One of the founding purposes of Students With Aspiring Goals (S.W.A.G) is to provide national exposure to local student athletes. This was partly accomplished through the S.W.A.G.’s Showcase Series. The goal of S.W.A.G’s Showcase Series was to go to underexposed areas and identify athletic talent. The Showcase had three stops: Stockton, CA, May, 3rd; Atwater, CA, May 10th; and culminated in Reno, NV, May 31st. The Showcase was attended by 130 student athletes. The top performers at each camp received an invite to S.W.A.G’s 1st Annual Elite Camp to be held in the beautiful Yosemite July 31st through August 2nd.
Showcase Series Recap:
May 3, 2014-Stockton, CA
The Stockton Showcase was by far the most athletic group of the series. Lincoln High School athlete Mark Russell stole the show. Russell arrived late to the camp because he was completing the SAT. He showed blazing speed in the shuttle testing. Another top performer was Lincoln’s DE/TE Jordan McMiller. McMiller showed why colleges are recruiting him during his 1 on 1 play. The 6’2” 220 lb linebacker showed great athleticism and speed. Defensive back Cutrell Harrison-Haygood of Stagg High School showed great change of direction in his play during 1 on 1’s. A surprise top performer was Ruben Lee. Ruben Lee is a rising star from the Stockton area and is only in eighth grade. Ruben demonstrated a willingness to compete against all comers, including high school athletes.
· Mark Russell-ATH, Lincoln High School
· Jordan McMiller-DE/TE, Lincoln High School
· Cutrell Haygood-Harris-DB/WR, Stagg HS
· Eric Kranh-RB/DB, Stagg HS
· Damian Paulo-QB, Patterson HS
· Ruben Lee-RB/DB, Morada Jr. High
· Yates Hunter-LB/TE, Lincoln HS
· Dusty Frampton-LB/RB, St. Mary’s
May 10, 2014-Atwater, CA
The Atwater Showcase had great talent. Pacheco star LB/RB Frank Ginda came out and competed. Ginda’s testing was by far the best overall of all the Showcase Series. His results were 40yd- 4.6 , Shuttle- 4.3, Vertical- 33.5, and Bench Press (185 pd)-24. S.W.A.G got a chance to see Buhach Colony’s TE/LB Jace Alcazar in action. Alcazar will likely be taking Ginda’s position on S.W.A.G’s elite 7 on 7 team next year. “Jace can move. He has size, he is quick on his feet, and is very coachable,” stated S.W.A.G’s Director DeVon Hilliard. Defensive backs Aundre Sherman and Deontae Smith were very impressive during 1 on 1’s and 7 on 7. Sherman who plays at Buhach Colony High School is a big physical corner who dominated the 7 on 7 season this spring. Colleges are recruiting Sherman heavily. Smith a freshman who recently transferred from Los Banos High School to Pacheco High School did not disappoint. The rising star showed he can play with minimal over the top help. “This kid continues to impress me. He is an athlete that has never played cornerback before, and he held his own against receivers who are going to big time colleges this spring,” stated Hilliard. Buhach Colony QB Brandon Sanchez made some good throws. Sanchez who transferred from Merced High School to Buhach Colony High School will add a dimension to Buhach’s offense that opponents are not used to. The dual threat quarterback should get on college’s radar after a couple of games into next season. The surprise of the camp was Atwater High School Sophomore WR Josh Wilson. He showed great separation and made some impressive catches.
· Frank Ginda-LB, Pacheco High School
· Deontae Smith-DB/RB, Pacheco High School
· Josh Wilson-WR/DB, Atwater High School
· Isaiah Montanez-RB/DB, Golden Valley High School
· Mark Hooker-OL/DL, Stone Ridge Christian
· Isaac Perez-OL/DL, Atwater High School
· Ryan Valentine-RB/LB, Atwater High School
· Brandon Sanchez-QB, Buhach Colony High School
· Aundre Sherman-DB/WR, Buhach Colony High School
· Jace Alcazar- LB/TE, Buhach Colony High School
· Matt Vargas-DE/TE, Gregori High School
· Andre Mayfield-ATH, Buhach Colony High School
· Julian Diaz-RB/DB, Le Grand Jr. High
May 31, 2014-Reno, NV
The last Showcase which was the largest did not disappoint. The highlight of the camp was the linemen challenge. The obstacle course included agilities, weight carrying, and sled pushing. On top of being very competitive, the challenge was extremely entertaining. The overall winner of the lineman challenge was won by North Valley HS TE/DE 6’2” 210 lb Nathyn Wood. Wood edged out Douglas High School’s DL Andrew Jensen. Jensen looked spectacular during 1 on 1 competition on both sides of the ball. Reed HS TE/DE Parker Houston looked great in all aspects of his game. The QB group was by far the biggest of all showcases. 6’3” 200 lb QB Jackson Gilmore, out of Reed HS, threw well under the instruction of QB coach Rod Robison. Gilmore looked the most polished out of all QB’s who participated in the Showcase Series. Making the drive from Folsom, CA was freshman WR Drake Stallworth. The rising star showed his versatility at the WR position. Another WR that impressed was Galena’s High School Freshman, Bryan Madison. Madison made some great catches. North Valley High School’s Melando Cupachero looked fantastic during testing and 1 on 1’s. He received an invite to the elite camp as an athlete. “I can’t wait to see this kid with the ball in his hand. He plays quarterback in his high school system, but can play anywhere on the field,” stated Hilliard. Linebacker Colin Crown from McQueen High School was impressive at the linebacker position. “The Reno Showcase was very impressive. The Reno area was very welcoming to S.W.A.G. We want to thank Coach Rollins Stallworth for organizing everything for the area. Also, McQueen High School’s Head Coach, Mr. Snelling was a big part in making this happen,” stated Hilliard.
· Andrew Jensen DL/OL-Douglas High School
· Colin Crown LB/TE-McQueen High School
· Melando Cachapero ATH-North Valley High School
· Drake Stallworth WR/DB-Folsom High School
· Parker Houston TE/DE-Edward C. Reed High School
· Justin Mardis DB/WR-McQueen High School
· Bryan Madison WR/DB- Galena High School
· Sonny Robison QB-Galena High School
· Nathyn Wood TE/DE-North Valley High School
· Ryley McConn-TE/DE- Bishop Manogue
· Colby Brown- RB/DB- Carson High School
Notes from the Camp Director Brett Nickelson:
“The S.W.A.G. Showcase Series was very successful. We identified some hidden talent at all of our camps. We also preached academics to all of our camp participants. Exposing talent does not mean anything, unless we are exposing athletes that qualify to enter college. S.W.A.G is all about the overall student athlete, and we feel that we reached the kids and expressed the importance of staying on the right track. I am excited to see all of these kids at the elite camp. If a kid did not make the elite camp, it should be determination to get better.”
SWAG in the news
Last week SWAG was invited to participate in an interview with the Central Valley Sports Report. The CVSR is based out of Fresno and is committed to showcasing Central Valley Sports. During the interview, Mr. DeVon Hilliard, founder of SWAG was asked to describe what SWAG is doing in the community. Also interviewed were SWAG athletes Tyrone Williams & Jabaar Byrd Merced High School, Aundre Sherman Buhach Colony HS. This was an amazing opportunity for SWAG to showcase its recent accomplishments, and experience for our athletes in speaking with the media. PLEASE WATCH and COMMENT.
Students With Aspiring Goals along with the Factory Football group participated in the 2014 Passing Down CenCal 7 on 7 Regional Tournament in Elk Grove on April 13, 2014. Team SWAG came into this prestigious tournament as huge underdogs. “I knew our guys could play with anyone in this tournament. We have some ballers on this team that I would put against any 7 on 7 team in the nation,” stated SWAG founder DeVon Hilliard.
SWAG opened up against team Field Up. It was a close game, that was won by Pacheco HS LB Frank Ginda’s interception returned for a touchdown. Merced QB Tyrone Williams Jr. set the tone for the day by having a near perfect first game.
The next game made the SWAG Factory the talk of the tournament. TMP Elite is a team full of superstars and student athletes that could write their own tickets to college. Isaiah Langley a 4 star athlete that has over 30 college offers is the leader of this team. “Coach T (Terrence Leonard) has a great squad with TMP. These kids can flat out play at the next level,” stated Hilliard. Team SWAG did not shy away from the competition. Once again Williams, showed why he belongs on the field at the next level. Williams shredded the defense apart using targets Raneil Rogers (Washington Union HS) and Aundre Sherman (Buhach Colony HS). “The defense came up huge,” stated SWAG defensive coordinator Seneca Ybarra. “I just met these guys the day before, and they started off a little shaky, then they came out made a statement. They were flying across the field and communicating,” stated Ybarra. Team SWAG came out victorious at the end, and clinched the #1 seed in the single game elimination playoff.
The first game of the playoffs placed #1 seed Team SWAG against #4 seed Warriors. Team SWAG started off hot and never looked back. Williams and Company were clicking on all cylinders. Sherman and Jabar Byrd (Merced HS), showed their worth on both sides of the ball. The next game put #1 Seed Team SWAG against #2 seed TMP Elite for the second time. “We got the best quarterback in this tournament, and his receivers are phenomenal. I don’t know why more recruiters aren’t flocking towards these kids,” stated Factory Football Group Founder and offensive coach Todd Johnson. Team SWAG started the game off with a near touchdown toss by Williams. Offensive guru and SWAG Vice President Brett Nickelson noticed TMP’s defense in game 1 and came up with a coverage beater. “Football is a game of adjustments, we have the athletes to play with anyone in this tournament, it’s just putting them in the right position,” stated Nickelson. Williams again showed his poise in the pocket and hit Rogers, Sherman, Byrd, and David Walker (Los Banos HS). The defense played well again. There was one player that Team SWAG had problems with Consumnes Oak 6’3 200 pd WR L.J. Reed. He had all three of TMP Elites touchdowns and the coverages were decent. “When you have a 6’3” receiver that could jump and catch, that poses a problem. This kid is already college ready,” stated Hilliard. This game came down to the last drive, and Williams hit Sherman on a big touchdown with less than one minute left to seal the victory. This game clinched Team SWAGs spot in the prestigious “Best of the West” tournament on April 27 at Cal State Fullerton.
The next game put Team SWAG against NFL star Maurice Jones Drew’s team Kenion Training. This game Williams found a new target in 6’3 207 lb sophomore David Walker III (Los Banos HS). Walker came through with some clutch catches to earn Team SWAG a spot in the CenCal Championship game. The championship game was between Team SWAG and Big Blue. This game was the same as the other games Williams finding Rogers and Walker throughout the game. Freshman Isaiah Montanez (Golden Valley HS) got into the scoring action with a 40 yd bomb from Williams. The game got out of hand early and Team SWAG prevailed with a victory. “Man, this team is phenomenal. All these boys came out ready and we showed we have elite kids,” stated Coach Todd Johnson. “T-Will (Tyrone Williams) is the truth. This shows the recruiters that he is one of the best QB's out there,” stated Johnson. Williams captured the Passing Down MVP. “I felt good out there. It becomes easy when your receivers catch the ball. We are looking forward to Fullerton,” stated Williams. Team SWAG will be traveling to Fullerton, CA for the prestigious “Best of the West” tournament on April 27, 2014. This event is covered by several media outlets. Stay tuned for updates throughout the week leading up to the big tournament.
Investing in Merced
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As Passing Down 2014 CenCal Elite 7on7 regional tournament comes near, S.W.A.G kids are looking to make a statement. S.W.A.G has collaborated with the Factory Football Group (Fresno, CA) and has become the SWAG Factory. This will be a similar team that competed in the Las Vegas Pylon 7 on 7 last month. Leading the group will be 6’4” 204 lb QB Tyrone Williams Jr. (Merced HS). Williams is ranked the #33 Pro Style QB in the nation according to 247.com. Williams top targets will be Raneil Rogers (Washington Union HS), David Walker Jr. (Los Banos HS), Stevan Johnson (San Joaquin Memorial HS), and Bransin Johnson (Clovis North HS). “All these kids will go get the ball. With Rogers and David on the outside, it will be difficult for teams to stop the offense,” states S.W.A.G director DeVon Hilliard.
The defense will impress a lot of offenses. Top defensive players will be Jabar Byrd (Merced HS), Aundre Sherman (Buhach Colony HS), Bransin Johnson (Clovis North HS), Damarrio Hammonds (Patterson HS), Carlos Garcia (Pacheco HS), Frank Ginda (Pacheco HS), and freshman phenom Deontae Smith (Los Banos HS). This defense held some great teams in the Las Vegas tournament. “I think fatigue played a factor in the Las Vegas tournament. We have added some key depth that will let our players focus on one side of the ball” stated Hilliard. Johnson had a good showing at the Las Vegas tournament. He showed his physical play and ball hawking capabilities. Ginda second highest Nike Sparq rating at the Los Angeles Sparq combine.
Backing up Williams will be 6’3 190 lb QB Luke Lange (Stone Ridge Christian HS) and 6’2” 165 lb Jr. QB Brandon Sanchez (Buhach Colony HS). Lange sat out last season due to a knee injury but has been cleared to go full speed. Sanchez played at Merced HS and has recently transferred to Buhach Colony HS. Sanchez looks like the quarterback of the future for the SWAG Factory team.
Some young guns to watch that have been impressive in offseason workouts are WR Chris Munoz (Pacheco HS) and Isaac Zambrano (Buhach Colony). Both players are completing their freshmen year of football. This team will be coached by the Factory Football Group founder Todd Johnson, Merced HS assistant Willie Steverson, and Atwater HS assistant Seneca Ybarra. “Our goal is to get these kids some exposure and some college offers.” We have 5-6 kids that should land Division 1 offers,” stated Coach Johnson. Stay tuned for the highlights and results from Passing Down.
7 on 7 Pylon Tournament
This past Saturday and Sunday SWAG student athletes attended the prestigious Pylon 7 on 7 football tournament. SWAG collaborated with the Factory Football Group from Fresno, CA. The players arrived in Las Vegas on Friday March 14, and had an unofficial visit to UNLV. During the visit, our athletes watched UNLV’S spring football practice. Also, during the visit our student athletes were given a tour of the campus by the coaching staff.
The next morning, the student athletes began their quest to perfection. The first game came against a great team out of Denver, CO. This team was coached by NFL veteran Brian Dawkins. The SWAG Factory came out hot, and never looked back. Merced HS QB Tyrone Williams had a stellar performance. His main targets were JJ Wills (Clovis HS), Aundre Sherman (Buhach Colony HS), Raneil Rogers (Washington Union HS), and Stevan Johnson (San Joaquin Memorial HS). The SWAG Factory was victorious in this game. The next game matched them up against a national power in AIGA (Los Angeles, CA). Although Williams came out hot again, AIGA beat the SWAG Factory by 5 points. After a long break, the SWAG Factory played against Rare Breed. The SWAG Factory came out flat and was shutout.
The next morning, the SWAG Factory prepared for the single elimination tournament and matched up against Rare Breed #2. Williams came out hot and hit Wills and Rogers for touchdowns. The defense played well getting stellar play by DB’s Jabar Byrd (Merced HS), Bransin Johnson (Clovis North HS), Carlos Garcia (Pacheco HS), Aundre Sherman (Buhach Colony HS), and Damarrio Hammonds (Patterson HS). Pacheco High School Linebacker Frank Ginda played well and showed why he holds the #2 Nike Sparq rating for linebackers at the Los Angeles NFTC. The SWAG Factory won this game, and received great praise from Barton Simmons (247.com), and Khalid Ali (Under the Radar), both scouting analysts.
The next game matched up the SWAG Factory and #1 seed Big Picture (Santa Barbara). The game started with Williams throwing a 40 yard strike to Wills. The next series proved that the combination of Williams and Wills was one of the best at the Pylon tournament. The Big Picture scored one touchdown keeping the game close. The turning point of the game was when the SWAG Factory was leading by 3 points, drove down to the 1 yard line. The Big Picture blitzed Williams and Williams outran the defender and scored on a 1 yard scamper. The referee whistled a touchdown and it was later negated by the field manager. Pylon 7 on 7 rules allows the defense to blitz once a game. The offense is allowed one rush per game, but the QB is not allowed to rush the ball. This caused a turnover on downs, and the ball awarded to the Big Picture. Big Picture would score, and would take the lead by 5 points with 1:30 left (running clock). The first play from scrimmage, Williams dropped back and the ball was tipped and intercepted, securing the game for the Big Picture. “These boys are amazing. This is our fourth year coming out here, and we have never made it past the first round. We should have won this game, but the game of football you never know,” Coach Todd Johnson stated. Williams played with the best of all the quarterbacks at this tournament. “I hate losing, but this experience was great. Seeing all these great teams and players I think raised our confidence. I believe we matched up with the best teams at this tournament,” stated Williams.
It’s back to work for the SWAG Factory. They have entered the prestigious Passing Down 7 on 7 tournament on April 13, 2014 in Elk Grove, CA. Also, they will be attending the Ute Shoot at the University of Utah on June 7, 2014. Check out the highlight film from the Las Vegas Pylon tournament.
SWAG in the COMMUNITY
SWAG believes in its members giving back to and participating in the community.
Here a few of SWAG's members are participating in the Martin Luther King Parade in collaboration with the Vietnam Veteran's of America.
SWAG was also recognized on February 23rd at a local church in Atwater, CA for its involvement in the community.
PREPARATION for EXPOSURE
As stated in SWAG's Mission Statement, "...enhancing their natural athletic gifts with competent training." SWAG understands that there is more to just signing up for a combine and attending. These showcases are opportunities to impress recruiters. Consequently, preparation is a MUST! Two days a week, SWAG student athletes are attending speed, agility, quickness, and combine readiness training. The preparation was kicked off by SWAG's 1st Annual Mini Combine.
Video of combine
SWAG hosted its first High School Mini Combine of the year at Veterans Stadium in Merced, CA. With over 70 participants, it gave high school football players in the valley the opportunity to showcase their talents. University of California Bears football players Matt and Aaron Cochran were in attendance. The Cochran brothers spoke and advised the participants on the importance of working hard on and off the field. Also in attendance was the superintendent of Merced Union High School District, Scott Scambray. The combine was filled with big time talent from Merced County. Attendees included Merced High School QB Tyrone Williams Jr., Buchach Colony’s speedster Aundre Sherman, Pacheco’s dual threat QB Juwan Epperson, and Pacheco’s ferocious linebacker Frank Ginda. It also was a chance for a couple of kids coming off injuries to showcase their talent. Pacheco’s RB/LB Kalama Kamoku and Stone Ridge QB Luke Lange showed they are getting ready for next season.
The surprise of the camp was Pacheco’s WR/DB Carlos Garcia. “Garcia showed his blazing speed, with little technique. He is real raw, and needs work with his start. He is potentially a sub 4.5 guy,” stated SWAG community relations coordinator Eddie Fraizer. Garcia turned in the fastest 40 time of the combine at 4.52. During 1 on 1’s and 7 on 7 Garcia made big plays on both offense and defense. “I felt good out there, and really enjoyed the experience,” Garcia stated. Other surprises of the camp were Los Banos freshman DB/RB Deontae Smith, Buhach Colony freshman DB/RB Paul Scoggins, and Golden Valley freshman DB/RB Isaiah Montanez.
NCAA Certified Scout Steven Thompson was in attendance as well. With this being Thompsons first time in Central California, he was very impressed with the athletes’ level of competition. Coach Thompson stated, “Merced county has a lot of hidden talent. This was a great event to showcase the talent. Frank Ginda is a beast. He loves to compete, and I can see him playing at the next level. Carlos Garcia and Deontae Smith really caught my eye of upcoming young talent.” Coach Thompson was also impressed by Frank Ginda’s demonstration of strength. Ginda had 24 reps at 185 pounds.
Strength and conditioning trainer Marcello Martinelli, over saw all of the drills and testing stations. Martinelli also spoke with the participants about nutrition and injury prevention. Martinelli will be working with SWAG athletes twice a week to prepare them for spring combines. “This group is great. I can’t wait to begin working with these athletes. If an athlete commits himself to SWAG’s offseason program, they will be so far ahead at combines, camps, and for the upcoming football season. A lot of hidden talent is in this area,” stated Martinelli.
Ex-Atwater Falcon and Cal Berkeley star Eddie Macha was seen at the event coaching upcoming wide receivers. SWAG’s young group is also very talented. Here are some names to look out for in the near future who participated at the combine: Irik Dobbins, Vincent Alvarez, Richard Roman, Devonte Smith, Julian Diaz, Joshua Doucette, Brandon Doucette, Robert Enriquez, Shane Casillas, and JJ Ramirez. SWAG will begin its offseason workouts January 23, 2014.
This past weekend, SWAG visited the California Showcase. The website about the event is http://cashowcase.org/.
The Showcase is an opportunity, for seniors who have yet to find a place to play football in college, to showcase their skills to Division II, III, and NAIA schools from across the country. Local talent from the valley included Tiki Tonga (Modesto High School, QB) and TJ Moore (Golden Valley High School, OL). Young athletes were afforded the opportunity to be coached up by former NFL players and major college coaches like: Steve Buerlien, Rick Neuheisel, Cade McNown, and Ricky Manning.
One of the major problems facing athletes wanting to get out of the valley is exposure. This was a tremendous opportunity for talent from all over California to get exposure at no cost.
One of SWAG's goal is to provide exposure to our student athletes who are dedicating themselves to the classroom and off season training. Upcoming events include 7 on 7 tournaments in Elk Grove, Las Vegas, and Utah. We also have individual athletes participating in Under Armour Rivals combine, Nike SPARQ, and NFTC events.
The importance of GPA
On March 22, SWAG visited the California Showcase in Los Angeles. The California Showcase is an opportunity for Seniors in high school to showcase their talents to Division II, III, and NAIA schools.
Upon visiting with colleges that were in attendance SWAG came across a university that reminded us that our talents are not simply measured on the field but in the classroom. The flyer simply states that if you do not have AT LEAST a 3.3 please do not even consider applying to that school.
There are nearly 450 colleges and universities in the United States that play college football and if you have the grades and desire to keep playing after high school, there is opportunity for all talent levels. The number one requisite for continuing to play is not your 40 time, shuttle run, bench press, speed, quickness, or agility; but is your GPA in your core academic classes.
All athletes and their families must visit and register for the NCAA Clearinghouse. Ithttp://web1.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.jsp