MONTEREY PARK, Calif. – The first stop of the Rivals Camp Series was here in Southern California this weekend at East Los Angeles College and a bunch of top regional prospects showed out. Here is a breakdown of the positional MVPs and other top performers from the day.
The quarterback field, unsurprisingly, was the strongest of the day. Two five-stars, and three four-stars made this a very tight race for the MVP award. Five-star Nico Iamaleava narrowly beat Malachi Nelson today because his accuracy was a little more consistent. There are times when it looks like he’s just flinging the ball down the field but it’s almost always a spiral and he missed very few targets on the day. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Oregon, Miami and UCLA are the leading contenders in Iamaleava’s recruitment.
Roderick Robinson II is massive so it looks like he cannot make moves or cuts or get to the edge – but looks can be deceiving. The 6-foot-1, 229-pound back is deceptively quick, looks smooth with light feet going through all the drills and then during one-on-ones he stretched the field against linebackers and caught the ball downfield. Oregon, Arizona and others are involved in his recruitment and the Ducks signed two of his San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln teammates last recruiting cycle.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END
The best way to describe Zachariah Branch is that he’s insanely fast, shifty and elusive, a small receiver who catches everything and makes cornerbacks look like they’re stuck in the mud. He’s a burner and the USC commit is not always looking to make a big-time, highlight-reel play, it just turns out that way. Ranked as the fourth-best receiver in the 2023 class, Branch is one step away from five-star status but he will be in that conversation next time because of his playmaking ability.
Brooks has gotten plenty of attention early in his career and rightfully so based on his performance today. The 2024 prospect measured in at just under 6-foot-4, 370-pounds and knew exactly how to throw his weight around. During 1-on-1s, Brooks lost no more than two reps and had an excellent sense of timing when shooting his hands. He was surprisingly quick when moving laterally and did a good job using his natural leverage to anchor and toss defensive linemen backwards. Programs like Florida State, Georgia, Oregon, Texas, USC, and many others have offered Brooks.
LeVar Talley comes off with the edge with reckless abandon, attacking the offensive tackle sometimes, using his speed to the edge sometimes and constantly keeping players unsure of what his next move will be. The 2024 defensive end from Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic can still fill out his frame but if he keeps that speed and intensity then Talley should be even more dominant off the edge. Georgia, Louisville and a handful of others have already offered.
Lockhart, who is already committed to Ole Miss, looks like he should be a 2023 prospect. Instead, the 2024 prospect had a dominant performance against the running backs today. He measured in at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds and was able to keep up with the running backs throughout the one-on-one period. Lockhart showed a good feel for coverage down the field. He did a nice job using his size and leaping ability to break up passes coming his way. If Lockhart can keep getting faster, the big linebacker could expect to see more offers come his way.
The top-ranked cornerback in the West proved his ranking on Sunday by being physical at the line of scrimmage, terrific through the route and then competitive when the ball was in the air. The top of the cornerback rankings in the 2023 class is loaded with players from the Southeast but Rhett is both muscled up and twitchy and can compete with any corner in the country. The Las Vegas Bishop Gorman standout is committed to Notre Dame but Georgia, Oregon and others are pursuing him hard.
ADDITIONAL ALL-CAMP TEAM MEMBERS
The positional MVP awards can only go to one person but there were still many others that stood out that got recognized as five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson, running back Major Givens, wide receiver Grant Gray, offensive lineman Micah Banuelos, defensive lineman Aydin Breland and defensive back Smith Snowden landed those awards.
RIVALS UNDERCLASSMEN CHALLENGE INVITES
This summer the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge will be held in Atlanta and these prospects were invited from the Los Angeles regional stop: Douglas Utu, Eugene Brooks, Keenyi Pepe, Aydin Breland, Elijah Rushing, LeVar Talley, Kobe Boykin, Arron White, Shakir Collins, Khristian Dunbar-Hawkins, Jordan Lockhart, TJ Lateef, Madden Iamaleava, Boone Lourd, Isaac Wilson, Ryder Lyons, Julian Sayin, Elijah Brown, Jaden O’Neal, Jordon Davison, Jordan Anderson and Bear Tenney.