Hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July and if you’re in Phoenix, or anywhere nearby, you’re staying cool. The summer, weather not withstanding, is moving quickly so here we go.
Let’s Think About This
I was taken back to find out 7-on-7/big men competitions were still happening around the Valley as late as last week. So too are events like this one.
I’m at Coronado for Night 2 of the Arizona Showcase Camp. Local athletes getting better on a hot July evening (current temperature: 106). pic.twitter.com/lozSJHshbQ
— Gridiron Arizona (@gridironarizona) July 3, 2017
I understand these can be important from a recruiting aspect but players have all spring and other summer opportunities to showcase their skills before fall practices begin. My point is, besides the fact these players are competing in the brutal heat of the summer, many are also losing any “down time” away from the game with some schools starting back up in just a couple of weeks.
S/O to the Lineman who won the CV Big Man Competition Thursday night! The Denny Trophy stays home this year! @gridironarizona @AZHSFB pic.twitter.com/hFmS0kBxzv
— CV Football (@coachragsdalecv) July 1, 2017
Further, some coaches feel the lines are becoming blurred when it comes to 7-on-7 tournaments. Yes, it’s competition but more importantly, to the core, it’s an opportunity for teams to improve the basics: scheme, stance and alignments. They’re exhibitions, played without pads with offenses having distinct advantages not having to worry about blitz packages or even basic pass rushes.
“The older I get, the more I don’t value 7-on-7 tournaments,” Paradise Valley head coach Greg Davis said to Sports360AZ.com. “Coaches play to win passing games, instead of running what they run…I see offenses doing things they don’t do during the season. Need a first down during a passing tournament? No problem, throw it your running back where your center would be to pick up a yard or two.”
Davis also believes less summer football would be beneficial to everyone.
“Football is a long grind already,” Davis explained. “Playing 100 passing leagues games in the summer, in my opinion, is too much.”
Brothers In Arms
Over the weekend I started thinking about the elite quarterbacks who either are playing, or have recently played high school football in Arizona. It seems each month another young star emerges with a Power 5 offer like this one.
Just had a great talk with @coach_bnapier super excited to receive an offer to Arizona State! Thank you Coach Napier! #ForksUp ?? pic.twitter.com/l4LQTy9i8Q
— Gunner Cruz (@GunnerCruz) June 28, 2017
So I decided to reach out to our recruiting expert Jason Jewell to get the 411 on this recent run of signal callers. Turns out, according to Jewell, the string of college-level quarterbacks dates all the way back to 2004.
What we’re seeing now, more than ever before, are schools from around the nation invading Arizona in search of players at all positions, including quarterback. A decade ago, (before Hudl, personal quarterback coaches and the true evolution of social media/video), power programs may not have been made aware of most Arizona prospects, especially ones on the other side of the country.
It also doesn’t hurt Power 5 programs are now bringing in several millions of dollars each year from conference television deals, partnerships, etc. which can substantially boost recruiting budgets.
Keeping with the quarterback theme, Sunrise Mountain alum Chase Cord traveled to Boise this week to begin fall workouts for the Broncos.
— Chase Cord (@Iam_r00k) July 3, 2017
The three-sport 6-foot-3, 195-pound Cord will be missed, not only for what he did on the field the last four years (over 12,000 total yards and 175 touchdowns), but for what he did off it, putting his team before himself after a devastating injury his junior year. The lessons learned and experiences gained, will accompany him to Boise State.
“I’m going to take with me those special moments on Friday nights with my teammates where we’re jumping around pre-game,” Cord recently said to Sports360AZ.com. “The highs and the lows only made me stronger. [It] helped me realize what hard work was all about…I put my head down and worked through it. I know it was a blessing in disguise.”
Beware future Mountain West opponents. I don’t think Cord has reached his football ceiling quite yet.
Young At Heart
Arizona is loaded with young talent and one of the state’s top programs is hoping little brother turns out to be half the player his older sibling was in the west Valley. Perennial power Centennial will feature sophomore Jaydin Young this fall. If the last name sounds familiar, it should. Older brother Dedrick starred on both sides of the ball for head coach Richard Taylor before making an impact in the Big 10.
Nebraska linebacker @dedrick_young on the cover of @AthlonSports preseason magazine, #Huskers edition. pic.twitter.com/e4RL5Nye07
— Adam Carriker (@AdamCarriker94) May 30, 2017
As for little brother, how many Pop Warner players have highlight reels that look like this? If you think the football shadow his older brother cast is too big, think again.
“I wouldn’t call it pressure,” Dedrick said to Sports360AZ.com from Lincoln, NE. “He already has his mind set that he wants to try to be better than me.”
Paying It Forward
Loved seeing college and NFL stars like Christian Kirk and Odell Beckham, Jr. spending time teaching and mentoring elite prep talent at The Opening in the Pacific Northwest last weekend.
So OBJ stopped by #TheOpening‼️? pic.twitter.com/bEX4yHJj6Q
— Tyler Shough (@tylershough2) July 3, 2017
According to Shough, OBJ was approachable and discussed just about anything a camper had on their mind, even taking time for several pictures like the one above.
“He was a really cool guy and really lit,” Shough said about his encounter with the New York Giants three-time Pro-Bowler.
Odell Beckham Jr. crashes @TheOpening dance competition just now. pic.twitter.com/FV27Lcr7LA
— Shea Dixon (@Sheadixon) July 2, 2017
I also asked the Hamilton Huskies’ senior star and University of North Carolina commit if he was able to throw to Beckham.
“Maybe when Eli [Manning] retires,” he quipped.
Who knew under that great head of hair was a sense of humor to boot?
Jordan Hamm has more on Shough’s time in Beaverton, Oregon here.