It’s officially 7-on-7 season. Whether you love 7s, hate 7s or fall somewhere in between, there’s no doubt this area of the football universe has exploded in the last five years.
Yes, they’re in shorts. No, there’s not tackling (well, sometimes). Can 7s alone get offers for players? Not Likely. Can it help start some conversations or help refine certain skill sets? Absolutely.
There was some elite talent in Glendale last week for the Red Zone 7-on-7, and there are a few 2023 and 2024 prospects that jumped out.
As a disclaimer, this is an incomplete list. There were players that stood out on every team. I tried to cover as much ground and see as many teams as possible while out there, but some teams’ schedules just lined up and I was able to watch them more than other teams. Unless that very suspect website I sent a lock of hair to turns out to be legit, I cannot clone myself to cover multiple fields at once. Know that I tried my absolute best and the talent across the board was impressive.
Now let’s get to the list:
Cole Martin – Hamilton Defensive Back – 2023
As an incoming junior, Martin has already logged so much varsity time. He’s been a lockdown corner, was lightning in a bottle as a return man this past year and will now be taking on some receiver responsibilities this upcoming season. If you saw him with the ball in his hands last year, you understand why that move is happening. He’s picking up offers from big program after big program and continues to go head-to-head against some of the elite talent in the country.
CJ Tiller and Kyler Kasper – Williams Field QB and WR – 2023
These two are going to be fun to watch at Williams Field over the coming years. Both are entering their junior seasons and are coming off debut varsity seasons where they grew a ton. Kasper stands at 6-foot-5, has a 66-inch box jump and showed off some body control on contested catches that will make him tough to defend. He is really starting to see his recruitment pick up with Power 5 programs. Tiller capped off his debut season as a starter with three touchdowns against Goldwater and says the varsity speed is slowing down for him. He can make the big throws and throw underneath if need be. There will be features on both of them on the site in coming days.
This was a young Williams Field offense that replaced three seasoned offensive lineman heading into the 2020 season. Match a more experienced line with these two in the passing game and Kaden Cloud, Aziya Jamison and Sjawn Hunter in the backfield, and it’s going to be a scary group.
Here’s the passing duo teaming up:
Demond Williams Jr. – Basha Quarterback – 2024
I saw the Basha quarterback air it out as a freshman in 2020. He’s got a big arm and the stat I keep coming back to is he threw 16 touchdowns and four interceptions as a freshman. After Week 2, he only had two passes intercepted the rest of the season. He’s been one of the hottest recruits in the state, adding offers from Florida Atlantic, NAU, Central Michigan, Arizona and Colorado since the calendar turned to 2021. Over the weekend, he went againt some elite athletes and was able to fit some passes into tight windows and air it out. Like Williams Field, Basha has a young group coming up that have a lot of Bears excited.
Jackson Bowers – Mesa Mountain View Tight End – 2023
This is another player on the D-1 roster that jumped out. Jump balls, catching in space, he really did a lot and has a 6-foot-5 frame he can build upon over the next two years of high school ball. I saw him with the Toros in the second half of Mountain View’s win over Desert Vista this year. The game was pretty well in-hand for the Toros so they weren’t throwing a ton, but Bowers still made a catch and was drawing plenty of attention. He was tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with four.
Here’s one of the many times Williams and Bowers connected:
Jaci Dickerson – Saguaro ATH – 2024
Saguaro has a rich history of developing defensive back talent and these next few guys have the Sabercat coaching staff excited about the position group. Head coach Jason Mohns sees a lot of current Ohio State athlete Denzel Burke in Jaci Dickerson, who played on varsity as a freshman this past year. He can play on both sides of the ball but predominantly played on defense this past weekend. Mohns said Dickerson, along with a few other young Sabercats, were physically ready to play varsity last year as well as mentally ready. Dickerson currently holds an offer from ASU.
Cole Shivers – Saguaro DB – 2023
Shivers is another Saguaro ballhawk who is going to make life for opposing quarterbacks very, very difficult. I didn’t get to watch him as much as I would have liked, but he made some key plays on defensive throughout the weekend. Mike Norvell and Kenny Dillingham are the first to offer Shivers from Florida State.
— 21 ® (@coleshivers21) February 10, 2021
Miles Lockhart – Basha Defensive Back – 2024
The Basha defensive back was productive as a freshman, notching 64 total tackles, four tackles for loss and an interception. In what I saw last weekend, he was not afraid to get physical on 50-50 passes and can certainly get up in the jump-ball scenarios to knock down passes. He currenlty holds offers from Arizona State and Arizona.
Deric English – Mountain Ridge Wide Receiver – 2023
This weekend was the first time I was able to see English in action in person. Despite being banged up at the end of the year, the sophomore brought in seven touchdowns in six games for Mountain Ridge. I didn’t get to watch his Dolphins team as much as I wanted to this weekend, but he made some nice catches in traffic. He holds offers from Morgan State, NAU and was offered by Kevin Sumlin’s staff at Arizona. Mountain Ridge has an impressive group of 2023 players coming up so he’ll be one to watch for sure.
Matt Klopfenstein – Horizon Tight End – 2023
Leading up to the 2019 season, I was at a Horizon workout and then-head coach Ty Wisdom pulled me a side and pointed to a young player working out with the varsity tight ends. “See that guy? That’s Klopfenstein. He’s going to be a stud.” At that time, Matt Klopfenstein had not taken a high school class yet but stood with, and above, his much older classmates. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound 2023 tight end made some nice catches throughout the weekend and currently holds an Arizona offer.
Again, this is just a small glimpse of the playmakers from the weekend. Looking forward to seeing them in pads in a few months.