As the weather in Thousand Oaks cooled down a little bit, so did the intensity at the morning session at the B2G Elite Football Program.
While the 65 players in attendance brought up the intensity Friday morning, the afternoon practice saw many of them hit their wall.
A more subdued group took the field on Saturday morning, but all it took was the return of the one-on-one’s to get the competitive juices flowing.
The receivers consistently had the number of the defensive backs in the one-on-one’s. Lakeland (Fla.) receiver Chris Rainey made life tough for several of the corners he matched up against, in one instant shaking Maxwell Lacy from Verbum Dei, who was in his first practice with the corners. Lacy could only shake his head, but aside from that play had a good morning of practice.
Lacy’s teammate Reggie Dunn had another solid performance in the one-on-one’s as did T.J. Simpson of Peoria, Russell Carr of Don Lugo in Chino and Kemonte Bateman of Crenshaw. Bateman left Friday’s practice after taking a cleat to the face and returned with a nice shiner but the same production he brought on Friday. Tight end Eric Brooks from Monrovia continues to look better and better each time we see him.
Class of 2008 prospect, Queshawn Gregory from Venice had an excellent morning practice. Gregory has good size and catches the ball well. He’s also quick off the line. He will be one to watch in the future.
With all of the standouts at receiver on the day, the best was easily Zion Babb, a four-star prospect out of Alhambra. Babb struggled in the morning session on Friday but bounced back on Friday afternoon, setting the table for a strong performance on Saturday. Babb is quick out of the blocks and is a very physical presence. On numerous occasions, he gained separation relatively early and easily and caught the ball with more fluidity.
Receivers coach Eric Scott rode the players in the individual session, challenging them to be more crisp in their route running, and it paid off in the one-on-one’s.
The defensive backs did have their moments on Saturday led by Omar Bolden of Colony in Ontario and Michael Evans of Carson. Romeo Pellum from Santa Fe Springs had a pick-six in the one-on-one drills.
Malachi Lewis, who spent Friday with the running backs, showed his versatility (he’s being recruited at four different positions). Lewis has good size and good football knowledge, as well as being coachable and made a seamless transition working with the corners. On two consecutive reps, he jammed the receiver at the line of scrimmage, knocking down the receiver both times, hindering the timing route. With an award given out for “Most Versatile Player” at the end of the week, Lewis threw his name into the ring for that honor.
B2G founder Henry Bell is coaching the defensive backs at the camp and was impressed with Lewis’ performance on Saturday.
“Malachi did a real good job at corner today. I think he’s a DB in college because he’s so rangy and big,” said Bell.
Bell also pointed out Evans, Bolden and safety Lance Mitchell from Muir in Pasadena as standouts.
The quarterbacks looked sharper on Saturday, with David Potts from Monrovia the standout. Potts is still raw but has nice size for a quarterback and a strong arm. Curtis Wilson and Evan Mozzochi also were more consistent on Saturday.
With the running backs and linebackers going over mostly formations, the one-on-one’s lacked the pizzazz that their counterparts out wide enjoyed. Jordan Campbell from Norco spent part of the early morning with the running backs, which is what the four-star backer is being recruited as by USC, but the “born linebacker” quickly exchanged his grey running back jersey for the red linebacker jersey and fit right back in. Terrell Turner also continues to make play after play and is beginning to make a name for himself.
In the 7-on-7’s, the offense took advantage of the early morning momentum, and moved the ball on the defense. Running back Jamal Womble, a class of 2008 prospect, made some nice plays, as did Babb and Dunn, and the offense punctuated the drive on a Curtis Wilson throw to running back Raymond Carter which Carter took in for a touchdown.
Then the defense tightened up. Campbell, Akeem Ayers and D.J. Holt were able to prevent any short passes from being completed. Doncel Bolt, from Long Beach Poly, came in at backer and stepped in front of pass intended for James Davis and took it back for a touchdown, which he punctuated with a finger roll over the uprights.
The afternoon session included speed training and plyometrics and more spirited one-on-one’s and seven-on-sevens.
The matchups were pretty much a draw, with the offense and defense both winning numerous battles each.
Wilson had his best practice of the weekend, particularly in the red zone and completing every throw. Mozzochi looked a better and more accurate and comfortable. Potts struggled a bit in the afternoon session.
Davis was the best running back in the afternoon session, edging past Carter, showing more separation and fluidness during the one-on-one's and seven-on-seven's than Carter did. Still, Carter had another solid day, showing good hands, route running and body control when catching the ball.
Babb ended the day on a strong note, using his size to his advantage and separating from the defensive backs consistently, as he did in the morning. Dunn was just behind Babb in the afternoon with Rainey looking good for the most part, though he did have a couple of drops.
Brooks had another fine practice and may have been the best pass-catcher regardless of position on Saturday afternoon. He runs great routes has good body control and has very soft hands.
Defensively, the linebackers were paced by Ayers, Holt and Campbell, each looking agressive and intense. Ayers had an interception during the one-on-one's. Turner ended the day positively as well, bouncing back from a couple of rough reps and making some good plays the end of practice. Turner showed a short memory from those mishaps and finished up strong. Essex Johnson also made some positive contributions.
In the secondary, Bolden and Lacy both stood out amongst the cornerbacks, both getting interceptions and Johnathon Calhounhad a good afternoon.
Mitchell had another good day while Anthony Wright from Compton performed very well in the afternoon session.
A handful of players stayed out of the sessions because of passing league commitments with their high school teams, namely the Oaks Christian trio of Marc Tyler, Anthony Gildon and Sean Wiser and the Birmingham duo of Milton Knox and Will Chandler. All will be returning for the A-Game on Sunday.
Bell summed up the subdued mood in the morning. “A lot of these guys came in hyped and ready to make a name for themselves and it was intense. Then they kind of hit a wall so they took a step back and cleaned things up. They looked sharp today and we had a good film session and saw some things.”
The A-Game will now put the exclamation point on the weekend. It begins on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Mt. Clef Stadium in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
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.