JustChilly presents: Out Of Bounds - Battle New Orleans
For the past 8 years Ive been covering prep sports IN Arizona, FOR Arizona athletes.
The past few years I've primarily focused on football, and have even made it out to some national combines, camps and recently, 7-on-7 competitions. This has given me a unique opportunity to observe, analyze, and evaluate talent outside of Arizona.
Now why is this important for the Arizona audience? Because it gives an unbiased comparison to allow our kids and families to accurately know where our kids stand versus the rest of the country.
If you follow me on twitter, you know I was in New Orleans for the weekend of March 6-7 for the Battle 7v7 Tournament. I was able to watch a lot of talent from around the country, and yes Tucson Turf won the tournament (just had to mention that a team representing AZ cleaned up). I wanted to take this chance to spotlight a few kids from outside Arizona that I saw.
A Class of 2023 quarterback from Louisiana's Zachary High School, Eli Holstein is an absolute flame thrower standing at about 6-foot-4 and already has the frame and can easily pass the "eyeball" test. His father, Scott, is 6-foot-5 and played at LSU. His older brother, Caleb, currently plays at Lousiana Tech but in his prep career at St Thomas More (LA) threw for almost 10,000 yards and 100-plus touchdowns. So he checks the pedigree box.
What about Eli? From 7s observation (Miami, Phoenix, & New Orleans) I was able to see IN person the type of competitor Eli is. Eli does not exude too much emotion but he absolutely has a killer instinct. He hopes you can keep it close and he wants you to compete, because he wants to beat you at your best AND he has a level of confidence that picks the whole team up in final seconds in situations where games are on the line.
He's also a great teammate and leader whether he is splitting reps, balanced or unbalanced, or playing short-handed. He's not a back flipper, but he is always biggin up his teammates for good plays, celebrating his co-QBs TD passes, and he NEVER blames his teammates when things go bad or wrong. The easiest thing to see in 7s was his arm strength and quick decision making. There isn't a throw that he cant make. Through tight windows or just plain finding the open wide receiver typically in 2 to 3 seconds.
Now the most surprising thing I found about Eli was turning to his Hudl film, he's got boost like adidas. He is a pro style QB but I do think that he could qualify as a dual-threat. He likely runs in the 4.6-second range and he seems to know when to extend the run and when to play it safe and slide or run out of bounds.
Since I met him in January he went from two offers (LSU and Kentucky) to nearly 10, adding Louisville, Southern, ASU, Colorado, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Utah. I got the chance to catch up with him and discuss some of his recent offers.
#TheChillChat— @JustChilly (@JUSTCHILLY) March 13, 2021
Caught up with Eli at the @Battle 7s Tourney in New Orleans where the c/o '23 QB was playin for the home team @LABootleggers.. His recruiting has gotten very hot lately!!@OKStateRivals @DevilsDigest @GBHunting pic.twitter.com/netAuJ3kPk
Jaydon Hodge is a c/o '22 Safety who currently represents Forrest Hills HS in Florida. Ive watched him play for Tucson Turf in the past two Battle 7s tourneys (PHX, & New Orleans). Things that stuck out about him was his ability to play in space. I don't have any real 40 or track times on him, but he helped make the game a little easier for his CBs the same deep plays that hurt Tucson Turf in Miami were no longer a problem in Phoenix or New Orleans. He has good size so the over the top 50/50s aren't as much of a problem and he does a great job taking angles closing up front. He plays with that Florida swagger that you'd expect, and it's fun to watch.
He's constantly smiling, dancing, and having fun especially as the competition gets tougher. He was a defensive specialist playing Safety for Turf but when the offense made big plays, or created distance in the score he was typically one of the first ones to come over and congratulate or appropriately celebrate and show appreciation, he wasn't alone in that, but that stuff became infectious with Turf and you could see the bond growing. He also isn't afraid to be coached or take direction from the senior "peer" leaders. On one play during the second playoff run, a captain subbed Jaydon off. He didn't pout or throw a fit. Instead he talked to the coach, supported his team, and consulted with the captain as soon as he was available. He returned to the field on the next defensive opportunity and helped shut the offense down. He could have been a problem, but to me he displayed a non verbal form of leadership.
When you watch his HUDL you see a safety thats fearless coming up to hit the RB, who's also solid in pass defense. He is a perfect SS/Nickel type, he currently holds 20+ offers, and I think he would be a great addition to any team!
Jeremiah Vessell is a c/o '23 DB that can play either safety or corner. He also has wheels (the boy can move). He can jump on offense and play some WR ,and looks like he could help on special teams as a returner.
Watching him play with Tucson Turf in New Orleans I saw immediately that he has great coverage instincts and clearly will flourish as a cover corner. He does a great job taking angles on offensive players that have slipped by the defense, and he reads the QB well. He keeps himself in position to make plays on the ball creating PBU opportunities when it looks like the QB should have the easy completion. He loves to compete and wants to draw the toughest assignment. He also did well adapting to situations where he was asked to change coverages that he was comfortable with. This was his first time playing with Turf this 7s season and he was able to fit right in without making a waves. He fully understands what it takes to blend in with peers that are some of the top rated players in the country.
Vessell holds offers from Mississippi State, Michigan State, Memphis and most recently Arizona State. For now I definitely see him as a cover corner at the next level. But who knows he's got two years of high school left.
Sedrick Thomas has been fun to watch this whole 7s season he can play either side of the ball comfortably and ALWAYS seems to come up with big plays when his Defcon team needed it the most. He is listed as a WR in Maxpreps but he is an ATH. As a DB has a smooth backpedal and does a great job reading QBs and staying in proximity of his WR. I mostly saw him on Defense and he was shutting down not just his man but his side. Which would give his Safety room to patrol. Now on offense he does a great job of running his route and finding space. He has excellent hands and did a great job of looking each pass in. He has an electric personality, and is a natural leader mostly with the show and prove approach. He will be fun to watch this season as I hope Klein Oaks takes advantage of his full abilities and lets him explore both sides of the ball.
#TheChillChat— @JustChilly (@JUSTCHILLY) March 14, 2021
Seen this @DEFCONTX7v7 team play a few times and Sedrick always finds a way to leave an impression.. Got a chance to catch up with him, again (I talked to him in Miami), and talk about his play, school, and where he projects himself.. pic.twitter.com/Ei0Lskck9e
More New Orleans Battle 7v7 Standouts
QB Rickie Collins from Woodlawn HS (LA) who showed great mobility, vision, and arm strength.
WR Blake Wiley from Woodlands Academy (TX) tough route runner with good hands.
ATH John Helton from Paetow HS (TX) a nice multi dimensional athlete that Ive seen play QB, run routes, and even contribute as a Safety/LB.
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