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2014 Scout 300: West Coast Perspective
Here's a look at the 17 players out West who made the Scout 100. We'll check out the players who were rated in the 101-300 range in a later story. There wasn't a consensus choice as the top overall prospect in the region but Fresno (Calif.) Central two-way standout Michiah Quick got the nod and he's definitely deserving. Quick, rated No. 7 nationally, is an elite receiver prospect, a true game breaker with size, hands and explosiveness in the open field. He's also a very talented cornerback prospect, electric kick returner and could play on either side of the ball in college. He's having a monster junior season with 13 touchdowns through five games, including seven from 50 yards or more. "That's a huge honor for me and it's just going to make me work that much harder," Quick said. "I'm not going to let this get to me or get me big headed. I'm going to keep grinding, keep staying late after practice catching balls, and focus on my team and trying to help the guys win every game. It's definitely very exciting though and means a lot to me." Coming in at No. 2 in the region, No. 16 nationally is another player who could play on either side of the ball in college. Nathan Starks, from tradition rich Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman plays running back and safety for the Gaels but projects best with the ball in his hands. Starks best performance of the year might have come in the Gaels only loss to national power Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic when he rushed for 147 yards on just 14 carries and returned a kickoff 95 yards to the house. "Starks is similar to a Su'a Cravens or Shaq Thompson, guys we had rated very highly the past few years in that he's a special player on both sides of the ball," national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman said. "Unlike those two however, I think Starks' future is probably going to be on offense. "He's real physical, has tremendous athleticism, good ball skills and is just a very good all around player. He's an elite athlete on both sides of the ball and I really like his upside a lot." A pair of offensive lineman who are both already committed to USC enter the national mix at No. 17 and No. 23 respectively. Jordan Poland out of La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) is a mammoth tackle prospect and at 6-8, 335 pounds, is one of the biggest lineman in the nation. Poland camped with the Trojans over the summer where he was offered a scholarship immediately following the event and jumped on it. He's an intriguing player with an interesting story as he's originally from Arizona where he played his first two years of high school ball before moving to San Diego and reclassifying to the class of 2014. Tucker is the top rated player in what is a loaded year for talent in the Grand Canyon State. He hails from the always loaded Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton program and is one of the nation's top tackle prospect. Tucker was offered a scholarship by the Trojans after an unofficial visit to the campus back in the summer and committed a week later over a host of schools including Notre Dame, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma and most of the Pac 12. "Arizona has had a nice run of lineman in the last few years and Tucker is another one that projects as an elite prospect," Huffman said. "He's a tackle who could slide to guard in college as well. "He's kind of in that Christian Westerman mold as a guy who could play multiple positions in college and is a real physical player. He's impressive in run support and is a very good looking all around lineman." Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian athlete Nifae Lealao is the top defensive lineman in the West, No. 28 player nationally and his upside is off the charts. At 6-5, 270 pounds, Lealao has a college body right now, a quick first step and explodes up the field. He's very strong, often taking on and abusing double teams and is relentless in his pursuit to the ball carrier. BYU, California, Colorado, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and Utah have all offered the talented lineman. Gardena (Calif.) Serra is known for producing elite wide receivers including future 1st round draft picks Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, both at USC. In 2014, they can boast the top defensive back in the region in Adoree Jackson, who could be the state's top corner prospect right now. Jackson, who comes in at No. 34 nationally, has everything you could want in a cover corner including size, electric speed, ball skills and toughness. He's also one of the nation's top long jumpers and won a state title jumping 25' and plans to double sport in college. LSU is the dream school but has yet to offer. Jackson does have offers from Colorado, Nebraska, Northwestern, SMU, UCLA, Utah, Washington and Washington State. Coming in at No. 40 is Budda Baker, the top prospect in the NW region. The Bellevue (Wash.) two-way standout is a big play running back as well as a shut down corner and could easily play on either side of the ball at the next level. "Baker is arguably the top 2014 skill position player in the Northwest region on offense and defense," West regional analyst Jake Worthen said. "He plays running back and safety for the Wolverines, but may wind up playing neither position in college. The best fit for Baker's rare blend of speed, balance and ball skills should be cornerback. "He's undersized for the safety position, but has the hips to turn and run with receivers. He's a proven game breaker and even makes an impact in the return game." UCLA was first to offer Baker as a sophomore and several others including Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Washington, Colorado, Notre Dame, and Washington have followed suit. A pair of elite receivers from Arizona are next up with Jalen Brown coming in at No. 46 nationally and Cameron Denson at No. 51. Brown hails from Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe and like so many other players on this list, is a dominant player on both sides of the ball. He's an elite safety who earned all-region honors as a freshman but likely projects best as a receiver. Brown is way past the double digit offer mark and has scholarships from schools like Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, UCLA, and Virginia. While Brown is a long, lean athlete, Denson is shorter but more explosive. He doubles as a corner and has tremendous quickness and play making ability. The athlete has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington, among others. A few other random notes: *La Mirada (Calif.) athlete Tyler Luatua (No. 57) and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain's Mark Andrews (No. 61) will battle for the top tight end spot in the region. Luatua is also being recruited as a defensive end and Andrews is an elite receiver prospect who wants to stay at receiver in college but at 6-6, 220 pounds, he may out grow the position. *Lompoc's (Calif.) Ainuu Taua is the top rated defensive tackle in the region and rated No. 67 nationally. *South Jordan (Utah) Bingham tight end Dalton Schultz is the top rated player in Utah and checks in at No. 73 nationally. He burst on to the scene at last summer's New Level 7 on 7 tournament in Las Vegas playing for the winning Team Utah squad. *Palo Alto's (Calif.) Keller Chryst is the top rated quarterback in the West, No. 78 nationally but it's a tight race over Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain's Kyle Allen, who checks in at No. 84. Both players had impressive showing at the NorCal NIKE Camp in Oakland last summer and it will be fun watching the two go head to head once again this coming spring. *Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton offensive lineman Jackson Barton, No. 90 and Lakewood (Calif.) offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn, No. 95 are two of the top tackles in the region and both have made commitments to in-state schools. Barton will play for Utah and Lobendahn is the third offensive lineman ranked in the top 100 who has committed to USC. *Checking in at the No. 100 spot is yet another player from the powerhouse Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton program. Defensive end Qualen Cunningham is an explosive pass rusher with offers from both in-state programs plus Boise State, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Washington.
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