Combine: L.A. Defensive Preview

California, the home of three of the last four Heisman Trophy winners, and three of the last five #1 picks in the NFL draft will host the 11th stop on the Combine tour, and the Golden State will be represented, as well as the rest of the West region, including top prospects from Arizona, Washington and Utah. Here is a preview of the defensive stars expected to attend.

No Combine from a year ago had more D-I signees in the class of 2006 than the Los Angeles combine.

This year, several of the West's top prospects will converge upon Citrus College in Glendora for stop number eleven on the Combine tour. And there will be plenty of future defensive stars making their presence known on Sunday.

Headlining the list on the defensive line is Long Beach (Calif.) Poly defensive end Kenny Rowe, a five-star pass rusher who holds offers from USC, California, Oregon and Nebraska amongst a host of several others. Rowe, the younger brother of USC signee Alfred Rowe, was at the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio last January, and was the first player to commit to coming to the Los Angeles combine.

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If Rowe is the best defensive end in the state, Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei's Akeem Ayers is right behind him, and Ayers is one of several Verbum Dei prospects who will be in attendance on Sunday. Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Mira Costa's Alex Probasco, Gardena (Calif.) Serra's Apiata Tuihalamaka, Compton (Calif.) Lawrence Winston and Woodside (Calif.) Paul Tuiono are scheduled to attend.

But its not just the California pass rushers who will be shining, as Arizona, Oregon and Hawaii all will have one of their premier defensive ends in Los Angeles.

Avondale (Ariz.) Agua Fria defensive end Everson Griffen, who has a dozen offers, including from USC, UCLA and Arizona and may be the best defensive prospect in Arizona will be joined by fellow Cactus State native William Yancy, from Glendale (Ariz.) Ironwood.

Honolulu (Hawaii) Farrington end Sam-Earl Fehoko, holding offers from TCU, Utah and San Diego State, and Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic's Kevin Frahm will be bringing their out-of-state talent to the combine.

With offers from the Big 12 and Pac-10, Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood defensive tackle Simi Fili headlines the big guys up the middle in Los Angeles. Fili attended as a sophomore in 2005, and comes back bigger, stronger, faster and older.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra defensive tackle Da'John Harris, who just this week picked up an offer from USC, and Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw's Brian Price, will be two of the tackles headlining the field from the Southland.

Moses Lake (Wash.) tackle B.J. Guerra, Carson (Calif.) tackle Mackey Mailo, Compton (Calif.) tackle Porter Hill and Poway (Calif.) Nick Wood also add to the tackles prospects.

The linebackers are led by USC commit Chris Galippo, from Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. The top backer in the West, and the best defensive player in the state, Galippo leads a solid contingent.

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Joining Galippo as top backer prospects are San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty's Steve Sloan, the new recipient of an offer from California, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft's Malcolm Smith, the younger brother of USC receiver Steve Smith, City section mate Robert Mullins from Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey, John Tyndall from Pacific Grove (Calif.) High and Encino (Calif.) Crespi's D.J. Holt.

Also expected to be there are Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser linebacker Chris Carter, a participant a year ago, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly's Demetrice Parks, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley's Andre Ferguson, Norco (Calif.) Jordan Campbell, Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach's Gary Kilcup and Portland (Ore.) Jefferson's Donte Savage.

The secondary will have a good crop, specifically at corner, where the group is led by UCLA commit and four-star cornerback Courtney Viney, from Fresno (Calif.) Edison.

Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach corner Vonzell McDowell, one of the best defensive backs in the region will be flanked by fellow King County native Brian Watkins from Burien (Wash.) Highline. Down the coast, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle's Lonnie Wishom will be repping for Northern California. Phoenix (Ariz.) South Mountain corner Darren Lewis is one of the standouts from the Cactus State expected to be there.

Staying close to his roots is Compton (Calif.) Dominguez corner David Ross, the owner of four offers and Los Angeles (Calif.) Jordan's Antwoine Baker, who continues to rack up offers of his own. Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) corner Romeo Pellum is on the brink of his first offer and he is hoping to continue to see his stock rise.

Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison's Dominique Vinson, one of the best cover corners in Southern California in 2005 will be there as will a pair of San Diego standouts, Hoover corner Todd Doxey and St. Augustine's Larry Parker.

Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure safety Michael Williams, possibly the best safety in California, is the marquee name at the position along with Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde's Brandon Thigpen and Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley safety Roy Helu.

Out-of-state safeties scheduled to attend are Burien (Wash.) Highline's Anthony Watkins and Glendale (Ariz.) Mountain Ridge's Jonathan Ott.

Other notable safeties include Pasadena (Calif.) Muir teammates Lance Mitchell and Eugene Palmer, Venice (Calif.) safety Jonathan Brasfield Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison safety Hunter White will be there, but likely won't participate, battling a staph infection that knocked him out of baseball season.

And folks will get a glimpse into the future with the handful of promising defenders from the class of 2008 who will be there, led by Compton (Calif.) Dominguez linebacker Maurice Simmons and San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills defensive end Jamaar Jarrett.

South Jordan (Utah) Bingham linebacker Forrest Dabb, Las Vegas (Nev.) Spring Valley safety Corbin Brown, Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair linebacker Reuben Willis and Fresno (Calif.) Edison cornerback Robert Golden are some of the other top sophomores attending.

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