Report from the Scout SoCal Combine on 5/31/09
A big high school sports weekend in Southern California brings exclusive information about a key recruit, Shirley Barnes, to The Bootleg. More on Shirley in a separate report from the Pangos Basketball Camp last week, but first here are some observations about the happenings at Scout's Southern California Combine (football) held at Los Angeles Harbor College over this past weekend.
The Combine occurred on Saturday and several Stanford recruits came out to compete. The first part of the camp was devoted to drill-based measurements and then the players participated in one-on-one competition. The linemen competed in rusher vs. pass-blocker confrontations. The running backs worked in pass routes against linebackers and the defensive backs went one-on- one against the receivers. The QB's were divided between the two.
During the session I had an opportunity to speak with several Stanford '10 targets including running back Brennan Clay, offensive lineman Giovanni Di Poalo, safety Sean Parker and defensive end Mr. Eddie Plantaric. First let me provide an explanation for "Mr. Plantaric". I wanted to use the combine outing to continue the investigation about the type of player the current Stanford staff pursues so an early question to each recruit was "What do you enjoy about football?" Mr. Plantaric, without equivocation stated, "I like to hit people". When I took a step or two back to make sure I was out of reach, he explained his passion is pursued exclusively on the field. Nonetheless, after watching Mr. Plantaric compete, I have made a mental note to continue the Mister. As they say, discretion is the better part of valor.
RB Brennan Clay has never visited Stanford but is planning a trip in June for the camp. He is a competitor and it could be seen during the initial measurements as he had clear objectives for his performance and where he thought he should place. He has good hands catching the ball and noticeable quickness, explosion and top-end speed. In the one-on-ones it was difficult for the linebackers to get a good bump and once it became a foot race, it was over. Brennan takes with him from his high school experience a sense of accountability that has been stressed by his coach. He is looking for the right 'fit' in choosing a school so it is great that he will have a chance to camp up at The Farm. He will have a chance to enjoy all the university and the local community has to offer.
OL Giovanni Di Poalo comes from one of the power programs in Southern California, St. Bonaventure of Ventura and chose the school to have an opportunity to compete against the best. Playing since his sophomore year, he has learned always to go full tilt on the field. Giovanni believes his work ethic and the fact he takes nothing for granted has helped him improve as a player. In the one-on-ones he performed very well using his mobility and leg strength effectively. He states that Stanford is presently at the top of his list however an offer from one of the local schools might well change the landscape.
Watching S Sean Parker in the one-on-ones makes it clear just how difficult it is to stop an offense. In the combine setting, even with a good bump that would upset the timing of a play, the quarterbacks in this setting are permitted to hold the ball until the receiver has an opportunity to make a first and or a second move. Defensive backs must maintain contact for extended periods of time, frankly an unrealistic goal. But Parker demonstrated at least two important skills, remarkable change of direction and closing speed and the ability to move on to the next play when beaten. Sean states he is a hard worker and has a sense of responsibility that he expresses as "being a man". He is focused on both football and academics stating he has an interest in going out of state.
DE "Mr. Plantaric" comes across as a focused, goal-oriented player and as he says, he loves to hit people. When speaking about the lessons learned from his participation in high school football he speaks of commitment to common goals, responsibility and hard work. Seems like a fit with a team with a blue-collar work ethic. "Mr. Plantaric" is presently focusing on the June 6th SAT test date. He has a goal to improve his score by 100 points and I would bet he succeeds.
All four of these players worked hard through the drills and did not take plays off. Further, if beaten, they did not look for an excuse or complain. They lined up and were ready to go for the next rep. I suspect the positive attitude will make them effective students of the game, players that will work well with coaches and teammates.
Having a chance to speak with these players make it easy to appreciate the community Stanford builds through its selective admissions process. These kids are top-shelf. All four of these guys pass the critical "McGrath Test". They are personable and engaging and will do great at team interactions with the fans, the dinners and social occasions. If and when the time should come, Stanford fans certainly would enjoy getting to know Brennan, Giovanni, Sean and "Mr. Plantaric".
Editor's Note: Our pal Bob Miller is a volunteer contributor to TheBootleg and is not a "booster" or "representative of Stanford Athletics"...but he is nevertheless a heck of a "recruitnik" and we sure appreciate his frequent reports!
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