Monday, March 17, 2014
Pylon Elite West Coast Regional notebook
By Erik McKinney
LAS VEGAS -- Sin City was home to the largest 7-on-7 tournament on record this past weekend, as 82 teams representing at least 10 states participated in the Pylon Elite West Coast Regional 7v7.
Gridiron Get It Done, a Southern California-based squad, came away with the title thanks to big performances from quarterback Cole Norris, wide receiver Kyle Sweet and safety Barrett Barbato. Sweet walked away with MVP honors and could be a name to watch on the recruiting circuit as he preps for his senior season at Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita.
Rosen, the nation’s top quarterback and No. 16 overall prospect, turned a few heads late last week when he took an unofficial visit to Michigan. Rosen had long spoken of a desire to visit the Wolverines, and with his decision set for Thursday, said this could have been his final chance to do so.
The nation's No. 1 quarterback, Josh Rosen, threw a curveball this weekend by taking a visit to Michigan.
“I wanted to get out of the state and visit somewhere else,” Rosen said. “I wanted to prove to myself that the place I was originally deciding on going was the right place for me.
“But it wasn’t that easy once I got up there (to Michigan). The trip went a lot better than I thought it would. Coach [Brady] Hoke and coach Nuss [Doug Nussmeier] are great guys, so we’ll see.”
Rosen is still set to announce his decision on March 20, but the next few days will be filled with more thought from the 6-foot-4, 200-pound quarterback than originally anticipated.
“I’m definitely going to reassess the situation,” Rosen said. “I’m pretty positive with my original decision, but the trip went pretty well. I want to step back and evaluate a little bit.
“Thursday is still the date and I’m pretty sure how it’s going to go, so we’ll see how it goes.”
This would be a huge and unexpected recruiting victory for Michigan if the Wolverines are able to pull it off. UCLA, the presumptive favorite for Rosen after Stanford never extended an offer and California fell behind in the race, still appears in a good position for the impact quarterback, though.
Masina on the move again
ESPN 300 athlete Osa Masina took unofficial visits to UCLA and USC earlier this spring, but the 6-4, 208-pound two-way standout said he will be on the road again in a few weeks, visiting Stanford, then UCLA and USC again on his way to Arizona State.
An early enrollee, Masina said he hasn’t put together a timeline for his recruitment yet.
“I haven’t picked a favorite or a top five or anything,” he said. “I might get it done before the season, maybe narrow it down to five or six, but I also might do it after.”
Masina said he’d like to take all five of his official visits, but the timeframe of needing to make a decision before January could put that plan in jeopardy. He also hasn’t thought much about a future position. While coaches have spoken to him about playing running back, defensive end and outside linebacker, there’s really only one position that concerns Masina.
“I’m happy playing anywhere as long as it’s on a football field,” he said.
Masina helped his Utah 1 team to the finals at the Las Vegas tournament.
Smith still waiting
Smith holds more than a few impressive offers, but the inside linebacker doesn’t think he’s done quite yet.
“Right now I’m waiting on a few schools,” he said. “Michigan, Nebraska, Alabama and Penn State. I want to see what else comes through.”
Arizona and Oregon could be two schools to see Smith soon, as he originally planned to watch the Ducks’ spring game but was forced to push that back due to a scheduled ACT.
“Michigan said they’d offer pretty soon,” Smith said of schools that could join his offer sheet. “I’ve made an official list and I know they’re going to be up there. They have a great tradition, and the Big Ten is a great place.”
Nebraska is another school that could get Smith on campus, but the big linebacker isn’t tipping his hand as to official visits quite yet. As an early enrollee, Smith is another top recruit using an expedited recruiting cycle and will need to make his decision in time to enroll for the winter or spring semester at the school of his choice.
“The list is in my head, and I don’t want to release it yet,” he said. “I know who I want to take officials to though. I don’t think I’ll go to UCLA or USC for officials, but those are already in my top five. Then I’ll add the last three schools as part of the officials I’ll take. Then I’ll commit right after my last official during the season.”
Youngsters grab attention
Events like this are a prime time for sophomores to showcase their abilities, and this weekend’s tournament was no exception.
Dual-threat quarterback Malik Henry, a 2016 star with offers already from BYU, Colorado, UCLA and USC, was arguably one of the top all-around performers, showcasing a strong arm and leadership skills in taking his team deep into the second day.
Athlete Brandon Burton, who is already one of the more heavily recruited athletes in California’s 2016 class, recorded three interceptions on Sunday, and was a consistent playmaker throughout the tournament.
Caleb Kelly, a physically impressive 2016 outside linebacker/safety at Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West, has already received attention from Florida State, Oklahoma and USC.