Battle At The Beach: USC Target Focus

Battle At The Beach: USC Target Focus

The most productive and dynamic offensive player for this year's Battle At The Beach passing tournament was Bishop Alemany running back Dominic Davis. The 5-foot-10 running back torched Valencia for more than a dozen receptions Saturday.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — The Battle At The Beach was won with heart and by Hart, but some of USC’s most important recruiting targets never made it past the first round of seeded play.

Twenty teams filled a loaded tournament bracket, but the focus is on the Trojan recruiting targets of note of those players working their way onto the USC recruiting board with their performances.

Here is what we learned from the Battle At The Beach:

  • Alemany running back Dominic Davis was the most productive and explosive player of the tournament. Against Valencia, Davis had approximately 15-18 receptions, including three for scores. Very rarely do you see a running back catch that many passes. It is even more of a rarity to see a running back catch a short pass out of the back field and score a touchdown from 30-yards out in a game of one-hand touch.

  • Davis didn’t follow USC football growing up, but his dad is a big Trojan fan. However, that won’t be much a factor his his recruitment. What will factor in is playing time as a freshman and USC’s track program. Davis wants to run the 100-meters in college and recognizing USC’s tradition with sprinters.

  • Bishop Amat junior receiver Tyler Vaughns could legitimately play cornerback in college. While Vaughns has great hands, leaping ability, and the speed to be a wide out, his length as a cornerback is a extremely intriguing. Tall corners are in vogue right now, and Vaughns fits that mold. He makes plays in the air effortlessly and had a big interception against Canyon Country to seal a win.

  • Bishop Amat junior wide out Trevon Sidney does not want to play defensive back in college. Sidney only had spot duty Saturday with a minor groin injury, but he did manage to still make a handful of plays against Westlake, including a interception that thwarted a Malik Henry touchdown pass.

  • Sidney unofficially visited UCLA and Oregon this summer, although he has no interest in naming favorite schools at this stage in his recruitment. Sidney says he wants to visit Alabama, Washington and Arizona sometime this year.

  • Speaking of Arizona, it turns out that Narbonne junior wide out Vincent Heard is the nephew of Dennis Northcutt. The similarities between the two players is striking, with Heard just beginning to tap his full potential. Heard camped at USC this summer and the Trojans coaching staff are watching him closely his junior season.

  • Corona Centennial wide out and Cal commit Grayson Bankhead is next in line to cause USC and other Pac-12 schools a lot of headaches. Bankhead is as smooth a route runner as there is in the 2015 class. He may not be big or stopwatch fast, but Bankhead is quick, smart and tough. He draws comparisons to Washington State phenom freshman wide out Gabe Marks.

  • Centennial junior wide out Javon McKinley is the bigger, more physically impressive player for the Huskies. However, against St. John Bosco, McKinley became a non-factor as the game went on. The Braves smaller, quicker cornerbacks frustrated McKinley off the line of scrimmage. McKinley camped at USC and UCLA last month. He donned a UCLA Elite Camp shirt Saturday and wearing a USC visor to the B2G Elite Camp a few weeks ago.

  • McKinley wants to see what scholarship offers will come his way before making a commitment, but Saturday, he said that if all goes to plan, he would like to make a commitment at the end of his junior year.

Battle At The Beach

  • Serra wide out Deontay Burnett dominated the early going of the tournament with some tremendous catches. Against Centennial, Burnett routinely ran by defenders down the side lines for big gains. He also made a spectacular one handed, over the shoulder catch while tip toeing the chalk line. Burnett said USC assistant coach Tee Martin is still lobbying for him to get a scholarship offer, but he has not been in communication with the staff since the Rising Stars Camp.

  • Burnett mentioned again Saturday that while his parents wouldn’t mind him making a summer time decision on a commitment, he would rather wait until November. Burnett still plans on unofficially visiting Washington State and Utah soon.

  • Valencia junior safety JayJay Wilson may have grown out of his position. Now 6-foot-2 and all of 225-pounds, Wilson was slowed by a back injury, but still was one of the most physically impressive prospects at Saturday’s event. Wilson won defensive MVP at the Rising Stars Camp and he thinks USC could be in line to offer him a scholarship soon.

  • Upland linebacker Josh Woods is a hot name. While Woods doesn’t have scholarship offers from either of the local schools, his 6-foot-3 frame and spacial awareness are a big part of why the Highlanders do so well at these tournaments. With Serra linebacker John Houston out with a lower back injury and Ben Humphreys playing mostly safer for Mater Dei, Scout National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins said Woods would the top player at his position Saturday.

  • Sherman Oaks Notre Dame receiver C.J. Sanders isn't just stopwatch fast. Notre Dame quarterbacks had a hard time keeping the ball in front of Sanders deep down field, as he had to contend with a lot of under thrown passes Saturday. Coming off a top 10 finish in the SPARQ National Championship, Sanders was clearly the go-to wide out for Notre Dame High School Saturday and will be a go-to wide out for the University of Notre Dame on future Saturdays.

  • St. John Bosco cornerback Traveon Beck may be small, but the 5-foot-8, 160-pound junior plays big. Beck was a factor in every game the Braves played Saturday, including the championship game against Hart. Beck got plenty of help guarding Hart wide out Trent Irwin, but it was the diminutive corner making plays on the football.

  • Helping Beck bracket Irwin Saturday was St. John Bosco safety D.J. Morgan. While Morgan always looks the part at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, he had yet to really step up and take center stage for the Braves. Saturday, Morgan had a couple of interceptions in big games, which helped St. John Bosco advance. This could have been the break out event for Morgan as a recruit.

  • Bosco is full of underclassmen talent. Receivers Jordan Harris, Jared Harrell, Anselem Umeh and running back Sean McGrew all made big plays at one point or another. Harrell had one of the best catches of the tournament deflecting a pass from a defender and then caching it while laying on his back. It’s a blue-collar group that runs good routes and works to get open.

  • Santa Margarita defensive end Rick Wade wants to hear more from USC before he makes a commitment in August. Wade’s father went to USC and he said he “loves the Trojans.” According to Wade, that lack of interest comes from the Trojans side of things. At 6-foot-6 and 235-pounds, Wade was a force at tight end for the Eagles all day long. His future position is most likely defensive end, but he plans on visiting USC soon, and the Trojans are in desperate need of a tight end.

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