REDONDO BEACH, Calif. - Some of the top skill players on the West coast turned out for the IMG Elite 7on7 West regional on Saturday and Sunday and competed for a spot in June's national championships in Bradenton, Fla. The powerhouse B2G program won both first place and runner-up awards but plenty of players made their presence felt. Five-stars and sleepers alike emerged on the 247Sports top performers' list.
Iman Marshall plays well above his age.
1. Iman Marshall, S, Long Beach Poly (2015) – You’re going to get tired of hearing the name Iman Marshall but that isn’t going to stop anyone from writing it. Marshall hasn’t even played a down of varsity football but the rising sophomore is proving this offseason that he is more than ready for the step up.
This weekend, Marshall helped lead the B2G five-star squad to a tournament championship and helped spearhead the best defensive unit in the tournament. Marshall plays with instincts and confidence that belies his age and with good size already, it is scary to think what he could develop into with three years of development remaining.
2. Su'a Cravens, S/WR, Vista Murrieta – Though he lands at No. 2 on 247Sports’ list of top performers, we wouldn’t begrudge anyone if they were to leave him off the top ten list completely. That is not to say that Cravens’ play wasn’t deserving but that he was rarely tested on defense and targeted sparingly on offense. But when he was tested defensively, he made opponents pay and when he was thrown to offensively, he rarely disappointed.
Cravens had arguably the most efficient day at the event. Any ball in his general vicinity, Cravens will hawk it down. He is a beast on jump balls, shows strong hands, great instincts and affects the play even when not directly involved. The five-star prospect never seems to disappoint.
3. Charles Okonkwo, CB, Fontana Summit - Though Cravens lived up to his expectations, he was hardly a one-man team and his Frat Boyz squad played itself all the way into the final three for the weekend. Another big part of that team’s success was the play of cornerback Charles Okonkwo. Okonkwo has extremely good size and was terrific in pass coverage all weekend.
Currently Okonkwo has offers from Boise State and San Diego State and a lot of credit should be given to those staffs for digging up this gem. With great length, Okonkwo changes directions with ease, has great hips and accelerates crisply out of his breaks.
4. Tahaan Goodman, S, Rancho Cucamonga – For the tournament winning B2G Five-Star team, Goodman was the bell cow of its stifling defense. He looks the party physically at safety but Goodman shows the instincts to be around the football consistently play after play. When given the opportunity, Goodman capitalizes showing great ball skills and finishing ability.
Not only was the B2G Five-Star squad the most talented defense but it was also one of the more vocal and everyone seemed to take their cues from Goodman at safety. Goodman had a presence that legitimizes his lofty ranking and a level of play that did the same.
Charles Okonkwo has elite cornerback skills.
5. Adoree’ Jackson, CB, Gardena Junipero Serra (2014) – The program that has produced the likes of Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and George Farmer in recent years is loaded once again and Jackson is one of the up and coming stars. A transfer in to the Serra program from Illinois this past year, Jackson is one of the elite athletes in the country with a long jump of 24 feet 6 inches and a sub-22 second 200 meter time.
But Jackson is more than just an athlete. He showed great cover skills at cornerback all weekend long with the ability to turn and run with receivers, get off the ground quickly, attack the football and finish plays. He also has the reactive ability and quick-twitch athleticism to close on a quarterback’s release instantaneously. Already he holds seven offers from the likes of Utah, Washington, Colorado and UCLA.
6. Mason Bryant, DB, Monrovia – One of the real sleepers of the weekend, Bryant has only a Harvard offer to date but that didn’t stop him from dominating the defensive backfield for much of the tournament. Helping lead his team to a runner-up finish, Bryant was all over the field showing great closing speed, good ball-tracking skills and a nose for the football. Bryant was one of the truly elite DBs on any team and should see his recruitment pick up this spring.
7. Kieshawn Bierria, LB, Narbonne – Though it is difficult for a linebacker to standout in a 7on7 setting, Bierria still managed to separate himself. He’s got a good linebacker frame at 6-2, 210 pounds and he shows very good range and feel for the position, getting in throwing lanes, running with backs and showing strong lateral movement skills. Recently Bierria picked up his first offer from San Diego State and it should be the first of many.
8. Mat Boesen, TE, Torrance West – Another true sleeper, Boesen doesn’t yet have a scholarship offer. In fact, the 6-4, 210-pound two-way player has almost no interest at all to date. That fact is shocking. He’s a big, athletic prospect at tight end that shows great strength, strong hands and good movement skills. With the ability to project to defensive end as well, Boesen is well overdue for his first offer. In fact, he may be overdue for his tenth offer.
9. Jalen Brown, WR, Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) (2014) – It took Brown a little while to get warmed up and it took his team a while to get warmed up as well. After an 0-4 day on Saturday during pool play, the Arizona-based team made a strong push on Sunday to finish in the final four of the tournament. Brown was a big part of that due to his ability primarily on the offensive end. His length and great hands helped him come up with some big plays on Sunday even despite some injury issues.
Currently Brown has offers from Arizona, Arizona State and Yale and has a chance to develop into a very highly-touted prospect if he adds strength and physicality.
10. Jermaine Kelly, CB/WR, Salesian – Another cornerback with a rare blend of length and quickness, Kelly has the look of a shut-down defender. He has the ball skills to be a highly-recruited wide receiver as well but his upside seems to lay on the defensive side of the ball. Currently Kelly holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA and hopes to make a decision soon. He will quietly be a great pickup for any of those Pac-12 programs.