathis averaged 6.1 tackles a game, with six sacks, two caused fumbles and two recoveries. The 6-4, 250-pounder committed to Washington midway through his junior season but look for him to keep his options open heading into his senior year. UCLA, Oregon State, Colorado and Indiana have also reportedly offered.

Kylie Fitts, DL, Redlands East Valley – Fitts burst onto the scene with seven sacks in the first five games, including 2 in a monumental upset against nationally ranked Mission Viejo in Week 5. His production slowed as more teams schemed to block him, but the 6-4, 245-pounder still averaged 6.6 tackles a game for one of the Southland’s most stout defenses. UCLA has made an early offer to Fitts, following in the footsteps of Boise State.

Marcus Baugh, TE, J.W. North – At 6-5, 225, Baugh was a handful on both sides of the ball. He caught 30 passes for 528 yards and seven touchdowns and registered seven sacks on defense. UCLA had already offered Baugh, while Michigan is showing serious interest as well. USC is also reportedly kicking the tires and Baugh has let it be known the Trojans are an early favorite.

Kenny Clark, OL/DL, Carter – UCLA, Washington and Fresno State are also hot on the trail of this 6-2, 285-pound two-way lineman, offering him last month. Clark, one of the top heavyweight wrestlers in the state, recorded 6 sacks, three pass deflections and two fumble recoveries on defense and led an offensive line that paved the way for just under 3,000 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns.

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Inland Division first-round previews

November, 17, 2011

First round, Friday

Redlands (4-6) at No. 1 Corona Centennial (9-1), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Centennial won the Big VIII League championship; Redlands finished third in the Citrus Belt League:

Matchup to watch: Redlands junior running back Craig Lee (142-1,353, 15 TDs) vs. Centennial linebacker Edem Nassar (8.5 tackles per game).

Fast fact: Centennial has won six Southern Section titles since 2000.

Prediction: Centennial 49, Redlands 21.

Los Osos (6-4) at Chaparral (6-4), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Chaparral finished runner-up in the Southwestern League; Los Osos finished third in the Baseline League.

Matchup to watch: Arizona State-bound offensive tackle Dylan LaFrenz of Los Osos (6-4, 280) vs. Chaparral defensive end Teddy Queen (6-3, 240).

Fast fact: The last time these teams met was in the second round of the 2007 playoffs, when Chaparral kicked a 27-yard field goal with a little more than a minute remaining, leading to an ugly shouting match between a few Los Osos coaches and fans.

Prediction: Chaparral 24, Los Osos 20.

Chino Hills (6-4) vs. Rancho Cucamonga (9-1) at Los Osos HS, 7 pm.

How they got here: Rancho Cucamonga finished second in the Baseline League; Chino Hills finished runner-up in the Sierra League.

Matchup to watch: Chino Hills junior receiver Jack Austin (45-726, 10 TDs) vs. Rancho Cucamonga secondary (five interceptions).

Fast fact: Rancho Cucamonga is 8-2 in the playoffs over the last three seasons.

Prediction: Rancho Cucamonga 31, Chino Hills 14.

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