November 24, 2011
Updating Bee prep football recruiting list; does NCAA coaching firings change things?

By Joe Davidson

Here's an example of what sort of national recruit Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove is: Notre Dame coaches are coming for a home visit tonight. Cal coaches are coming by Tuesday, USC on Wednesday and Auburn on Friday. The joys of being such a prospect and the pressures, too - where to go, what's the best fit?

Shaq Thompson of Grant recently took a recruiting trip to Arizona State and had coach Dennis Erickson thrilled at the prospect of Thompson playing safety and on returns. Erickson has since been fired. So what now?

The No. 5 recruit prospect in the country and No. 1 in talent-rich California, according to MaxPreps, Thompson has taken recruiting trips to Washington (his good pal James Sample plays for the Huskies), Notre Dame and Oregon. Cal is also high on his list. It's anyone's guess where he winds up.

Also consider Nate Iese of Sheldon, Marcus Rios of Cosumnes Oaks and Steven Moore of Elk Grove. All have been offered by UCLA. Iese, an amazing prospect at 6-5 and 250 pounds and as classy as he is dominant, has a home visit by UCLA this very week. Does today's UCLA firing of Rick Neuheisel alter any of the local recruits? Recruiting this region hard for UCLA has been Bruins assistant coach Angus McClure, a former Sacramento State lineman and position coach.

Other senior "wow" recruits to me this fall have been, in no particular order:

* Dalen Jones, Woodland, WR/DB (tremendous athlete, playmaker, skills; verbal to WSU)
* Nate Iese, Sheldon, TE/DE (great pursuit and hands; offers from Nebraska, UCLA, among others)
* Michael Thomas, Cosumnes Oaks, WR (offers from UCLA, Nevada, UNLV with more coming; excellent FB IQ, still scratching his playing surface)
* Desmond Lewis, Pleasant Grove, DB (excellent cover man, fast; Air Force commitment)
* Steven Moore, Elk Grove, OL (great size at 6-7; can play G, T, TE; UCLA and Arizona are among those interested)
* Marcus Rios, Cosumnes Oaks, DB (a leader, fast, can play special teams; 17 offers)
* Dylan Collie, Oak Ridge, WR (willing to play any position; excellent hands, leader, drive; BYU commitment)
* Jake Rodrigues, Whitney, QB Jake Rodrigues (excellent in the spread, good arm driven; Oregon commitment)
* Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, TE (will win any biceps contest anywhere; USC commitment)
* Alex Bertrando, Del Oro, LB (team MVP again; great pursuit; Nevada commitment)
* Gavin Andrews, Granite Bay, OL (overpowering, strong, proud; Oregon State commitment)
* Carson McMurtrey, Folsom WR (fast, excellent hands, fine punter; Cal Poly-SLO commitment)
* J.T. Frank, Jesuit, DB (defensive playmaker with 6 picks & a great student; all sorts of Ivy League interest)
And those not high on any recruiting radar, but should at some point, right?
* Tanner Trosin, Folsom, QB (never mind slight build, the man is tough, tenacious, incredibly prolific; can also play in secondary)
* D.J. Dunn, Pleasant Grove, LB (brutish in pads at 6-3, 230 pounds, and fast; soaring stock; Air Force interest)
* Nathan Di Donato, Franklin, DE (his 22 sacks mean he's hard to block; fast)
* Mark Jenkins, Pleasant Grove, RB (yes, he's diminutive, but he's incredibly quick, shifty, instinctive)
* Logan Smith, Vista del Lago, WR (terrific hands, routes, 152 catches this year; rising interest)
* Austin Young, Colfax, QB (great size at 6-5; also played tight end earlier in career)
* Zac Cunha, Roseville, QB (excellent work ethic, size, arm, student, leader)
* Alex Wood, Folsom, LB (team leader on D has made a ton of plays)
* Brendan Keeney, Granite Bay, QB (poised, proud, tough, a winner, scholar)
* Spencer Briare, Granite Bay, TE/LB (don't want to get run over by this guy)
* Jordan Alleva, Folsom, OL (best lineman for best passing team in the state)
* Jonathan Iulio, Grant, LB (heart and soul of Pacers D; tough, fast, good size)
* Josh Letuligasenoa, Elk Grove, LB/TE (fast, ferocious, proud, leader)
* Watson Tautuiaki, Elk Grove, OL (strong in wing-T and wins most battles)
* Aaron Young, Vista del Lago, QB (at 6-3 with good touch, he's made a ton of plays)
* Mitch Samson, Casa Roble, QB (excellent scholar, leader and excellent touch passer)
* John Wiernicki, Liberty Ranch, RB (small school or not, you rush for 2,458 yards, you're doing something)
* Casey Lambert, Roseville, RB (a ton of yards in two seasons in rugged SFL)
* Deon Ransom, Elk Grove, RB/S (explosive, fast, a hitter, a leader)
* Zach Heath, Del Oro, OL (every bit as good as his brothers before him, and they got full rides)
* Cameron Buell, Casa Roble, LB (all he does is make plays and tackles, by the bushel)
* Preston Dean, Oak Ridge, FB/LB (brutish with the ball, brutish in pursuit with Ivy League grades)
* Maile Fainu, Burbank, DE (sack specialist with size and burst)
* Ray Edwards, Highlands, LB (relentless and has 22 sacks)
* Marcus White, Pleasant Grove, K (every time he kicks off, it's a touchback)
* Andrew Nave, Jesuit, K (excellent leg, athlete, student)
* Charlie Vue, Grant, K (area records for kick scoring means he's getting it through with distance, too)

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at or

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