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March 24, 2012

What to watch: Las Vegas NLA Elite 7v7

MORE: New Level/Badger Sports events

The spring circuit in the West kicks off in a big way with the New Level Athletics Elite 7 on 7 this weekend in Las Vegas. Rivals.com West analyst Adam Gorney will be in attendance Saturday and Sunday. Here are five storylines he'll be focused on throughout the event:

B2G is loaded for another title

B2G is the reigning champion at this event and the Los Angeles-based team is back with another loaded team that could challenge for another title. The team is especially loaded in the secondary with four-star defensive backs Priest Willis, Tahaan Goodman and Chris Hawkins leading the way. Los Angeles Dorsey standout Daquawn Brown and Jermaine Ervin could also play a big role.

On offense, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame quarterback Kelly Hilinski will take over along with running back Zachary Green and a loaded roster at wide receiver. A.J. Richardson, Drew Wolitarsky and 2015 standout Trent Irwin lead the way. Tight end Marcus Baugh, arguably the top player at his position in the West, will also be utilized.

Darrell Cloy, a wide receiver/defensive end from Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) St. Paul, could be one of the 2014 prospects who will shine in this event. Linebacker Denzel Talifero is a playmaker.

B2G has the weapons to win this event again. But others have some ammunition as well.

Can rival 1925 claim victory?

The 1925 All-Stars, which is led by Keyshawn Johnson, is loaded on offense which could make a potential B2G-1925 matchup even more intriguing. The two Los Angeles-based programs compete for the top talent and both have plenty.

Four-star quarterback Troy Williams will have many options at wide receiver including four-star standouts Steven Mitchell, Francis Owusu and John Ross. Lakewood, Calif., recruit X'avier Shepherd is a sleeper who has just started to pick up offers. Others have breakaway speed as well.

On defense, Tyler Foreman, Brandon Arnold and 2014 standout Malik Cyphers will lead in the backfield. Gardena (Calif.) Serra linebacker Dwight Williams, another 2014 recruit, was impressive at a recent 1925 workout.

Watch out for the Washington team

A lot of the hype is on B2G, 1925 and some other high-powered teams but the squad from Washington has enough talent and playmakers to really make a dent and possibly make a run toward the championship.

Yakima (Wash.) Eisenhower quarterback Kolney Cassel has an offer from SMU and he can toss the ball all over the field. He certainly has enough talent around him to score lots of points.

Wide receiver Sammie Long, speedster running back Isaiah Brandt-Sims and tight end Kyle Self will all be utilized. But what really stands out about this team is the defense.

Tere Calloway, Calvin Chandler and Kahlil Dawson are all outstanding defensive backs and Ezekiel McNeal and Jermiah McNeal along with linebacker Micah Breland might be able to shut down some teams.

Will another Greenberry emerge?

The name Deontay Greenberry was being whispered about prior to this event last year but it was on the UNLV fields where the former four-star from Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union emerged as a national name.

He made defensive backs look foolish at this event and dominated in an extraordinary way. It was one of the best performances seen during the last recruiting cycle.

Could another virtually unknown player emerge this time? There is certainly enough talent coming to the event where numerous players could make a national name for themselves.

Local team could surprise

Many teams from California have a good chance of doing well in Las Vegas but there is a team from the other side of town - namely a bunch of Bishop Gorman standouts - who could make a move in this tournament.

Team Las Vegas features quarterback Jarrett Solomon, wide receivers Ryan Smith and Jamir Tillman and 2014 running back Nathan Starks is one of the top rising juniors in the West. On defense, three-star linebacker and BYU commit Trajan Pili is a playmaker.

Watch out for the local team in Las Vegas.


Adam Gorney can be reached at adamgorney@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @adamgorney.



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