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High School Sports

St. John Bosco safety Jake Newman has become a pitchman for UCLA

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St. John Bosco safety Jake Newman reads the offense during the Battle at the Beach seven-on-seven tournament in Huntington Beach on June 29.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Jake Newman brings an intelligent physicality to his game. The Bellflower St. John Bosco High safety likes to hit. He likes to come up to the line of scrimmage to help out in the run game, but he knows to read his keys before getting too aggressive.

A good offensive play quickly can turn into a great one if Newman gets out of position. He’s the last line of defense. There are a lot of responsibilities at the back end of the St. John Bosco defense, but Newman has recently taken on a new role within the Braves’ locker room — as a UCLA salesman following his commitment to the Bruins three weeks ago.

“I’m trying to get more people out there,” Newman said. “We just got Nathaniel Jones at running back [to commit to UCLA], and I’m trying to push our other safety … Jonathan Vaughns. If we can get him I’ll be real pumped about that.”

Newman and Vaughns have been playing side by side since the eighth grade. They split time last season playing with Titus Toler and Kourt Williams in St. John Bosco’s 4-2-5 defense that features three safeties.

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Toler graduated and will play for Wisconsin this year, leaving Newman and Vaughns to be reunited in the secondary with Williams playing a rover position. Newman is hoping it won’t be the last year with Vaughns.

“We got a great connection, so, I mean, I hope I can push him to UCLA, but best of luck to wherever he goes,” Newman said. “I see this UCLA class shaping up pretty good so far. All of our commitments we’ve got are solid dudes.”

New path

Newman took trips to Colorado, Louisville, Michigan, Missouri and Penn State this offseason. Ultimately he chose the Bruins over Penn State and Colorado, where his brother Chase is a redshirt sophomore linebacker. The brothers chose a different path than their father.

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David Newman was a wide receiver at Missouri and in the Canadian Football League, where he was the league’s top rookie in 1980.

Chase and Jake like to hit people who try to catch passes. Jake is one of the best at that. His highlight tape features several clips of him coming up to rock receivers and running backs. That’s part of what attracted the attention of UCLA defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads.

“They like like my combination of hit and speed. They like the way that I could hit and guard people,” Jake said. “Coach Rhoads told me he sees me as a true safety with them. I’m excited to hear that because I believe I could play safety as great as anyone out there.”

Newman said he has shut down the recruiting process and won’t be taking visits to any schools other than UCLA. He plans to sign with the Bruins in December but doesn’t expect to be an early enrollee.

Southland standouts

The Southland was well represented at the Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas, this week with 11 players participating as well as three Elite 11 quarterbacks.

Rancho Cucamonga quarterback C.J. Stroud may have been the week’s biggest surprise as he played well above his three-star ranking as the No. 42 overall quarterback in the 247Sports composite rankings.

His ranking should get a boost after he was selected as the Elite 11 MVP. He led his team to a championship in the seven-on-seven portion of the national camp. He completed 65 of 86 passes (75.6%) with a tournament-best 12 touchdowns and only one interception, according to 247Sports.

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Stroud got the nod over Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Bryce Young. The two were teammates at the event. Both had strong weeks, but Stroud earned the coaches’ trust and the starting job on the last day of the seven-on-seven tournament. Young was ranked second by 247Sports after going 26 for 31 with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

The starting quarterback of the other team in the championship was Ethan Garbers from Newport Harbor Corona Del Mar, who completed 42 of 64 passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

Corona Centennial junior Korey Foreman was selected the defensive line MVP over Clemson commit Bryan Bresee, the top senior in 247Sports rankings and the No. 2 player in the industry-generated 247Sports composite.

Mater Dei’s Myles Murao was selected as one of the Final Five offensive linemen from the camp Wednesday and committed to Washington a day later.

Notable absences

The two top-rated players in Southern California did not make the trip to Texas. The top linebacker in the nation, Upland’s Justin Flowe, did not attend because of an injury. St. John Bosco’s D.J. Uiagalelei, the nation’s top quarterback, also was missing.

Uiagalelei became the first five-star quarterback to miss the Elite 11, an event billed as “the nation’s premier quarterback competition.” Uiagalelei chose to skip the trip, saying he didn’t want to miss St. John Bosco’s practices and the Battle at the Beach seven-on-seven tournament.

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Uiagalelei led the Braves to the tournament’s championship game, which they lost to a Mater Dei team playing without Young.


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