DANA POINT, Calif. - The Nike Air Strike Tournament was held at Dana Hills on Saturday and it was loaded with quality high school teams. Here is a look at some of the top defensive prospects who impressed Rivals.com West analyst Adam Gorney.
We saw Walker during his junior season and he was very impressive at the cornerback position, playing with toughness and a competitive edge. He exemplified both of those attributes during this 7-on-7 event and could be one of the better corners in Southern California next season. Walker had a nice knockdown in the end zone on a slant route and shut down receivers all day.
S Connor O'Brien, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic
O'Brien is a great-looking prospect, standing at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. He moves well, hits hard and doesn't shy away from flying all over the place, which in return allows him to make a lot of plays. During the 7-on-7 tournament he was a little late to some deep passes, but because of his size and athleticism, O'Brien usually got to the pass and knocked it away.
Judge is expected to make his college decision on Monday, and whatever program he commits to is getting an excellent player. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect is constantly moving his eyes around to follow the ball. He's fast on his feet and has the ability to change directions quickly and make a play on the ball. Judge had a big junior season and is not afraid to lay big hits on players all over the field.
DB Devin Ross, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany
There are times when Ross needs to learn how to keep his head in the game, but when he plays smart, there aren't many players as athletically gifted as the Alemany High star. Ross runs like a deer, which allows him to make up ground with ease. The Alemany High standout is so athletic that he plays both wide receiver and defensive back, meaning that versatility is certainly not a problem with this rising star.
It's amazing Batiste has not picked up any offers yet. According to some Upland coaches, many programs are interested but want to see more of Batiste in coverage. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect should definitely land some Pac-12 offers in the next couple months. He's physical, aggressive, goes after players all the time and loves to prove he's the best player on the field.
With so many top players at Bishop Alemany this season, a player like Chin could be overlooked. However, this rising defensive back prospect made a big statement at the Air Strike tournament. Chin made a number of outstanding plays in one-on-one coverage on the outside and on deep passes. One in particular was when he knocked down a perfectly thrown pass to the receiver, which would have resulted in a touchdown had Chin not been so sticky in coverage.
Brown may have a shy personality, but on the field he's tough, aggressive and excellent in pass coverage. With offers already from Colorado and Colorado State, Brown definitely has the talent to attract more programs as his senior season approaches. Long Beach Poly was loaded with talented linebackers last recruiting cycle, so Brown had to wait for his time to shine. He could land plenty of new offers if he does well early on in his senior season.
Marshall struggled playing safety in multiple games and was beat on several deep passes, but we're not worried about the 2015 prospect. The Poly standout is best at cornerback, where we've seen him multiple times at camps and 7-on-7 events. He's long, lean, fast and rarely gets beaten when he plays corner. Marshall had a tough day at times, but he's so young and highly-touted, which makes it tough to live up to such high expectations every time out. He's still highly thought of among 2015 prospects in California.
Bierria first grabbed our attention at a 7-on-7 event earlier this off-season and he was impressive again while playing with his high school team on Saturday. The 6-foot-1, 212-pound prospect moves well all over the field and has a knack for making big plays. His recruitment has not taken off yet, but it wouldn't be surprising to see more Pac-12 schools get involved this summer.
CB Donovan Lee, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade
We first noticed Lee during one-on-one drills at a 1925 All-Stars practice earlier this off-season and he has continued to play well in recent months. He was especially good against Mission Viejo on Saturday where he defended four-star Max Redfield well on multiple possessions. Lee is slightly undersized, but he plays with an aggressive demeanor and is not afraid to be physical.