Zone Read: The Next Big Thing?

While most high schools around Arizona have wrapped up their spring workouts some are still installing and/or fine-tuning all three phases with the bulk of summer 7-on-7 tournaments ramping up.

Here are some things which caught my attention in and around spring ball over the past month or so.

One-Stop Shop

This spring brought the creation of Arizona high school football “showcase practices” where college coaches from around the country can arrive at one location and scout/recruit a number of different programs at one school.

I attended the Saguaro-hosted event featuring the Sabercats, Centennial and Higley. 

The success spoke for itself with several players picking up offers and/or landing on college radars. Personally, I believe three teams is the perfect number when holding these “workouts” on one field. 

Chandler head coach Shaun Aguano wants to take it to another level next spring after an idea which was helped spurned by Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio.

“I think next year I’ll probably put together eight or nine schools on a Saturday,” Aguano explained at Sports360AZ.com’s Chandler Spring Coaching Showcase earlier this week. “So the college coaches can go from one school to the other and see all of the kids. I think kids are being missed because there are so many kids out there [at these showcases].”

Essentially each school would be assigned an hour during the event where they would be the only ones on the field for the college coaches. After an hour said school would leave the field and the next school would have their opportunity to perform before the college coaches in attendance.

Above is more from Coach Aguano on the concept he’d like to use next spring with Chandler and Gilbert schools.   

Big Dawg

While Horizon must replace most of their offensive line, including Isaiah Mursalat and Justin Segura who both signed with New Mexico State, there are talented underclassmen waiting to step in this fall and one very large senior transfer in former North Canyon Rattler tackle Chase Killough.

“[He’s] 6’5, 315 pounds,” Horizon head coach Ty Wisdom said to ‘The Zone Read.’ “Great feet, high motor. Has had a great spring for us. Will be a monster for us up front.”

Killough has been cleared after suffering an ACL injury last July at North Canyon. 

Edging Closer?

While Desert Edge will undoubtedly miss the production of steady running back Rocky Perez (1470 yards, 15 touchdowns in 2017), look for senior-to-be Milton Rodgers to step into Perez’s role as the featured back this fall. 

A star linebacker who tallied an eye-popping 111 tackles (10 for loss) as a junior is poised for success in the backfield according to his head coach.

“He checks every intangible box you need as far as his character and leadership are concerned,” Jose Lucero told ‘The Zone Read.’ “He occasionally got some carries last year. I think he will heat up with some [college] offers once his running back film gets out there. He is currently 5’10, 200 pounds and moves very well.”

Rodgers has already garnered interest as a running back from NAU and New Mexico State-two programs who recruit the Valley heavily.

You Never Forget Your First

In the current of age of social media overload and self-propaganda I was excited to see this come across my timeline earlier this week.

Despite throwing for 20 touchdowns as a junior, Widjaja likely isn’t a Division I quarterback but he is an exceptional teammate, student and ambassador for Verrado High School as I chronicled late last summer. It’s easy to get caught up in the recruiting hoopla, the Power Five programs, eye-ball rankings, etc. but frequently the story behind the student-athlete far exceeds the one on the field.

Oh, and if you don’t think they play big-time college football in Alliance, Ohio google: “Pierre Garcon college.”

Congrats, Titan. 

Here’s the Scoop: No Hoop

There have been whispers in and around the Pinnacle basketball program starting guard and star quarterback/University of Oklahoma commit Spencer Rattler would “come out of retirement” and play his senior season for the defending 6A state champions. 

However, Rattler’s prep basketball career is over and he will continue to focus this summer on getting ready for the football season this fall. Rattler was second on the ‘Neers averaging nearly 14 points per game last winter.