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What to watch for this weekend

12/16/2011

Another big weekend for Cal

For the third week in a row, Cal will be hosting a handful of very talented players from all over the country. Last weekend, the Bears brought in over 20 prospects and although this week won’t be nearly as big, there are still some big-name players set to hit campus.

Darius Hamilton (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) is the obvious headliner and is one of the nation’s elite defensive lineman. He’s rumored to be a Rutgers lean but will take his visits and won’t be deciding until close to signing day.

Other players expected in Berkeley are running back D.J Foster (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro), defensive end Deforest Buckner (Honolulu, Hawaii./Punahou), offensive lineman Steven Moore (Elk Grove, Calif.) and defensive back Brandon Beaver (Compton, Calif./Dominguez).

Can Oklahoma land San Diego TE?

Taylor McNamara (San Diego, Calif./Westview) will take his fifth and official visit this weekend to Oklahoma. The tight end has already been to Cal, Notre Dame, Colorado and Washington but the Sooners could be the team to beat.

Early playing time and system are two key factors for McNamara and no school offers a better chance to play right away than at Oklahoma. The Sooners may only have one tight end on their roster next year and McNamara has said he loves the system and how the tight end is used by the Sooners.

Oklahoma has had very good success recruiting the San Diego area with current starters Kenny Stills, Tony Jefferson and Brennan Clay all hailing from the area and McNamara could be the next one in line.

UCLA hosting several unofficial visitors

UCLA named a head coach over the weekend and Jim L. Mora has moved quickly to hire a dynamic recruiting staff. This Saturday, the Bruins will host several local players on unofficial visits including elite defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.).

Several committed players will be on hand as well including linebacker Aaron Porter (La Habra, Calif.) and Shannon Edwards (Bakersfield, Calif./Ridgeview) and a handful of non-committed players including wide receives Jaydon Mickens (Los Angeles, Calif./Dorsey) and Kenny Lawler (Upland, Calif.) and offensive lineman Colby Cyburt (Mission Viejo, Calif.).

Westlake vs. De La Salle for state championship

The California state championship games kick off this weekend and the marquee game will be in the Open Division when defending champ Concord (Calif./De La Salle) takes on Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake. The Spartans are 12-1 with their lone loss being to Southeast power Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas.

A year ago, the Spartans steamrolled a very good Anaheim (Calif.) Servite team 48-8 in a game that was essentially over after the 1st quarter. Westlake is 14-0 and matches up very well with De La Salle where it matters most, in the trenches. The Spartans have quarterback Bart Houston, a Wisconsin commit, but are known for their offensive line play and dominated Servite up front a year ago.

Westlake has a pair of Colorado commits, Justin Solis and John Stuart, up front and one of the region’s most dynamic two way players in Dashon Hunt. The Spartans are favored, but this should be a great game to watch.

How many commits will ASU lose?

Arizona State made a bold move in hiring Pitt coach Todd Graham. Just like it was for Jim Mora at UCLA, the staff Graham hires will be huge, as he’s an East Coast guy all the way with very few West Coast ties.

Several Sun Devil commits have all said they plan to look elsewhere including all five Long Beach Poly (Calif.) commits -- receivers Richard Smith and Josiah Blandin, corner Randall Goforth and linebackers MattRowe and Salamo Fiso along with Upland (Calif.) receiver Kenny Lawler.

There is also talk that Sun Devil lock D.J Foster (Saguaro, Ariz.) could be re-thinking his options and giving a harder look at Cal, Oregon, USC and even UCLA. Graham needs to move quick and hire some coaches who known the area or it could be a rough ride to Signing Day for the Sun Devils.