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January 2, 2006

The California Hot 11

ANAHEIM, Calif. California wasn't golden in Saturday's Air 7 CaliFlorida Bowl as it lost 20-0, but that doesn't mean there is no shortage of talent coming from the West Coast.

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree breaks down 11 talented performers and ranks them accordingly based upon their entire week of practice and performance in the game.

1. Derek Simmons, DE, Fairfield (Calif.) Armijo - Committed to USC
Simmons had maybe the best week of practices for the California team and a solid performance in the game when he recorded two sacks, a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery. He earned rave reviews from everybody with his solid effort on each and every down, plus his 6-foot-4 and 270-pound frame was in peak physical condition. Might have played his way to Rivals100 status last week.

A California teammate says: "We couldn't block him all week in practice. I'm going to UCLA, and I know we're going to have to face him the next four years. He's going to be a beast by the time he's done there at USC. He might be the best defensive lineman I've gone against this season."
2. C.J. Gable, RB, Slymar, Calif.
Gable didn't get a great chance to show his true ability in the game because of the horrible weather. But still, there is little doubt after seeing Gable all week in person in practices that he's something special. Ranked now as the nation's No. 6 running back, it's amazing to think there are six guys better than him in the nation. He has great hands out of the backfield and his ability to explode to full gear in the blink of an eye is amazing.

A California coach says: "C.J. hasn't even really been coached up yet, and he's this good. For my money, C.J. is the best player on the field, and I think he's going to be the best college prospect. Time will tell, but he's the next Reggie Bush, in my opinion."
3. Alex Parsons, DE, Irvine (Calif.) Woodbridge - Committed to USC
Parsons managed to standout during the game and was named the defensive most valuable player of the game. He had two tackles for a loss. On Florida's second possession, Parsons burst through the line and rocked Marcus Sims for a 5-yard loss. Then in the second quarter, he blew up a reverse for an 8-yard loss. After making the move from end to tackle, Parsons definitely looks like he's going to fit in at USC.

A California teammate says: "Alex plays defensive end in high school, but he told us USC wanted him to try playing some defensive tackle. After seeing what he did all week at defensive tackle, I think he's more than found a home."
4. Travis Goethel, LB, Vista, Calif.
Travis "Sunshine" Goethel earned rave reviews from his coaches, teammates and even opponents all week for his never-say-die attitude and motor that doesn't quit. Earning the nickname of "Sunshine" from the movie "Remember the Titans" didn't seem to bother the linebacker with a killer attitude. He actually embraced the compliment and just went about doing his business every day of the week. He has some good mid-level Pac 10 offers, but he played all week more like a kid at the four-star level.

A California teammate says: "Sunshine can play. He came and hit me on a kickoff return. I thought we were just going about half speed since we were doing special teams, but he comes up there and knocks the lights out of me. I always kept looking for him after that. That guy is a killer."
5. Derrick Hill, DT, Oakland McClymonds
Hill made his presence felt all week against a talented California offensive line group in practices. He often would team up with Simmons and Parsons and would blow up any plans of the California offense running anything successful repetitions. He then in the driving rain storm, was still able to be quick enough to run down Tim Tebow on several occasions in the open field. On one play, he ran Tebow down after being knocked down in the dirt. He got up and ran full speed all the way 15-yards the other direction to tackle the elusive quarterback.

A Florida offensive lineman says: "We heard all week that California had a great set of defensive tackles, and for my money the best in the bunch was that Hill kid. His upper-body strength was amazing. He would literally pick you up off the ground with his strength."
6. Shareece Wright, CB, Colton, Calif. Committed to USC
Wright has been long-talked about as being one of the best cornerbacks out West. This week in practice he proved over and over that he was simply the best. With his long arms and amazing hips, Wright was able to cover anybody that challenged him. He went head-to-head against California's top receivers and did a good job. Still needs to improve his breaks in zone situations, but all in all, he impressed enough to likely take over the top cornerback spot out West.

A California receiver says: "You couldn't beat him when he got up and played tight man on you. He was so physical with those long arms that he has, and his breaks were really smooth. I got him once on a double move, but that was really about it all week."
7. Jeff Miller, DE, Westlake Village, Calif. Committed to UCLA
Miller played in only five games as a senior because of a broken foot, but you couldn't tell all week in practices that he was hurt at all. Sure, you could tell that he had lost some weight because of the injury, but his quickness was still there and his desire to get after the guy with the football was also still there. When he adds back some of the weight he lost, then there is no question he'll be a future star for UCLA. His frame is perfect for the pass rushing defensive end that you need in the Pac 10.

A California offensive lineman says: "Thank God he's going to UCLA with most of us other linemen. He gave us fits all week long with those long arms he has. I can't wait to see what he does in the Pac 10 because he's impossible to block."
8. Chane Moline, FB, Mission Viejo, Calif. Committed to UCLA
When the weather took a turn for the worse on Satuday, most figured it would be a chance for California to turn to Chane Moline's tough running style. But Moline didn't get a ton of touches, which might have been the biggest disappointment with the game. He would have excelled in the mud-pit because that's just how he plays hard-nosed, aggressive and tough. Moline was great all week long in practice and proved that he's a football player first and foremost. He might not be the flashiest kid out there.

A California coach says: "Chane isn't the fastest, the strongest or the best football player we have on this team, but what he is one heck of a football player. You can't overlook the kid's heart and desire. He has the biggest heart of anybody out here, and in the end that's the biggest thing that makes him a great football player. When he puts those pads on, he's a totally different kid."
9. Allen Bradford, LB, Colton, Calif.
Bradford is the top-ranked player in California and did nothing to disprove that he's worthy of that lofty of a ranking. He is still learning how to be a great linebacker, and there were quite a few people at the California practices saying he should be used on the offensive side of the ball. He still needs to learn how to play in space, but his hard-hitting ability and the ability to cover any type of offensive player (receivers included) make him a definite five-star immediate impact type player. He had one huge hit during the game that made a loud enough pop it could be heard in the stands

A California coach says: "I think Allen might be an even better offensive player than he is on defense. But when you see him get out there and use his natural ability on defense, you can see why Pete Carroll has him on top of his board. He's got such great natural ability and a great nose for the football. Once he learns how to play linebacker, he's going to be one of the best in college."
10. Kenny Ashley, RB, Venice, Calif. Committed to Mississippi State
Ashley came into the game with a bunch of question marks. Who was this kid? What was his story? Many people knew about Ashley when he was a starter at Anaheim (Calif.) Servite as a sophomore, but he fell of the map until he committed to Mississippi State prior to the start of his senior season. He then had a very good year with more than 1,500 yards rushing and 25 scores. It definitely looks like the Bulldogs got themselves a good one here. Ashley said he wouldn't mind hearing from other teams, but a this point is a solid and a very good get for Mississippi State.

A California player says: "Kenny had the hit of the week when he went head-to-head with Darian Hagan. I didn't think Hagan would step up, and I thought Kenny would take it easy on him. But they both collided and it was Hagan that ended up on his butt. He's so low to the ground that it makes it real hard to tackle him."
11. NaDerris Ward, TE, Oakland McClymonds. Committed to Georgia
Fans didn't get to see what the rest of the California squad saw all week in practice because of the horrible passing conditions at Saturday's game. Ward was a threat all week in practices with his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame, great vertical speed and leaping ability. He was especially deadly all week in drills on bootlegs and crossing routes. He was even lined up at receiver in goal-line situations and would go up and get the fade pass over helpless defenders. Ward perfectly fits the mold of superstar that Georgia likes to use at its tight end. He'll be a good one for the Dawgs.

A Florida player says: "That cat is huge. He's going to Georiga, huh? That doesn't surprise me. He looks just like the type of tight end they recruit. He has great size, good speed and he can go up and get the ball. I don't like that I'll have to be covering him for the next four years. He's going to be a good one for them."

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