A last minute location change made things a bit confusing for prospects looking to take advantage of the first MSL/TheInsiders Combine held in Southern California this past weekend. The original location, Oaks Christian in Westlake, Calif. was considered too far away for most recruits, so a more centralized local was found at Long Beach Poly High in Long Beach, Calif. Coupled with SAT's on Saturday and the USC Junior Day on Sunday the turnout was as good as could be expected. It was a boon for the kids that did attend as they were given very close attention and came away with instruction from some of the top coaches in the business.
The one player we felt stood out above the rest for the entire weekened was DB/WR Kevin Thomas from Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, Calif. For our report on Thomas click here. The buzz from the scouts and media in attendence was that Thomas will be someone to keep an eye on this coming season.
Another player that caught the attention of those in attendence was sophomore punter/kicker Ryan Jackson from Chaminade College Prep High School in West Hills, Calif. Chaminade is the same school as quarterback Chris Turner, who attended the combine on Saturday. Jackson has a strong leg, regularly kicking field goals of 45-50 yards. He also uses a one-step kick for shots inside the 25. During the kick-off drills he placed his kicks consistantly at the goal line. As a punter he boomed a couple of punts and puts good air under is kicks. Jackson lists UCLA, USC, Florida, Miami, and Arizona as his favorites but says he has been contacted by Michigan. But Wolverine fans looking to get in on a possible quality special-teams player need not get too excited yet, though. "I really want to stay in the warm climate," he said. "Florida has been recruiting me the hardest and I'll be going there for their spring game. I grew up a UCLA fan and really like the Bruins."
A couple of comments by scouts overheard Sunday regarding two of the prospects GBW covered:
Mataele Pau'u: "He has good lateral movement but isn't very fast. At 6 foot 1 he'll need to grow a bit."
Chris Turner: "He's probably a mid to lower-level Pac 10 prospect. He has an average arm but moves well in the pocket."
Turner made it clear he favored Notre Dame. GBW heard from sources that he is expecting a visit from the Irish in May, as well as one from the Wolverines. While an offer from the Irish may be not near, the family is expecting one from Michigan. We'll keep you up to date on that story as it unfolds.
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