LA Combine recap

The 2nd Los Angeles combine was held Sunday at Citrus College and it can be argued that the top two performers on the day came from neighboring Arizona as DL Everson Griffen and OL Kris O'Dowd put on impressive showings.

Griffen was the odds-on choice for the most impactful player for those who watched from the sidelines. Everson weighed in at 265 pounds and was timed on one watch at 4.46 in the 40 with the wind at his back (other watches had him around the 4.55 range). He also had a 9'8" broad jump and a 28" vertical leap. In addition to those impressive numbers, Griffen was the highlight of the lineman one on one drills, especially when he went head up with O'Dowd in some terrific battles. The two Arizona stars were matched up for several reps and it was basically a draw as each player had their share of winning reps. Griffen is so strong and has a lot of energy off the ball. He lists USC, UCLA and Arizona as his leaders.

O'Dowd showed the kind of attitude that you love to see in an offensive lineman. After getting beat on one play by Griffen, O'Dowd instantly called for the two to go again and Kris stopped him on the next play. Kris has the kind of frame that could play guard or center at the next level, one scout in attendance thinks he will wind up at center. He ran a 5.0 40 with the wind and 5.07 into the wind, both excellent times considering he was hobbled with a sore groin. Some good news for Trojan fans is that Kris confirmed that he will probably attend the USC summer camp.

Other Trojan recruits of note included: Malcolm Smith – the younger brother of Steve Smith showed surprising speed with a 4.44 in the 40, a time which opened some eyes from those who were concerned about his speed. Malcolm ran with a nice stride and he looked good in one on one drills where he lined up primarily as a running back. On one of his reps at linebacker he went up against UCLA commit Nate Chandler and Malcolm got an interception.

Kenny Rowe - Rowe was one of the top performers in the one on one drills as most of the offensive linemen just simply couldn't keep up with his speed. We're not sure if Rowe will end up on the DL or at LB in college but he will be a good player for somebody. With his brother Alfred scheduled to be at USC in the fall, it stands to reason the Trojans have a good shot on this one.

Markques Simas – Definitely the wide receiver who jumped out the most. He has a long, lean frame and a smooth running style to go along with the good hands he showcased in the one on one drills. So far he is the top wide receiver we've seen in the state.

Da'John Harris – Known more as a defensive lineman, that's the position the Trojans have offered for, but Da'John worked out today as a tight end. It's obvious that Da'John can move well and he should develop into a player with good size.

Here's a position by position look at other players who performed well:

QB – Ronnie Fouch (Redlands East Valley) has recovered enough from the shoulder injury caused by a hit from Shareece Wright in the season finale that he was able to go through the throwing drills. Ronnie isn't a big QB but he throws a real nice ball and knows how to run a football team. Cory Beam from Oregon had a strong arm while sophomore Daniel Blackmon from Carson looks like an athlete to watch for in the future.

RB – Omar Bolden (Colony) reminded us of Darryl Poston, a chiseled and quick back who ran precise routes and who looks like he could also be a solid corner. Brandon Johnson looked good in drills and it's easy to see why he is such a top prospect at Dominguez. Sean Merritt (Verbum Dei) looks like he will be a college fullback, he's not tall but he's thick.

WR – Reggie Dunn (Verbum Dei) ran the fastest time of the day but his smaller size could be a factor. A couple taller athletes, both of whom could also play defense, were Lance Mitchell from Muir and Russell Carr from Don Lugo. Mitchell is one of those players who always seems to be making the catch on offense or is always around the ball on defense.

TE – Porter Hill (Compton) is another player known more as a defensive lineman who spent today as a tight end. Hill had some good battles with LB Jordan Campbell from Norco. Sophomore Austin Holt from Utah will be a player to keep an eye on for the Class of 2008.

OL – Hayworth Hicks has a powerful upper body and did well in the one on ones. Mitchell Schwartz (Palisades), Garth Gerhart (Norco) and Ruben Delgado (Cathedral) all had their moments as well.

DL – Mackey Mailo (Carson) is not tall but he has a wide lower body and is very strong. Marcus Austin (Etiwanda) and Brian Lambert (Tustin) both showed good motors as interior linemen and another player who jumped out for his good energy was Blake Comalino from Upland. Akeem Ayers (Verbum Dei) hurt his ankle/shin at the start of the one on one drills and sat out the rest of the day. William Yancy from Arizona made some nice plays while Jamaar Jarrett from Mission Hills is a sophomore with a lot of room to grow into his tall frame.

LB – Jordan Campbell is a tough, hard nosed player who had flowing hair similar to a Troy Polamalu. Campbell could end up being a good fullback at the next level as well. Maurice Simmons, yet another in the long line of Simmons brothers, is a top sophomore at Dominguez and he looks the part. His younger brother, Marcus Simmons, did not take part in the day but he was in attendance and his family members say he is the next big star of the group. Marcus, who also attends Dominguez, had seven tackles in the CIF title game as a freshman.

DB – We talked earlier in the WR section about Mitchell and Carr, both look like they could easily end up on defense and Carr has the size to end up a strong safety. One of the top underclassmen, Chris Polk of Redlands East Valley, worked out at receiver but he also has the skills to be a terrific corner. Former USC safety Tim McDonald, now the head coach at Edison HS in Fresno, says his sophomore corner Robert Golden has a nice future.

Quotes from Kristopher O'Dowd

So how did you enjoy today's Scout Combine?

"I thought it was good. I had a great time. I got to go up against some good players like my friend Everson Griffen. I think we went 2-2 against each other. I think my combine results were good, but I pulled my groin earlier in the week."

Who else impressed you that you had a chance to compete against?

"I was really impressed with this one defensive end. I am trying to remember his number and name, but he is really fast coming off the edge."

Was it Kenny Rowe of Long Beach Poly?

"Yeah. that's who it was. He was really a good rusher."

How has the recruiting process been going for you up to this point?

"It's been a trip. You know, you only get to experience this once in your lifetime. It's been enjoyable."

Are you planning on waiting or could you commit early?

"I could commit early or it could be just up in the air. We'll see as I take my visits."

As of now, what is your height and weight and what do you do on the bench press?

"I am 6-feet-4, 303 pounds, and I bench press 420 pounds."

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