VISALIA, Calif. – It was a prolific season in 2012 for four-star linebacker Derik Calhoun and his El Cerrito teammates. The Gauchos finished 13-1 and in their 14 games, 10 were won by 37 points or more.
Derik Calhoun will be competing at the US Army Combine in January.
Calhoun played a significant role in that success. The Top247 prospect out of the class of 2014 had 170 tackles on the year. He also had two fumble recoveries for touchdowns, one receiving touchdown and even returned two kickoffs for scores.
Last week, Calhoun took part in the Cal-State underclassman showcase and was the top prospect on hand. Though he has limited size at under 6-0, Calhoun’s natural athleticism, nose for the football and feel for the game are all at an elite level.
Currently Calhoun has four scholarship offers: Arizona State, Washington, Utah and UCLA. Among those offers, UCLA has already made a strong impression and is sitting atop Calhoun’s list.
“I like UCLA as far as right now,” Calhoun said. “The coaches and everything, it’s cool up there. I like it a lot. The linebacker’s coach is heck of cool. He’s expecting me to start when I come in. He’s saying we have to get the top defensive class. He wants to get me Dwight Williams (four-star LB from Junipero Serra) and two other dudes.”
In addition to the four offers that he already has, Oregon and USC have also shown him significant interest and Oregon in particular is a school that he hopes to add to his list.
On Saturday, during halftime ceremonies of the Cal-State All-Star Game, Calhoun was announced as a selectee for the 2013 edition of the Cal-State Game. Three other prospects that stood out at the Cal-State Underclassmen Showcase were also selected for the 2013 game.
Kevin Griffin, CB, De La Salle
Griffin is the brother of Calhoun and was part of an even more dominating defense in 2012. Griffin started at cornerback for the De La Salle the California State Champs and a consensus as one of the nation’s top teams this fall.
For his part this fall, Griffin had 50 tackles, one interception and six pass breakups. At 6-1, 180 pounds, Griffin has plenty of size, is a physical player as a cornerback and showed the ability over the weekend to match up with any receiver athletically as well.
Craig Knaus, WR, West Torrance
During one-on-ones during the underclassmen showcase, Knaus was at times unstoppable. The smooth wide receiver with good size at 6-3, 185 has outstanding hands, body control and route-running ability. He is the prototypical big wide receiver that just finds ways to get open and catches everything close to him.
Knaus did it when it counted too this fall. As a junior, Knaus pulled in 75 catches for 1068 yards and 12 touchdowns. To date, he has received interest from Utah, Iowa State, Missouri and Northern Arizona.
Asan Neil-Evergin, APB, Olympia (Wash.) Timberline
Though he hails from Washington, Neil-Evergin was also competing at the Cal-State Underclassmen Showcase and earned an invite to the 2013 game as well. The versatile back played running back, slot receiver and safety as a junior while doing most of his work on defense (148 tackles and a fumble recover).
Neil-Evergin has impressed before. At the Oregon Nike Football Training Camp, he earned the running back MVP award. He showcased the same kind of quickness, burst and versatility over the weekend and has received interest from Colorado and Arizona State at this point.
Two for 2015
Two prospects out of the class of 2015 couldn’t be ignored at the Cal-State event and one in particular has the look of a national recruit. Jacob Daniel, a defensive tackle out of Clovis (Calif.) North is all of 6-5, 300 pounds. He started as a sophomore in 2012 and he was dominant.
Daniel is a massive sophomore that is well-proportioned and already looks virtually college ready. Though there weren’t many offensive linemen that were able to challenge him significantly at the Underclassman showcase, one look at his film and it becomes clear that Daniel will be a national recruit.
Also out of the class of 2015, cornerback Donnell Pleasant is a name to continue to monitor. He started for San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln as a sophomore at safety and he was one of the top overall defensive backs in attendance at the Cal-State event. Pleasant showed the feet, reactive quickness and physicality to be very effective in press coverage.
Playing at a talented but underrecruited Lincoln program, Pleasant could emerge as an elite west coast defensive back.
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