West Spotlight: Late bloomers who are making waves

There used to be a lot of prospects who saw their recruitment explode as their senior seasons got underway. That’s not as common now but rising seniors are still able to make waves during the offseason camp circuit.

Check out these late bloomers from the West region who have seen their recruitment pick up speed.

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After seeing Blank at the National Combine in San Antonio and then the Under Armour All-America Camp recently, there are a lot of similarities between him and former UCLA offensive lineman Kolton Miller, who ended up as a first-round NFL Draft pick.

Both Blank (Rocklin) and Miller (Roseville) were from the Sacramento suburbs. They were also similar size as Blank checks in at 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds. And both had recruitments that were mainly focused on programs on the West Coast.

Blank has an official visit set to UCLA for next month as the Bruins are one of the main programs recruiting the three-star offensive lineman right now and it would not be a shock at all if that’s where Blank ended up. It’s also where Miller played his college football.


The high three-star defensive end from Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian has been playing football for less than a year.

Iddrissu by way of Ghana and then Spain came to the United States with the intention of playing basketball but once he was coaxed to try football, Iddrissu fell in love with the physical nature of the sport and he has now seen his recruitment take off.

USC, Florida State, Washington and Minnesota are showing the 6-foot-8, 240-pound prospect the most attention so far but more interest should be on the way. Is Iddrissu perfect on the football field? No. But he has incredible size, length and potential in the coming years.


Ploog caught 61 passes for 1,047 yards and 12 touchdowns last season but it was at Fullerton (Calif.) Troy, definitely off the beaten path of the elite Southern California schools that regularly pump out high-end talent.

But Ploog can play. Numerous times during the 7-on-7 and camp season, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound pass catcher has proven to not only be a competent playmaker but one of the best tight ends in the West region. Utah and Washington have jumped out in Ploog’s recruitment but much more could be on the way.

A two-sport standout since he’s also an excellent baseball player, Ploog is one of those players who flew under the radar early in his recruitment but the more he’s seen, the more colleges will fall in love with his athleticism, smooth route running, catch radius and playmaking ability down the field.


Sitanilei landed offers from BYU and UCLA over the last few weeks and his recruitment could take off once more college coaches see him through the summer.

The three-star defensive end was at Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco but has transferred to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and while that might bring a little less exposure, he should be the dominant force on that defense.

A player with an independent streak who can play multiple positions, Sitanilei is just a pure athlete, super smooth in everything he does, plays aggressively off the edge and has a motor that never slows down. BYU and UCLA are emerging as real contenders along with Cal and Utah but even more offers could come through the spring.


The three-star receiver from Mission Viejo, Calif., is doing everything right - and finally college coaches are noticing he’s a production machine.

Playing alongside four-star receiver Phillip Bell last season, Spafford was the leading receiver at Mission Viejo with 83 catches for 1,576 yards and 22 touchdowns and now Cal, Michigan State, TCU, UCLA, Washington and others are getting in the mix.

Spafford has speed, he can get open against anybody and he catches everything. Whether he’s playing with the California Power 7-on-7 team or in a camp setting, the high three-star produces like crazy and makes the big play look easy. In the end, he might not blow anyone away physically but his numbers don’t lie.