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June 3, 2012

SoCal Showcase Top Performers: Defense

The Southern Cal Rivals.com Showcase Powered by FBU Select was held at Oaks Christian on Saturday and a bunch of top prospects were in attendance. Rivals.com West analyst Adam Gorney breaks down the top defensive performers right here:

Southern Cal Rivals.com Showcase Powered by FBU Select Top Performers: Defense
DE Joe Mathis, Upland (Calif.) High
Mathis decided late in the week to work out at this event to help his ranking, and after dominating in one-on-ones the four-star definitely did nothing to hurt where he is on the Rivals.com list. The 6-foot-4 prospect has lost 23 pounds, and it has made him more nimble and quick without losing any power. He has a great outside move, uses his hands especially well and bull-rushed Sean Dowling, who's no wimp. Mathis is definitely one of the top defensive ends in the country and could be moving even higher.

CB Devin Holiday, Mission Hills (Calif.) San Marcos
Cornerbacks are at a disadvantage during one-on-one drills because they have no help, but it doesn't seem to matter to Holiday, whowas scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Arizona on Sunday. He has great feet, great backpedal, is physical enough to pester wide receivers, and when the ball is in the air, he usually is right there to knock it down. Especially on deep passes, Holiday rarely gets burned and has proven time and again he's a standout player.

CB Darius Allensworth, Romoland (Calif.) Heritage
Allensworth was outstanding at a recent 7-on-7 tournament in Los Angeles and backed his reputation up again by shutting down almost every receiver at this event. He's physical, uses his hands well to knock receivers off their routes and the Arizona commit is quick to make a play on the ball. Allensworth committed to the Wildcats in April and is happy with his pledge, but his recruitment is starting to pick up so things could get interesting.

LB Dwight Williams, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Numerous coaches raved about Williams' footwork and overall ability during the event, and he was outstanding in numerous ways. The 2014 prospect who already has a Colorado offer has great feet, looked good in bag drills and was impressive during one-on-ones as well. Williams did a nice job of reading the play, breaking on the ball and being right there if the pass was going to the receiver. He's smart, too, and that helps him understand things at an advanced level.

DB Iman Marshall, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
The 2015 prospect already has an offer from UCLA, and there's no question he could be one of the next big-time defensive backs in Southern California. Marshall has good size at 6-foot and 175 pounds, he's smooth in his backpedal and breaks on the ball well. Plus, he plays with a lot of confidence and certainty, making him even more fun to watch. Marshall will continue to improve, learn from players older than him, and he plays at an outstanding high school program, so he's setting himself up for good things down the road.

LBs A.J. Latu and Viliami Latu, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High
The twin brothers from Rancho Cucamonga, one of the most loaded defensive teams in California, look alike and play alike in many ways. Both have great frames, looked outstanding in bag drills and, even though they needed some work in one-on-ones, there is a lot to like about the two. They're hardworking, keep-your-head-down, straightforward players who want to get better. Playing together in college is the plan, and whichever program lands the Latu brothers is getting two steals at linebacker.

CB Delvin Batiste, Upland (Calif.) High
Batiste does not have any offers yet, and it's puzzling why no programs have taken that step yet. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound cornerback is physical, uses his hands well and has speed. Apparently, some coaches question his backpedal or his athleticism, but that's curious because every time we've seen him he's been one of the best cornerbacks on the field. There's no reason he shouldn't have some Division I offers at this point.

LB Jamardre Cobb, Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound 2014 prospect already has offers from Colorado, Memphis, Stanford and Washington State and more should be on the way as his high school career continues. Cobb has good size, he was good during one-on-one drills, and he's a player who has shined in numerous 7-on-7 tournaments. He's most comfortable with pads on in real games where he can make plays with his strength and force. Cobb was good at this event, but he might shine even more during the season.

LB Anthony Saenz, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser
Saenz is a freight train, and if someone wants to step in front of him, good luck. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound linebacker plays downhill and will run through anything to get the job done. He's that kind of player. Saenz is built well, tough, active, hard-working and many other adjectives that would compliment someone who could be picking up offers this summer. He plods a little bit, but that could be fixed with some more specific speed training.

CB Malik Cyphers, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
Cyphers is a little undersized at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds - there's no getting around that - but the Oaks Christian 2014 prospect is talented, sharp and knows how to play the position. He spent most of the morning and early afternoon at a 7-on-7 tournament, then drove back to his high school, jumped in the drills and didn't miss a beat. He makes up for his lack of size by knowing how to read receivers, getting in the way and making things tough on almost every play.

Others who impressed
LB Ardis Perez, Gardena (Calif.) Serra; CB Jermaine Kelly, Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian; CB Jacob Girgle, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos; DB Tre Wilcoxen, Inglewood (Calif.); S Joseph McIntosh, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade; DE Delwaun Beard, Culver City (Calif.). Note: Four-star linebacker Cameron Judge from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian was in attendance but sidelined with an ankle injury.


Adam Gorney is the West Coast Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at adamgorney@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @adamgorney.



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