MSL/TheInsiders Berkeley Combine - Day Two

Sunday was the second and final day of the Berkeley edition of the MSL/TheInsiders Combine. Another perfect day greeted players and coaches at Memorial Stadium at the University of California. Former NFL Coach Willie Shaw (pictured at right) was on hand to instruct the prospects and offer advice from over 40 years experience, both as a player and coach.

The purpose of the MSL/TheInsiders Combine is to gain exposure for players who may be under the radar. "Our purpose is to get kids scholarships," John Battle, director of the combines, said. "College coaches can come to the MSL website and find out the stats and see videos of the drills we put these kids through. It's a great opportunity for the players to get noticed, and that's why we're here" One example of success of the MSL Combine's is Kevin Thomas from Rio Vista High School in Oxnard, Calif. Thomas was a relative unknown until he lit up the Long Beach MSL/TheInsiders Combine. Now, with offers from Cal, Washingto State, USC, and Arizona Thomas is well on his way to securing his educational future via football and the MSL Combine was intrumental in the process.

Saturday's combine was the day for quarterback's. Sunday appeared to be the day for defensive backs. The reason quite possibly could have been the presence of former defensive backs coach Willie Shaw. Shaw was eager to share his knowledge and experience with the players, and they were attentive students. Sunday's attendence was just over 100 and the kids were put through the same drills. While nobody stood out above the rest of the group, there was one player that did catch the attention of the coaches and media in attendence.

Seyi Ajirotutu from Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif. clocked a 4.63 in the 40, one of the fastest times of the day. The 6 foot 4, 190 Ajirotutu has been hearing from some west coast schools, including Pac 10 teams Oregon State and Washington State. He certainly passes the look test but appeared to have some difficulty in the side to side agility drills. His footwork will defenitely need attention if he's to succeed to the next level. While he denied being injured he did appear to be hobbling a bit, which may have been a factor. Ajirotutu said he has been used exclusively as a DB but for this upcoming season will be playing wide receiver. He said he will also be attending the Stanford Nike Camp next week.

The Field-Turf surface at Memorial Stadium made 40 times seem slow. The fact that times were being measured by experience NFL coaches may have also factored in the times, which tend to get inflated at times, depending on the venue. Prospects were given two runs, with both times going into their profile. Some players were not happy with their times and wanted to scratch them, which is their perogative. Shaw offered his advice on the matter. "If I am a coach and I only see one 40 time in a players profile, I'm going to wonder where the second time is, especially if there is nothing to indicate an injury," he said. After his talk none of the kids requested a time be removed. Shaw did add another thought regarding the importance of the 40 times in evaluating a player. "It's the most over-hyped stat there is," he said. "I want to see a players video before I go making judgements based on clock times. There are people that do nothing but train players how to take these tests. A lot of them can't play the game. But, a better indicator of ability are the agility tests, but those don't get as much attention."

GBW will have photos from both days of the camp posted during the week.

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