B2G Invitational: Lessons Learned

The first ever B2G 7v7 Elite 16 Tournament went off without a hitch this weekend, as 16 of the top passing league teams in California took to Fullerton (Calif.) College for a two-day event. While the B2G Five Star team left an impression as the tournament champions -- marking the first B2G tournament win of the spring -- there were several other notable occurrences during the weekend.

From first time to first-class

It might have been B2G Sports' first ever 7-on-7 passing tournament, but the event was far from an amateur operation.

A disk jockey played music from the sideline, multiple hydration stations were set up, and a locker room was transformed into an interview area (complete with a green screen and proper lighting). The training company began planning for the event last year, and every detail seemed calculated. Perhaps most notably, all the matchups ran according to schedule.

At the conclusion, coaches, athletes and parents gathered near midfield for the awards presentation. They let out one final round of applause.

"The mission was to get it done this year," B2G Sports co-founder Henry Bell said. "We envisioned this to be something special for many years to come. This first year was to get one under our belt. Every year we get asked why we don't run our own tournaments, and it just got to the point where we had to do our own thing. This was a success."

The plan is to make the event even better and more exclusive.

"The vision is to make it as elite as possible and potentially bring in the top teams from around the country, not just the West region," Bell said.

Youngsters shine

While the 2014 class prepares for its final camp circuit, several 2015 standouts aren’t exactly letting them have the stage to themselves. California has yet another strong recruiting class this year, but all indications are that the 2015 class is going to challenge it at every position.

During yet another passing tournament, 2015 quarterbacks Brady White (Newhall, Calif./Hart) and Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) went throw-for-throw with their older competition. And again, wide receiver Trenton Irwin (Newhall, Calif./Hart) and defensive back Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) were extremely impressive.

Another young player to make a statement over the weekend was wide receiver Desean Holmes (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany), who came down with the catch of the tournament when he needed just one hand to haul in a 40-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the endzone with a defender on his hip.

Those five are just a small sampling of the 2015 talent that made its presence felt during the event.

Showing their colors

While the uniforms given out to each team standardized the dress code somewhat, many recruits added some flair to their wardrobe over the weekend. Not surprisingly, the Pac-12 was well represented.

Washington commit Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) sported his purple beanie both says, while 2015 athlete Jeremy Kelly (Los Angeles/Salesian) -- brother of Washington 2013 signee Jermaine Kelly -- donned plenty of purple on Sunday as well.

Cornerback Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) wore an Arizona sweatshirt and visor on Saturday, while safety David Williams (Los Angeles/Dorsey) had on a UCLA beanie for the first day of the tournament. Cornerback Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) joined Williams in wearing UCLA headgear, as he sported a Bruins hat on Sunday.

There were several Oregon sweatshirts on hand, including safety Darren Gardenhire (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) and, somewhat surprisingly, Cory Young (Norco, Calif./Norco), whose brother is a sophomore at Stanford. Although Young was quick to add that he wore a Stanford sweatshirt on Saturday.

Other schools spotted included several instances of USC and California, as well as singular sightings of Nebraska and Tennessee.

Monarch matchup

When B2G Filthy Quick took the field over the weekend, there wasn’t much of a question as to where the ball was going. The question that couldn’t seem to be answered, however, was ‘Who would be the first team to stop it?’

The combination of quarterback Chase Forrest and wide receiver Matt Rockett -- teammates at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei -- proved lethal for much of the weekend. The way they surprised just about everybody they faced was indicative of the season the Monarchs had last year, where not much was expected from a consistently great program, but they found a way to march all the way to the CIF title game.

Forrest and Rockett are hoping that the time they spent together at this tournament, and throughout the spring, leads to more success this fall.

“I’ve been friends with him for years, and the chemistry we’ve built is great,” Forrest said of Rockett. “I like to spread it around because I trust the other guys as well, but he’s just a great athlete and can just get open. He has speed and he catches a great ball, too. It’s awesome.”

Forrest said the loss to Long Beach (Calif.) Poly has the entire Mater Dei team ready for this season, when the Monarchs should again be a program to fear come the fall.

“People are already doubting us, and that’s going to come because it’s Mater Dei,” Forrest said. “But we’re hungry. That last game killed us emotionally, so we’re hungry to come back and show people what we have.”

Elite Invites

The first 10 invitations to the B2G Elite Camp, from June 27-30 at UCLA were announced at the event. Johnson, Hale, Rosen and Holmes snagged invites after big performances this weekend.

Other players to take home invitations to the camp were linebacker Jamardre Cobb (Los Angeles/Salesian), wide receiver Erik Brown (Fontana, Calif./Summit), wide receiver Jordan Lasley (Gardena, Calif./Serra), wide receiver Dashawn Gordon (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos), athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), and wide receiver Justin Holmes (Sacramento, Calif./Oakmont).