Inside Sparta previously evaluated some of the offensive prospects from the LA Scout combine that have been offered, are being evaluated by, or have expressed interest in the San Jose State University football program. We will now turn to the defensive side of the ball.
Anthony Pohahau, a 5-foot-10 143-pound linebacker prospect out of Wilcox High School Santa Clara, Calif. was the first kid we looked at during the drill stage. Pohahau, while not tall, had all the other attributes of an outside linebacker. He had good lateral movement and was explosive off the start of each drill. He reminds me of Matt Castelo, and if he can come in and do the things Matt did, most schools would be happy to get him. I think his height may keep some of the big schools away although he looked closer to 6-0 to 6-1 to me. I can see his stock rise as he enters his senior season.
There were three defensive backs that we looked at, the first being Devon Hall out of Rio Mesa High School, Oxnard, Calif. Hall is listed as a safety and OLB, and based on his numbers in the drills and one-on-one performances, he may be one of the sleepers of the combine. Hall has very good lateral movement, very good balance and good speed. In the one-on-one drills, he made some real nice plays on some very tough receivers. He was able to stay step-for-step with most while staying in good position. I did not see him get turned around or faked out on any plays. He also made it tough on the receivers trying to get off the line.
Devon's teammate at Rio Mesa, Enrique Thomas, is another player that may have turned a few heads. Enrique has an older brother (Kevin) at USC and another brother (Andre) who played at Cal Poly. His height and 40 times are more than likely the only thing keeping him from multiple large-school offers. Thomas has good hip movement and his feet are always moving. Among interested schools besides SJSU are Fresno State, Cal and Washington. With Devon and Enrique in the same back field, Rio Mesa, the school that produced current Spartan Josh Harrison, and former Spartan Jared Strubeck, should be very hard to throw on this season. We'll see the Rio Mesa pipeline continues to flow north.
The last DB we looked at and had a chance to talk with was Bene Benwikere, a defensive back from Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, Calif. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Benwikere reports offers from San Jose State, UNLV, San Diego State and Iowa State, with Boise State, UCLA, Washington, Oregon State and Oklahoma showing interest. Bene runs a 4.63 40 while possessing good size for a corner. He shows good cover skills and is also not afraid to mix it up on the line of scrimmage, which throws the receivers' timing off.
One thing that has been, and will continue to be a blessing in disguise for Benwikere, is who he has to line up against on the practice field every day. Serra should have one of the best receiving corps in the country with the likes of Robert Woods, who states offers from USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, California, amongst others. Benwikere will also line up against George Farmer who is 6-2 and runs a 4.38 in the 40, and has offers from Stanford, USC and UCLA. Last, but not least, Paul Richardson, who is transferring to Serra from Los Alamitos this season. Richardson just de-committed from UCLA and is back taking offers.
Phil Paulsen is the Football Editor of Inside Sparta. You may contact Phil with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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