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What I learned this weekend

11/21/2011

Rodrigues is one tough kid

Rocklin (Calif.) Whitney quarterback Jake Rodrigues had his season ended on Friday with a gruesome leg injury that some called the worst they had ever seen. Rodriguez, an Oregon commit and a standout at the Elite 11 camp, broke his fibula and dislocated his ankle on a running play early in the fourth quarter.

“I was gagging and queezing all night, even hours after the game,” Whitney tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick said. “His foot was pointing the other direction of where it was supposed to go. It was the worst thing I had ever seen but he was actually laughing about in the ambulance. He’s a tough kid and we watched the USC-Oregon game Saturday and he was already in good spirits.”

Rodriguez, who was supposed to take his official visit to Eugene last weekend, said despite the injury, he still plans to graduate early and will enroll at Oregon in time for spring practice.

Could there be another Pac-12 opening?

Arizona has already fired Mike Stoops and UCLA and Rick Neuheisel are expected to part ways in the next few weeks. After Arizona State’s latest meltdown over the weekend, there are strong rumors that Dennis Erickson may not last the season in Tempe as well.

This was expected to be a breakout season for the Sun Devils. They got off to fast start in recruiting and after they beat USC in week four of the season, they had a national ranking and were involved with several top players from all over the region.

If Erickson is let go, expect a major feeding frenzy on the Sun Devil commitments. ASU has put together one of their strongest class in years headlined by the ‘Poly Five’ -- four-star WRs Richard Smith and Randall Goforth, three-star OLBs Salamo Fiso and Matt Rowe and three-star WR Josiah Blandin, who all play at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. A new coach would be wise to keep receivers coach Steve Broussard on staff, as he’s the one responsible for recruiting Southern California for ASU.

USC-Oregon matchup will help both teams

There’s a misconception that when a school brings in official visitors for a big game and loses, it’s a blow to their overall recruitment. This has never been the case as players don’t care as much about wins and losses on a visit as they do the overall game atmosphere and how they feel they would fit in on a team.

Oregon brought in several players for official and unofficial visits and despite a heartbreaking loss to USC, the Ducks moved up in the eyes of every player who was on campus. At the same time, USC also took advantage of the opportunity to play in front of a packed house and their impressive win will help them out tremendously, both locally and nationally.

In fact, the Ducks landed a commitment following the game from the state’s top junior, ESPNU Watch List running back Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha). USC showed they’re making their way back among the nation’s elite programs and could be on the verge of bringing in a huge recruiting class.

Huge Arizona matchup lives up to hype

In any sport, when two big-time teams match up, many times the game never lives up to the pre-game hype. That was definitely not the case when Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral took on Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial in a Div II state semifinal game over the weekend.

Chaparral survived and advanced with a closer than expected 31-30 win. After the game, Firebirds quarterback Connor Brewer called the win, "the best game I’ve ever been a part of," and the signal caller has won two state championships in a row.

Chaparral went up 17-0 at the half, but Centennial came out smoking in the third quarter and scored three straight touchdowns to take a 21-17 lead. The game went back and forth the rest of the way and wasn’t settled until UA All-American Davonte Neal picked off a Coyote pass late in the game to seal the deal.

Treggs this year, Mitchell next year?

The Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco-Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany was the best first-round playoff matchup in the Southern Section. It also featured arguably the top receiver in the state this year and the player who could hold that honor next year.

It was an incredible game and the Braves pulled out a 33-28 win scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just 44 seconds left. Braves wideout Bryce Treggs had another big game and has proven himself against arguably the toughest schedule in the state. He had two big first down catches on the final drive and finished with six catches for 150 yards and a touchdown.

While not as refined and polished as Treggs, Alemany’s Steven Mitchell is a more explosive athlete and a true game breaker. He’ll be recruited as an athlete as he’s a talented corner and plays some some running back as well, but he has a chance to one of the top receivers in the state next year.