A hot day in Thousand Oaks signified the opening day of the B2G Elite Football Program.
Several of the top players in California took the field at Mt. Clef Stadium in Cal Lutheran for an intense morning of practice.
With the focus being on simulating the first week of college practice, and the atmosphere being that of D-I football and not high school two-a-days, the players in attendance took part in several cone drills before breaking up into positional drills and then finally the one-on-one’s.
Three of the top running backs in the nation, led by five-star running back Marc Tyler from Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif., Raymond Carter from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles and Malachi Lewis from Rio Mesa in Oxnard, were the standouts in the morning session as was a pair of potential elite backs in the class of 2008, Jamal Womble from Buena High in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and Milton Knox, from Birmingham in Van Nuys.
Tyler and Carter both have great balance and footwork, while Lewis, who stands at a legit 6-4, also held his own with the gifted backs.
An intriguing prospect who came west, and worked with the running backs, was James Poe. Poe, from Freedom High in Orlando, Fla., committed to Louisville in November, but didn’t sign with the Cardinals because he came up short on the ACT. Poe is heading to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia and hopes to reopen his recruitment and sign again in February. Poe was recruited by Louisville as a linebacker but working with the running backs, was a big, physical presence.
The receivers who stood out in the morning session include the fastest prospect in the class of 2007, Reggie Dunn from Verbum Dei in Los Angeles, Zion Babb from Alhambra, Sean Wiser from Oaks Christian, T.J. Simpson from Peoria, Ariz., and Florida commit Chris Rainey, who looked very good in the drills. But the surprise of the morning may have been Mike Avila, from Seaside, who caught everything thrown to him and scored a touchdown against the top group of defenders in the 7-on-7.
Kemonte Bateman, a 2008 prospect from Crenshaw, had a great start to the morning before taking suffering an injury in the 7-on-7’s that knocked him out for the day. Javis Lewis, from Tustin, also started strong before he too suffered a day-ending injury.
Each of the three quarterbacks had good moments, though for the most part, they made the receivers work. David Potts from Monrovia was probably the most consistent of the trio, with Curtis Wilson from Verbum Dei and Evan Mozzochi from Columbia River in Vancouver, Wash., having their moments.
The linebackers and running backs fielded some spirited battles during the one-on-one’s. Carter went up against Akeem Ayers from Verbum Dei, and made a great catch to beat Ayers, though Ayers had two other reps in which he made very athletic plays. D.J. Holt from Crespi in Encino, continues to make the transition to linebacker from his normal defensive end spot had a good morning session as did Jordan Campbell from Norco, who despite getting shook in the 7-on-7 drills, generally looked good.
Other standouts at linebacker included Lawrence Winston from Compton, Essex Johnson from Verbum Dei and Terrell Turner from Crenshaw.
In the secondary, several of the top prospects who came had good morning sessions. Lance Mitchell, a four-star safety out of Muir in Pasadena continues to legitimize his ranking with an excellent morning. Mitchell had several pass deflections and physically looks very good.
Omar Bolden, a speedy cornerback from Colony in Ontario had a good morning as did Anthony Gildon from Oaks Christian. Other defensive backs who had a strong start were Vonzell McDowell from Rainier Beach in Seattle, Anthony Wright from Compton, Steve Stepter from Crenshaw, Marvin Walker from Chino, Johnathan Calhoun from Verbum Dei and Romeo Pellum from Santa Fe Springs.
The 7-on-7 had some standout plays, the highlights being running back James Davis from Monrovia putting a stop-and-go move on Jordan Campbell, who missed Davis and enabled him to get extra yardage and Malachi Lewis barrelling over an unidentified and unprepared linebacker who mistakenly got in his way.
Potts threw a nice touchdown pass to Avila, who really was the surprise of the morning. Dunn made a couple of nice plays on offense while Mitchell made some good plays on defense.
After taking some time off for lunch and a film session, the players returned to the field in the afternoon with several forty-yard races.
Rainey, coined the fastest man in Florida, and Dunn, the fastest man in California, went against each other in a pair of races. Dunn beat Rainey in the first one by a step but Rainey exacted a measure of revenge in the second race, beating Dunn by three steps. Several other players went against each other, with Raymond Carter beating Malachi Lewis in one forty and Tyler Thompson from Monrovia beating a field of five. Thompson went up against Rainey, who easily won.
The football came back with more individual drills and one-on-one’s and seven-on-seven’s. A long, hot day slowed the tempo down and contributed to some sloppy play early, but the players cleaned it up and ended the afternoon a strong note.
Day two is Saturday with the final day for the players to prepare for the A-Game, held on Sunday at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. The game begins at 2 p.m.
Scout.com will provide exclusive coverage the first three days of B2G and the camp, which runs from June 22-25, culminates on Sunday, the 25th with the A-Game.