I watched Central Catholic (Oregon) take on St. John Bosco (California) back in the fall and, to be honest, wasn't expecting a lot from the Central Catholic team in terms of overall talent.
I knew they had a really good back on their roster in Cameron Scarlett (he signed with Stanford last month), but I was mostly watching the game to see UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. Besides, the state of Oregon isn't exactly known for producing a ton of top tier talent. Scarlett was the only 4 star player in the state last cycle and the University of Oregon actually did not sign one player from the state in their 2015 recruiting class.
But this one Central Catholic kid just kept standing out to me and I couldn't help but take notice. LaMar Winston was this long athlete at linebacker that kept flashing the entire game.
At that time I saw more of an athlete than a football player. He was an intriguing enough athlete though that I figured he would generate quite a bit of interest. That's turned out to be the case as Winston is now one of the hottest prospects on the west coast. He's been blowing up with offers from Pac-12 teams.
He got an offer from Oregon in late January and also picked up offers from Arizona State and USC last month. These offers are coming in and are going to continue to roll in for a reason. He's that rare out of the box linebacker that can excel in coverage and as a blitzer. He has exactly the kind of athleticism programs are looking for in a defender that can combat what so many teams are doing with spread offenses. He runs like a receiver, and is a pretty good one on offense, but has the perfect frame to play linebacker at the college level.
Right now he is a 3 star in the 247Sports composite rankings and doesn't even have a rating in ESPN's rankings yet. I see these changing in the next couple of months though. Rivals already has him ranked in the top 150 prospects in the nation and he'll likely shoot up everyone's else hypothetical lists because he has the athleticism, ball skills, and instincts in coverage to make an impact as a linebacker if he gets to showcase himself during the spring/summer in 7 on 7 events.
It's a different year in the state of Oregon for talent than it was the previous cycle. You just need to look at Oregon's commitment list for their 2016 class so far. They already have two in-state commitments and are hoping to add a third later on with Winston.
They'll have to battle everyone else in the Pac-12 to land him though and I wouldn't be surprised to see more offers from some national programs to start trickling in as well. Winston's junior film seems to being gaining him a lot of attention lately. I expect that to continue and for him to emerge as one of the highest ranked linebackers in the west this recruiting cycle.