It's official: Things are starting to heat up on the 7on7 passing tournament circuit here on the West Coast. This past weekend, in fact, some of the nation's premier players assembled for the Passing Down Challenge in Fontana (CA), located on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
There was a good reason for the above-average turnout at the Southern California regional event as teams attempted to qualify for the Best of the West Final on April 28 in Fullerton (CA). That said, here's an in-depth look at some of the high-profile prospects in attendance.
Kurt Scoby, RB, Monrovia (CA): We've seen the 5-foot-8 and 185-pound junior plenty of times in the past month, and each time, Scoby (pictured) has impressed. In the 247Sports Composite Rankings, he is the country's No. 36 player at his position. Scoby has offers from Oregon State and Miami thus far. Plans are in the works for a visit to USC this weekend. Washington has also expressed interest. “I think the Huskies are close to offering, and if they do, I may just commit,'' Scoby said. Stay tuned in the meantime. Details to follow, naturally.
D.J. Riggins, RB, Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian: For those who have not heard of his name, consider this as a formal introduction to Riggins. The days flying underneath the proverbial radar for 6-foot and 190-pound junior are over and it figures to be a mere matter of time before he receives his first scholarship. Riggins visited Utah early this month and Oregon, Washington and Washington State appear to be his next trips. “That first offer is coming, I can feel it because I'm talking to a lot of schools now,'' Riggins said.
Kishawn Holmes, APB, Murrieta (CA) Vista Murrieta: Eerily similar to Riggins, Holmes is about to pop and secure his first offer. Colorado State and BYU remain in constant contact with the 5-7 and 170-pound junior. Signs point to him ending up at a well-known school, however. Pac-12 Conference programs such as Colorado, Washington and UCLA have expressed varied levels of interest lately. A native of the Midwest, Holmes indicated that he was particularly happy with nearby Oklahoma State, which recently stepped up its efforts to impress him.
Brad Kaaya, QB, West Hills (CA) Chaminade: The race for top-billing among Southern California signal-callers is up for grabs and Kaaya's name must be mentioned in the conversation. The 6-4 and 215-pound junior has competition from peers Jalen Greene from Gardena (CA) Serra and Brandon Dawkins from Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian. Chances are, Kaaya holds his own against his counterparts in the future. Miami is his lone offer at this stage of the game and a visit with the Hurricanes went well a few weeks ago, in late March.
Tyler Hilinski, QB, Upland (CA): Some might have wondered what happened to him after rumors started to spread about a possible transfer from Sherman Oaks (CA) Notre Dame. Everything is fine, however. The 6-3 and 180-pound pro-style sophomore has found a new home in the Inland Empire, for the record. It did not take long for colleges to find Hilinski, in fact. He has been in contact with SEC schools Alabama and Mississippi. Both have not offered though. On this side of the country, Oregon, UCLA and Washington are potential suitors.
Damion Wright, QB, Fontana (CA) Jurupa Hills: Another youngster, the 6-1 and 185-pound dual-threat signal-caller from the Class of 2015 possesses some upside. Suppose that best explains why Wright has generated more and more interest from colleges, most notably being Arizona State. He has already visited Tempe and the Sun Devils. UCLA and USC also had him on campus. Georgia Tech and Wisconsin recently inquired about Wright, for good measure. Given those kind of facts, he's one to keep a close eye on moving forward.
Jonathan Lockett, CB, Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei: The 5-11 and 170-pound junior is one of the best in the business when it comes to the country's more talented secondary recruits. Lockett is the nation's No. 28 player at his position in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He has offers from Boise State and Notre Dame. Closer to home, most of the Pac-12 Conference has a scholarship waiting, including Oregon and UCLA. “The Bruins are my favorite,'' Lockett said. Based on that, we wouldn't be surprised to see him land in Westwood.
John Plattenburg Jr., CB, Corona (CA) Centennial: Things are starting to pick up for the 5-11 and 187-pound junior. Washington offered on Tuesday, joining the likes of Boise State and Utah, among others. Nevada and San Diego State have scholarships on the table as well. Also worth mentioning is the fact Colorado, UCLA and USC are apparently interested in Plattenburg Jr. A decision about his final destination for college ball is not eminent. The strategy appears to be for him to play the waiting game and watch his stock improve.
Donovan Lee, CB, West Hills (CA) Chaminade: An invite to Junior Day at USC was a step in the right direction for the 5-9 and 170-pound junior. Whether it leads to something down the road, an offer for example, remains to be seen. As of right now, his only scholarship is from Colorado. Lee is hearing from Pac-12 Conference programs Oregon and UCLA. Some others to test the waters are Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Randy Beggs, S, Murrieta (CA) Vista Murrieta: The 6-foot and 180-pound junior gets the job done both on and off the field. Beggs hits with the best of them on the gridiron and hits the books with an SAT score of 2070 in the classroom. Not surprisingly, Harvard and Yale are in the mix for a commitment. Northwestern is considered a major player too. Boise State and Michigan State have been in contact with him, but have not offered.
Sean Ceglinsky has covered prep and college sports on the West Coast for the better part of the past 15-plus years. Follow him on twitter: @SeanCeglinsky