TEACHER, Hawaii – As part of what has become an annual tradition during Polynesian Bowl week, Tuesday’s practice has moved to the North Shore, making for another busy practice ahead of Friday night’s All-Star game.
Here’s a look at some of the eye-catchers from Day 2…
ALPHA DOG: ETC Spencer Fano (Utah)
Fano, one of the most technically proficient strikers in the country, continued to prove his worth on Tuesday, doing a great job of gathering defenders and keeping his feet active to hold his ground in one-on-one battles. The Utah signer had a very strong week at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, where he proved his positional versatility and high-level competitiveness, and he was just as impressive on his first trip to the Islands. He is patient and always seems to be in complete control, absorbing contact with a strong base and showing a curve to offset the onslaught of the bulls. Fano wants to put on 15 pounds by the start of fall camp, and if he can do it, he’s smart enough to help the Cliffs start his college career.
THE FOLLOWING FIVE OFFENSES
QB Niko Yamaleva (Tennessee) With an easy shot and easy delivery, Downey, California five-star Warren is once again the tournament’s most impressive quarterback. Yamaleawa has a big hand and all the physical tools to make a fuss in the SEC. In one particular episode on Tuesday, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound quarterback released a frozen rope to the opposite sideline and then executed a deft throw into the end zone between two defensemen. There is not a single throw in his arsenal.
WR Zachariah Branch (USC) – A track star with world-class speed, Branch is once again one of the hottest players on the field. He’s had a couple of falls that weren’t necessarily easy grabs, but he does such an amazing job of creating space and opening that it almost looks like he has to collapse with everything nearby. Five-star from Las Vegas (Nevada) Bishop Gorman usually enjoys the undivided attention of minor players and still manages to be a threat.
WR Three Priest (Wisconsin) – Kekahoona, the tricky slot type who constantly causes trouble in the middle of the field, had a great day running on smooth trails and showing really good body control. It was clear why he had a monstrous last year at Gorman, constantly making the defense pay to double the aforementioned Branch, the nation’s No. 1 receiver, and making difficult catches seem like a chore.
WR Omarion Miller (Colorado) – Every time the crowd gathered for Team Mauka practice, Miller seemed to play a big role in center field. He’s a big target with a long catch radius, but he also has the athleticism and agility to step into safety to buy himself a little more room and create wider quarterback windows. The buffs get a physically gifted pass catcher to stretch the defense.
OUR Jackson Bowers (BYU) — A big prospect arrived in Oahu, making history during his high school years, as evidenced by beating a career in Mesa, Arizona, Mountain View, which set the tight end record previously held by Todd Heep. Bowers had 110 receptions in three varsity seasons and was as consistent as a beach breeze at the stadium on Tuesday. We really like his offensive edge on the Cougars given how important tight position was to this program, especially under Seatake Loans.
THE FOLLOWING FIVE PROTECTIONS
DL David Hicks (Texas A&M) — Elite linebacker from Katy, Texas, Paetow had another conspicuous workout. Thanks to a quick first move and a sharp nervousness, Hicks doesn’t lose much movement and immediately puts blockers in a stalemate. He showed a good set of counters in passing drills and continued to impose his will no matter who he lined up against on Tuesday.
CB Rodrik Pleasant Defensemen are usually at a disadvantage during 7-on-7 games and line-up periods, especially when there is no pressure on the quarterback, but Pleasant still made his mark on coverage. He fell with an interception in the end zone, cutting off the post’s route and using his speed to erase the minimum window. Pleasant, with hopes for the 2024 Olympics, is one of the nation’s top unsigned prospects heading for the finish line.
CB Bravion Rogers (Texas A&M) – Another cornerer who practiced well was Rodgers, who had a habit of jumping routes and reading quarterback trends to stick to receivers on the perimeter. He showed really good ball handling skills and spatial awareness to make the receivers change their path to football. We thought that his level of concentration and intensity was one of the best in the afternoon.
ED John Leaa (Utah) – A former basketball player who is relatively new to football, Lea’i makes an explosive first move to put blockers on his heels and uses a good set of moves to ease the pressure on the edge. The future Ute carries a long projected structure that takes time to fill, but considering how well the program is handling long-term projects, assistant coach Lewis Powell could well have another pearl on this defensive front.
LB Leonard Oh you (Oregon) – With a long, lean physique that should gain some extra weight when he arrives in Corvallis just in time for the 2025 season after a two-year church mission, Ah Yu once again showed why he can be considered one of the tallest – favorable prospects throughout the region. Physically speaking, he has the best long-term projection among Kahuku’s impressive contingent in the game, and on Tuesday, the 6-foot 4th Ah Yu did a great job roaming the center field.