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August 20, 2011

Can Ariz. stars shine in monster matchup?

MORE: Midwest preview | Southeast preview

Powerhouse Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman visits Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium and it should be one of the best early-season matchups in the country. Rivals.com West analyst Adam Gorney will be in attendance and here are three things he'll be looking for:

1. Will Connor Brewer continue to prove he's a gamer?

Brewer, who committed to Texas in February, has been fabulous the last two seasons during the season but not as good on the camp circuit. Game play is much more important so it will be interesting to see how Brewer handles himself against a stout Gorman defense.

Rated as the fourth-best pro-style quarterback and No. 123 in the 2012 class by Rivals.com, Brewer threw for 2,677 yards with 37 touchdowns and six interceptions last season. He had 1,896 yards with 20 scores and only six picks as a sophomore.

Brewer has been solid during the summer camp circuit - we saw him at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., and the Elite 11 at Pepperdine - but he definitely struggled at times, too. There were many quarterbacks who looked better, especially at the Elite 11.

Brewer admitted that he's much better in game situations where he needs to make snap decisions and lead a team, so this will be one of his biggest stages yet. Bishop Gorman has a good defense and Chaparral's offense will be tested.

2. Can Davonte Neal continue to dominate the competition?

We were a little disappointed with Neal's performance at the Los Angeles NIKE Camp this spring and wondered whether he had topped out in talent, but then he dominated at the Seattle NIKE Camp, The Opening and Gridiron Kings.

It's not clear now whether Neal, a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, is better at wide receiver or cornerback since he played so well at both positions this summer. It will be interesting to see how well he does against Gorman's cornerbacks and talented receivers.

Rivals.com rates Neal as the No. 20 wide receiver and No. 136 in the 2012 class. After such a strong summer he could be moving up in the rankings, especially if he plays well in Saturday night's season opener.

3. How talented is this Gorman squad?

Running back Shaquille Powell was especially impressive against Concord (Calif.) De La Salle last season and his recruitment is finally starting to gain traction. Vanderbilt and Illinois are two of his favorites.

Four-star Ronnie Stanley is back in football mode after playing AAU basketball this summer. He can dominate at times and alongside Ron Scoggins, Gorman has a formidable offensive line duo.

Junior quarterback Jarrett Solomon has put up serious numbers and could be a star in the making and sophomore running back Nathen Starks is already being recruited by some Pac-12 schools.

Adam Gorney can be reached at adamgorney@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @adamgorney.



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