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March 13, 2013

Rivals Camp L.A.: Five Things We Learned

MORE: Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour

LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- The first weekend of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour wrapped up Sunday, and many top storylines emerged from the events. Here are Five Things We Learned from the camp at El Toro that featured many top prospects from California.

1. Pickett has incredible showing

Adarius Pickett wore pink gloves and pink shoes at the Los Angeles camp, but that's not what got him noticed. The four-star prospect who could see his recruitment take off soon and who earned an invitation to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge this summer was dominant in one-on-one drills.

Pickett was so good in coverage, knocking down passes, picking off others, that all the Rivals.com analysts watching from midfield would point out when he was about to take a rep because we wanted to see what he'd do that time.

By our watch, he was never beaten. No receiver caught a deep pass on him. He had multiple interceptions and was one of the biggest surprises all day. The El Cerrito, Calif., four-star cornerback already had a solid reputation coming into the camp, but this solidified his position as one of the top players at his position in the West.

2. Mixon shows he's special

Joe Mixon looks the part and he performed well in drills, but it wasn't until later in one-on-ones that the four-star proved to be one of the better running backs in the country.

He has a big frame at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, but he runs fluidly and has excellent hands.

Mixon started inside and blew away linebackers trying to keep up with him, and then the four-star moved outside and had cornerbacks covering him. Either way, Mixon basically did what he wanted in the one-on-one drills, dominating on almost every rep and making impressive catches.

The Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back is closing in on 40 offers, with UCLA, Washington, Georgia, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Ohio State as standouts, and he's planning to narrow the list soon.

After this showing, Mixon might have to wait a while because some other major programs could be getting involved. He reminds us of Ty Isaac from last recruiting class, although Mixon is slightly more athletic.

3. Brown should have more offers

Erik Brown absolutely would have won offensive MVP honors at the camp if not for Mixon's outstanding finish in one-on-one drills, and the Fontana (Calif.) Summit standout proved to be one of the better receivers seen in California this offseason.

There is no doubt that Brown, who also looked good at the NLA 7on7 in Las Vegas two weekends ago, should have more offers. So far, Houston, Nevada and San Diego State have come through, but he's a Pac-12 player for sure and he showed it on Sunday.

Brown had many nice receptions, but the most memorable play came during one-on-ones when he shook the cornerback at the line of scrimmage, made another move and the defender fell. It was one of the most impressive plays all day, and Brown had many more highlight moments.

It's hard to believe more Pac-12 schools won't get in the mix soon.

4. Class of 2015 could be outstanding

One thing was made clear, or better yet, reinforced, at the Los Angeles camp, and that is that the 2015 class in the West is loaded with top talent.

Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure quarterback Ricky Town had a strong performance, and he has offers from UCLA and Miami. He and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco's Josh Rosen are probably the top 2015 quarterbacks in California's next recruiting cycle.

Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton athlete Osa Masina had another outstanding weekend. Washington was well-represented by running back Austin Joyner and athlete Chico McClatcher. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei tight end Kyle Penniston has a Florida State offer and could be one of the top players at his position in 2015.

San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills recruit Dechaun Holiday had a strong camp, along with defensive end Noah Jefferson, offensive linemen Tristen Hoge and Zach Okun, quarterback Cameron Burston, defensive back Elijah Jones and wide receiver Blake Fisher.

The 2015 class has made a big mark in the West, and it's shaping up to be an outstanding year across the board.

5. Salesian is loaded next season

There is a lot of talk about Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco and Gardena (Calif.) Serra being two of the best teams in the state, if not the country, next season. Both clubs are loaded, but let's not look past Los Angeles Salesian, either.

Not only does it have four-star linebacker Jamardre Cobb, who shined at the Rivals Camp on Sunday, and four-star athlete Marquis Ware, but other Salesian standouts stepped up this past weekend and showed their school will be for real next season.

Kyahva Tezino is a 2015 defensive back who had an outstanding performance at the Rivals Camp and was one of the best defenders, especially during one-on-one drills.

Wide receiver Jeremy Kelly, whose brother Jermaine Kelly signed with Washington this past recruiting cycle, had a strong showing as well and should be a key cog in Salesian's offense next season.

There are other teams in California with a lot of talent, but Salesian is right there. No doubt it can have another big season in the city.



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