Passing Down brought together 12 teams from all over the state with four teams each representing Southern California, Northern California and Central California. In the end, BBT was the best of the best knocking off B2G 5 Star in the final 22-6.
Here’s a look at the top defensive players from the tournament, we looked at the top offensive players on Monday. Passing Down Top Offensive Players
Jonathan Lockett, DB Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei- Had B2G, who lost in the finals to BBT, won the tournament, Lockett would have had a great chance of earning tourney MVP honors. The corner had a great day and just keeps getting better. In terms of technique, Lockett has few peers and is one of the few corners out west who can actually play off and still cover a receiver. Whereas so many other corners can only press and resort to clutching and grabbing, Lockett has the feet and athleticism to hang right in an opposing receivers hip pocket and the speed to run with them as well.
D.J. Calhoun, LB El Cerrito (Calif.)- Calhoun was impressive showing high level athleticism and toughness. He played inside ‘backer for TMP but could play on the outside in college as well. He’s a very physical player who does a nice job covering tight ends, redirecting receivers coming over the middle and showed excellent speed chasing down plays run away from him. Some have knocked his HT but he has a sister that is 6-3 and there’s a good chance he’s not done growing as he’s still only 16. What separates Calhoun from other ‘backers we’ve seen is his compete level, leadership and physicality. He carries himself the way a leader should and has a very nice future ahead of him.
John Plattenburg, Corona (Calif.) Centennial- The Frat Boys disappointed as a team, but Plattenburg was among the top corners in the event. At about 5-10, 180 pounds, Plattenburg is very well put together, plays physical at the line and has very good feet. He competes hard on every play, has a serious edge to him and closes well on the ball. There is no doubt Plattenburg has the talent to play for just about any program out west. If you’re looking for a comparison, think of Oregon all-Pac 12 corner Ifo-Ekpre Olomu.
Adarius Pickett, DB El Cerrito (Calif.)- Pickett is built like a safety but isn’t stiff and moves around effortlessly. He looks all of 6-0, 190 pounds and as you would expect from a big corner, loves to play in press coverage and beat up a receiver at the line of scrimmage. Pickett showed he could turn and run with a receiver when he played off as well and was rarely tested until the end of the tournament when he looked obviously fatigued. Pickett was beat for a few touchdowns late in the day but when looking at his upside and potential, it’s easy to see why he’s a national recruit. That frame alone screams BCS prospect and then throw in his athletic ability and you have a pretty special player.
Michael Lazarus, LB Berkley (Calif.)- We’ve said it multiple times but it’s shocking Lazarus doesn’t have more than two offers. He just looks how an elite college linebacker prospect should look with his size and athleticism. He’s listed at 6-2, 215 pounds but has a big frame and will have no problem adding another 30 pounds or so. He projects as a prototype inside ‘backer in college but runs well enough to play outside and might be an ideal fit in a 3-4 scheme. Lazarus doesn’t just have size, he can run and is flexible. He can chase down plays and looks very natural dropping in to coverage. He’s a physical player and is a natural leader as well and played extremely hard all tournament long on Sunday.
Sidney Jones, DB West Covina (Calif.)- Jones can play receiver or corner but had a huge impact in the secondary for the winning BBT team. He has a great frame and looks all of 6-0, maybe 6-0.5, long arms and high level athleticism. He showed the speed to turn and run with anyone and has very good ball skills. He moved around between corner to safety but completely locked down his side of the field all day.
Maurice McKnight, DB San Bernardino (Calif.) Arroyo Valley- McKnight just smothers opposing receivers and did so all tournament long. He has long arms and can get up in a receiver but also showed the speed to run down the field. He’s a physical player and has an edge to him. He’s in that 6-0 range and looks like he could continue to grow even more and he shows plus ball skills as well. There’s no doubt McKnight is one of the biggest sleepers out west.
Kurt Scoby, LB Monrovia (Calif.)- Scoby made some big plays at running back but did his best work at linebacker. Scoby is built like a tank and is one of the strongest players in the region. He can cover, showed good balance and was very physical throughout. He’s an enforcer on the field, when things get a little chippy, Scoby is a guy you want on your side.
Malik Cyphers, DB Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian- Cyphers is a competitor and was one of the few players on the Frat Boys team who looked like they cared. Cyphers is a tough kid, and plays with a lot of emotion. He can cover a slot receiver and was physical throughout. He’s a plus athlete and has worked hard in the weight room to improve his size and strength and is definitely worthy of more Div I attention.
Jordan Thomas, DB Hayward (Calif.) Stellar Prep- Thomas is a very intriguing player who has some significant upside. He’s a linebacker but is making the move to corner and looked very good. You don’t often see that transition, usually it’s linebacker to safety but Thomas has very good speed and athleticism. He still plays with a linebacker mentality and was probably the most physical corner in the tournament. When college coaches get a good look at Thomas, expect his recruitment to pick up rapidly.
Fred Warner, LB San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills- Warner is a great looking player and has made a tough transition from defensive end to linebacker look easy. He moves so well for a big athlete and has tremendous upside. Warner is comfortable playing the pass, has excellent closing speed and always plays physical. He plays inside but probably projects best as an outside ‘backer in a 3-4 at the next level.
Artuz Manning, DB Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)- Manning always competes hard and he had another strong tourney Sunday. This was the most physical we’ve seen him and he always seems to really relish the opportunity to go up against some of the big name players and more than holds his own. Manning has good feet and never gets turned around. He has good ball awareness and football instincts and should be added to the list of the top players in the state still waiting for their first offer.
Stanley Norman, DB Culver City (Calif.) – Norman was the MVP of the tournament and dominated on both sides of the ball. No player plays with a bigger chip than Norman but he backed it up every game. He took on the other teams top receiver and completely locked them up and had no problem letting said receiver know about it after the fact. Norman is so fluid in his movement and was arguably the quickest player in the event. He changes direction so easily and has very good top end speed as well. He has long arms and is still growing in to his body. He’s thin but is strong and at 5-11, there’s definitely room to fill out but he there is no doubt Norman is an elite recruit in the 2015 class.
Iman Marshall, DB Long Beach Poly (Calif.)- Marshall arrived late after flying home from the Penn Relays, only a five hour flight. You couldn’t sense much jet lag in how Marshall played as he bounced between corner and safety and was very active and always around the ball. Marshall has such a big frame and it shocks people to hear he’s just 16. He’s a big athlete who can run and this year at Poly, watch for him to make plenty of noise at receiver, a position he dominated at his freshman season.
Marvell Tell, DB Encino (Calif.) Crespi- Tell is a rangy safety but with corner skill and athleticism. He can jump out of the gym, has great speed and lateral movement and has as much upside as just about any defensive back in this class. He has good ball skills, long arms and will have the ability to play just about anywhere in the secondary to create mismatches at the next level.
N.J. Falo, LB Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum- Falo was one of the most active linebackers in the event and also showed good hands working out at tight end. Falo has a strong body, plays physical and showed good athleticism. TMP had a great group of linebackers with Falo, Calhoun and Lazarus and the rising junior has a very nice upside to him.
Larry Hardy, DB Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum- Hardy played safety and receiver and has a ton of natural ability. He has a very athletic frame and looks about 6-1, 175 pounds. He draws raves for his hands and has a wide catch radius but he looked natural at safety as well. Hardy can cover a lot of ground, has the ball skills you would expect from a receiver and plays with toughness as well.