Bay Area

Addison Gumbs, Damon Cole, among California prospects piling the offers since the start of the year

Photo credit: Lorenzo Reyna

Some Class of 2017 prospects have had a strong start in the new year, with scholarship pledges continuing to mount up in their house.

And for four players from the corridor of El Cerrito and the Inland Empire, they’ve gone from zero scholarships to four. Here’s some notable players who have seen a spike in their recruiting period:

Damon Cole Jr., wide receiver/defensive back, El Cerrito

From a school that recently produced Adarius Pickett (UCLA) and D.J. Calhoun (Arizona State), the versatile Cole has received lots of love from the Mountain West Conference to start off the year.

Cole – doubling as deep threat wide receiver and versatile shut down cornerback for El Cerrito – has been offered by Wyoming, Utah State and recently Hawaii. He also has a pledge from Sacramento State.

Elijah Blades, cornerback, Pasadena (Calif.) John Muir

The lengthy, athletic and physical Blades was one of the 2017 players who went from being offer-less to emerging as a household name on the recruiting trail.

First came San Jose State with its scholarship pledge. Then came Blades’ biggest offer to date on March 8: a scholarship from Southeastern Conference powerhouse Florida.

At 6-foot-3, Blades has gotten college coaches fixated on his size and athletic traits.

Darren Hall, cornerback/free safety, Rancho Cucamonga

“DH6” has been the recipient of six scholarship pledges: UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah are all on the multi-skilled playmaker.

Hall has landed all of his offers from the timeframe of Feb. 18 to March 8.

Jalen Cole, cornerback, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Known as “J. Cole” to some of his peers, the 5-foot-9 island defender has been courted by the Ivy Leagues; with full-ride offers from Columbia and Brown on his table.

The University of Idaho is also on him, as the Vandals reached out and offered him their football opportunity on Feb. 19.

Addison Gumbs, linebacker, Hayward (Calif.) Stellar Prep

Before 2016 started, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Gumbs held five offers.

But now, that number has inflated to 26 and counting, with southern schools now chasing the rampaging ‘backer.

Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Louisville and Arkansas have jumped into the Gumbs bidding battle. His other offers include USC, Oregon, Washington and Ole Miss.

Josh Falo, tight end/defensive end, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum

Much like Gumbs, the 6-foot-4 Falo has seen his recruitment skyrocket.

Falo, the younger brother to Colorado linebacker N.J., has had USC, Texas A&M, Arizona, Oklahoma, Miami and Michigan inquiring about him through scholarship offers.

Jaylon Johnson, safety/cornerback, Fresno (Calif.) Central East

February and March have been blessed for Johnson, who has emerged as the latest ball-hawking defensive back from Central High, the same school responsible for producing Oklahoma Sooners Hatari Byrd and Michiah Quick.

Johnson holds seven offers; six of them coming in the last month. Oklahoma and USC are two of his latest pledges.

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Lorenzo Reyna

Lorenzo Reyna hails from the California's Central Coast, but has a bevy of experience with covering some fast-rising athletes from all over the Golden State. He's a former sports editor for The Reedley Exponent newspaper. His other credits include and


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