While West region athletes such as Adoree' Jackson, John "Juju" Smith and Joe Mixon were lighting up offseason camps and 7-on-7 tournaments last spring, there was a fairly consistent buzz coming from media, coaches and parents in the know. That group was good, but the next might be even better.
Last Sunday's Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp raised the curtain on the 2015 class in the West, and it didn't take long to notice that what had been future promise is now very much a reality.
On the surface, the numbers back up the idea that the West region will take a step forward in 2015, as there are 52 ESPN Junior 300 prospects compared to the 43 that were in the 2014 ESPN 300. Though there is still plenty of time for the rankings to shuffle, there are only three positions -- athlete, running back and tight end -- where the 2014 group placed more West prospects on the list than this year. And the two spots toward which much of 2015's fanfare has been directed -- quarterback and wide receiver -- have nine prospects each in the ESPN Junior 300, compared to eight combined in the 2014 rankings.