LAS VEGAS, Nev. – We take a look at the top defensive performers over the course of the weekend at the NLA 7on7 West Regional by position.
Michiah Quick was a top performer candidate on both sides of the ball.
1. Dwight Williams, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra – There aren’t many players anywhere at any position with the recruiting profile of Williams but over the weekend, the four-star lived up to the hype. He was extremely physical, and dominated the middle of the field, running with backs and wide receivers with ease.
2. Chandler Leniu, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco – Playing on the team that ultimately won the tournament, Leniu was a rare linebacker that won the tournament MVP award. Though he’s a stocky inside linebacker, he is strikingly explosive and covers a lot of ground in the middle of the field and he spearheaded one of the tournament’s top defensive units.
3. Reuben Leasau, San Diego (Calif.) Helix – Another impressive linebacker on the winning AIGA team was Leasau and he was equally as effective as Lenieu in disrupting passing lanes. The key to winning passing tournaments is dominating in the “dink and dunk” area offensively but with linebackers like Leasau and Lenieu, the AIGA team never allowed that to happen.
1. Michiah Quick, Fresno (Calif.) Central East – Quick is known as one of the nation’s top wide receivers and he was extremely effective in that role all weekend but it was his play at cornerback that may provide even more upside. Quick’s size is limited but fittingly his quickness is off the charts. He shows outstanding makeup speed and ability to stay on top of vertical threats and still react to quick game.
2. Dominique Fenstermacher, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe – Fenstermacher was one of the top defenders in what was probably the top all-around defensive unit of the tournament. Of the five games in which they played, his team pitched four shutouts. Fenstermacher’s play on the corner played a major role in that success with his physicality and ability to stay in the hip pocket of wide receivers regularly. The 5-10, 160-pounder showed what Nebraska and Arizona saw in him when they offered.
3. Tyler Horton, Fresno (Calif.) Edison (Class of 2015) – The Fresno-based DB Guru team featured Quick and Horton and several other very talented defensive backs. As the weekend progressed, Horton began to emerge as one of the real keys to that secondary unit’s success. He was effective in press coverage and played a very aggressive style but didn’t get beat over the top all weekend. Look for this name to continue to emerge as an underclassman to watch.
Naijiel Hale's stock should continue to rise.
4. Naijiel Hale, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco – One of the hotter defensive prospects on the west coast, Hale’s stock should continue to rise following his weekend in Vegas. The four-star’s instincts and short area quickness allow him to make all kinds of plays on the ball and instinctively, he is special.
5. Dayan Lake, Layton (Utah) Northridge (Class of 2015) – Only a sophomore, Lake is a physical, stocky cornerback that plays with a tremendous feel for the position. Reading through the number one wide receiver, he’s able to make plays on second or third receiving threats. When he identifies a route, Lake has a terrific break on the football. Over the next two years, he could emerge as a highly recruited prospect out of Utah.
1. Jaleel Wadood, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco – Wadood is already committed to Arizona State and is one of the top defensive backs on the west coast. Over the weekend, he showed the versatility to play both safety and cornerback. He looked very comfortable flashing off the hash and covering all kinds of ground. Against the Snoop Dogg All-Stars, there wasn’t a safe throw beyond 10 yards on Wadood’s watch.
2. Sky Manu, South Jordan (Calif.) Bingham – Manu helped his Utah team to a semifinal appearance by shutting down the second and third level of the defense. He is fluid in coverage and is able to react and adjust to the ball in the air very effectively. His versatility in coverage should help him emerge as a true sleeper defensive back out west.
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