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Friday, February 27, 2009
Lakewood boasts talented '10 prospects


Lakewood (Calif.) has been one of the top programs in Southern California the past few years. The school has produced players such as Luther Brown (USC), Adrian McCovey (Arizona), Trevor Erno (Arizona) and Talia Crichton (Washington) but the 2010 class is absolutely loaded with four players already drawing national scholarship offers.

After watching film on Lakewood, you can make a strong argument that the Lancers have five of the premier players in the West region.

Jesse Scroggins, 6-2, 200 pounds has not gotten nearly the hype of some of the other in-state signal callers but his film is the best I've seen among the Cali quarterbacks. As a junior, he earned Moore League Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 2,556 yards and 24 touchdowns

Scroggins has great mechanics with an effortless release and a strong, accurate arm. He moves well in the pocket and has the ability to run for yards or buy time and is always looking down the field.

"Everyone is calling about Jesse right now," Lancer coach Thadd Mac Neal said. "He has been offered by Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State and Tennessee just offered yesterday.

"Cal and UCLA really like him a lot and I think San Diego State is going to offer soon. Al Borgers is at SDSU now and he said Jesse reminds him a lot of Jason Campbell who he coached at Auburn. Alabama, Auburn, Colorado and Kansas State are very high on him as well."

Wide out Kevin Anderson, 6-0, 185 pounds has very good speed, hands and is a solid route runner as well. He earned all-league honors for the second year in a row last season after catching 50 balls for 1,159 yards and 15 touchdowns.

"Kevin is a playmaker," Mac Neal said. "I would love to know what other receivers in the area are better. He has offers from Purdue, Oregon, Arizona, Kentucky, Boise State and a few others that I can't remember right now."

Dion Bailey, 6-0, 195 pounds is one of the region's top safeties and earned 1st team all-state underclass honors by CalHiSports.com after leading the state with nine interceptions. Bailey is an absolute ball hawk with great range. He may not have the hitting ability of Sean Parker at Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) but is better in coverage and can make plays all over the field.

"When it's all said and done, I think Dion will probably have more offers than anyone on our team," Mac Neal said. "Some of his interceptions last year were insane. He would just jump over people and he's not afraid to come and play the run. He had some big hits last year but he's so good coverage that some schools like him for corner but I think safety is his best position.

"Dion has offers from Michigan, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State, Colorado and Oregon State. I think Oregon is very close as well and UCLA likes him a lot too."

Defensive lineman Justin Utopo is one of the more intriguing lineman I've seen. At 6-2, 245 pounds, he plays end and tackle and has the frame and athleticism to play anywhere on the defensive line in college depending on how much size he can put on.

Utopo led the Moore League in tackles for loss and had 78 tackles and 10 sacks on the year. He shows great quickness off the ball, is very strong and has a motor. It's not easy finding quality defensive tackles out West but Utopo has the frame to easily add another 40 pounds or so and should really blow up in the Spring.

"Justin has offers from BYU, Utah and Colorado State. He's the one player we have that USC is talking about and I know they like him a lot. Justin is LDS so he has a connection with BYU but honestly I think all these guys are open right now.

"Washington offered all four kids the same day and is trying to get them to come out for their Junior Day in April but I'm not sure when the exact date is."

Ironically, the top player at Lakewood is probably running back Jerry Stone but academic concerns have caused most schools to take a wait and see approach with him.

"Jerry is incredible, I can't imagine a better running back anywhere," Mac Neal said. "His film is on YouTube and everyone who sees it is just in awe of it. He has everything you could want, speed, power, balance, vision, toughness and great hands out of the backfield.

"He had 110 yards against Long Beach Poly in the 1st half last year but tweaked his hamstring and couldn't play much in the second half. Nobody does that against Poly in a game more less a half. He has some academic issues he's working out and there's still a chance he could qualify and if he does, he'll have everyone after him, he's that good."