Next in a Long Line?

What do NFL current and former standouts J.J. Stokes, La'Roi Glover and Eric Allen have to do with a San Diego, Calif., area prep heading to Iowa State this weekend?

Point Loma High School coach Mike Hasting hopes the four have a lot more in common in the near future. The San Diego Division III program has produced the likes of Stokes (1991), Glover (1992) and recent pro retiree Allen (1983) over the past 20 years.

Hasting believes the school's most recent Division I prospect, Brandon Timlin, can be the next NFL-level player.

"There have been a few guys that have come out of this high school and gone onto prominent success in the professional football ranks," said Hasting, who has coached Point Loma for six seasons. "I really feel like (Brandon's) going to be the next one. He comes after you and has a great work ethic. His attitude is that his best is yet to come."

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Tinlin is being recruited mostly as a tight end, although much of his high school success came on the defensive side as a rush end. Tinlin earned the Eastern League's defensive player of the year award and was a first-team defensive end after recording 90 tackles and 12 sacks last fall.

Playing in a run-oriented offensive attack, he still managed to haul in 19 receptions for 355 yards. Although he loves the physical aspect of the game, Tinlin has his preferences.

"I think it might be the glory of catching the ball," he said. "The offensive guys are the ones who get all the love from the girls. I was more of a blocking tight end this year, but that's fine too. I love blocking. It's fun if you smack a couple guys around and they're on their back."

His coach believes he can excel on both sides of the ball, but that his better position appears to be on offense.

"People are primarily looking at him as a tight end, because of his upside," Hasting said. "He's big and strong physically, but he can run. He's a quick, agile guy that makes great catches in space. He's got a little bit of that Jeremy Shockey in him, in that he's going to put his shoulder into you and you're going to know he hit you.

"On defense, he's one of those guys that chases plays down from the backside off the edge. I can see him playing either way, but as he continues to grow and with his exceptional athleticism and hands, he'll really excel as a tight end."

An interesting connection helped lead ISU to get involved with Tinlin. Defensive coordinator John Skladany played with Timlin's father Howard Justus at Central Connecticut State University.

Tinlin's father, who resides in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., put in a call to Skladany and got the recruiting ball rolling.

Finalists for Tinlin's services appear to be Utah, UNLV, ISU and Nebraska, with Southern California also having been in the picture. He took visits to Utah on Jan. 3 and followed it up with a trip to UNLV last weekend. After heading to Ames this weekend, he'll take an official visit to Nebraska on Jan. 24.

Utah appears to be the early leader, but with two visits arranged with Big 12 schools the picture could soon change.

"Right now my favorite is Utah," he said. "Their coaching staff is brand new. They're all from Bowling Green and Stanford. They're guys that are ready to get the job done. I like the way they're going to approach this season and the years to come. I haven't seen anybody that compares to them so far.

"I think the Cyclones are a very good program. They're only going to go to bigger and better places. They have a very good chance of me being one of their players."

More than looking at facilities and buildings, Tinlin wants to check out the personal side of the Cyclones' football program.

"I'm looking forward to my experiences with the players," he said. "We go out and have dinner with the host players. I'm more looking forward to that. I already know they're going to have a great weight room and stadium, because it's the Big 12. I'm going to be playing with those guys, so if I don't really like somebody I'm playing with it's not going to get any better. Chemistry makes the team better."

So when could fans expect a commitment from Tinlin? It could be a few more weeks, he says.

"I would probably wait until the very end, just because I'd like to see what's out there," he said. "I'm very new to this. It's only my third recruiting trip. If they're willing to wait, I'd like to take another trip."

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