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Insider

Gamechangers take the title at UCLA

6/26/2012

There was plenty of talent on hand for UCLA's 7-on-7 tournament on Sunday, as teams featured Bruins commits, quarterback Eddie Printz (Marietta, Ga./Lassiter) and running back Keyante Green (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing), USC commit Su'a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta), Alabama commit Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga./Walton), LSU commit Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles/Cathedral) and ESPN 300 athlete Brendan Langley (Marietta, Ga./Kell).

But after the final whistle, the last team standing didn't feature any of those recuits, or even a single highly-recruited player. It was the Gamechangers, a team made up mostly of Los Angeles city section players and led by James Finley, who graduated from Los Angeles Manual Arts High School and starred as a wide receiver for the Oregon Ducks from 2005-06.

Gamechangers was led by quarterbacks Reggie Bell (Los Angeles/Dorsey), who recently committed to Tulane, and Justin Dottery (Los Angeles/Locke), who has received mail from Iowa State and Northern Arizona, but went throw for throw with the other quarterbacks in attendance.

The receiving corps was led by two players whose recruitment might start heating up after their performances.

Wide receiver Josh Taylor (Los Angeles/Franklin) was dominant during the day and turned heads during each game he played. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound receiver capped off a strong week with an impressive showing.

"Today was tremendous," Taylor said shortly after the championship win. "I loved the way it went. I was doing some nice things with my routes, getting up and showing that I can play at the next level. That's what I wanted to prove."

Taylor said the day was about generating exposure for himself. He entertained coaches from Colorado and Arizona during the spring, and picked up offers from UNLV and New Mexico State recently, but getting a chance to play in front of the UCLA coaches was a big opportunity. He said he grew up watching many of the Pac-12 schools and a chance to stay close to home, or anywhere on the West Coast, would be big. Taylor added that Cal has been in contact recently, but most coaches are waiting until they can see more film.

"I haven't released a highlight yet and all the coaches are asking when that is coming out," Taylor said. "I'll send that out no later than next week. There's me at quarterback in there too, and that's what I want to prove -- that I'm an athlete. If a school needs me at quarterback, I'll step up and play there, receiver, or whatever. I just want to make it."

A similarly recruited player that had a very good day was Joshua Hill (Playa Del Rey, Calif./St. Bernard). Hill attends a small school that is overlooked by many college coaches, but his performances on the camp circuit have generated interest. He said Cal has increased their attention and Sunday brought the UCLA coaches more into the mix.

"They seem interested in me and told me to keep playing hard," Hill said of the Bruins staff. "My goal every time is to play as hard as I can and catch everything that comes to me."

Hill is most comfortable as an outside receiver, but the 6-foot, 175-pound athlete said he could move into the slot or even flip over to defense if those options arose. He grew up a fan of the local schools, in UCLA and USC, but is doing everything he can to get noticed by programs outside the area as well. Hill attended a San Jose State camp on Saturday and said he will hit the internet in search of more camps and events to get out to this summer. While attention is increasing in Hill, who caught 62 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, he said his focus is still the same.

"I'm just going to keep playing hard and working hard," Hill said.