L.A. TheInsiders/MSL Combine

There were quite a few surprise sleepers that participated in TheInsiders/MSL Combine at Long Beach Poly High School last weekend, while there were also some well-known recruits that did not disapoint. Here is the rundown of the event, including player evaluations, players' comments, scout comments, and testing results...

Around 75-80 recruits were in attendance with the majority showing up on Saturday. The camp was a bit hurt by the fact that national SAT's were on Saturday and USC held their Junior Day on Sunday. But, there was still plenty of talent to be had and new names to be known.

Both days got started at 7:30 A.M sharp with registration lasting until 8:30. The players were then put through a series of tests and info gathering that included interviews, height and weight recording, verticals, long jumps, and bench pressing (reps of 185).

After stretching as an entire unit with camp head Johne Battle, the players were broken up to separate stations with drills to be tested in. These included the 40, 20, and 10 yard dashes, short shuttle, long shuttle, angle drive, and figure 8. After an hour and a half of these tests the lineman or the skill players would go for lunch while the other group stayed on the field for position-specific drills. After both groups had lunch they would all resume further position-specific drills. These consisted of a lot of one-on-one competitions. While the players ate lunch they also were called in for personality testings.

Back to the action on the field, there were plenty of impressive performers.

Offensive Players

Two of the Golden State's top signal callers came to the combine in Chaminade's Chris Turner and Exeter's Drew Branch. Turner came on Saturday and Branch on Sunday, so they were not displayed head-to-head, but both shined in their separate outings.

Branch showed up at 6-2, 182 pounds and ran a 4.81 40. It was an extremely slow field and the 40's were timed by professionals, so this was a more than solid time for him. Drew showed a very live arm with a lot of strength. One scout compared his potential build, mobility, and strength to that of former Colorado State quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt. He reminded the scout of Van Pelt, but with much better accuracy. Branch did very well throwing many different routes.

Chris Turner
Chris Turner checked in at 6-4, 197 pounds. He ran a 5.0 40 but the wind was really picking up at the time of his turn and it effected many players' times in his unit, as well. Turner proved to have very nice touch and accuracy on his passes.

He gave us thoughts on his performance.

"I thought it was a good camp," Chris explained. "I felt pretty good out there today."

Turner informed The Insiders that his current favorite schools are Notre Dame, Michigan State, LSU, Tennessee, and Florida. The Irish are his leader and he believes the Spartans are close to offering.

David Sutton was the top wide receiver prospect. Sutton played football and basketball at Long Beach Poly a few years ago. He went on to Cerritos JC, Lincoln University (a 1-AA school in Missouri), and then spent the last year at Compton Community College where he didn't participate in football. David says that he has four years to play three at whatever college he chooses. Sutton ran a 4.65 40 which was the fastest time of the weekend. You could tell that he was more used to catching a round ball than a pigskin, but he got better as the day wore on in that department. David showed very good quickness and he had nice burst off the line.

Kevin Meagher was by far the standout offensive lineman of his group. He ran the fastest 40 time for O-lineman with a 5.39 and weighed in at 267 pounds with a height of 6-1 1/2. Meagher looked very good in the one-on-one drills proving to be the most polished, fundamentally sound lineman out there.

Kevin commented on the camp.

"I really liked it. I think it was ran well and I believe I learned a few new things. I hope to make their elite 22 list."

The Elite 22 honors are handed out to the top 22 players of the weekend by the coaches who run the camp.

He says one team is coming on for him.

"I have been hearing a lot from Notre Dame lately, which is great because my Uncle and a couple of my Dad's friends went there so I am familiar with the school."

The other colleges on his list include UCLA, Arizona, Oregon State, Cal, Fresno State, and Boise State. He will be attending the Bruins' Junior Day April 17th.

Defensive Players

Maetele Pau'u
Just like Meagher, defensive lineman Mataele Pau'u owned his group. His vitals were recorded at 6-1 1/2, 292 and he ran a 5.7 40. Pau'u, however, looked very good in the one-on-one drills. He was explosive off the line and had quick feet for lateral movement. Mataele is currently eyeing one school more than any other.

"I am waiting on 'SC," he explains. "That is where I want to go and I am waiting for them to offer and I hope they do."

In the meantime, he has scholarships on the table from Arizona (last week), Arizona State, Oregon, San Diego State, and San Jose State.

Pau'u enjoyed the combine.

"I thought there was a lot of good competition out there and the coaches knew their stuff."

Jason Brown
The linebacker spot was held down at the camp by a local product. Many agreed the best LB there played his ball on the same field as the combine. Poly linebacker Jason Brown (pictured) measured in at 6-1 1/2, 203 pounds. He tested in the upper echelon of every drill and looked like he was in better shape than most players. As the day wore on, he continued to make a stronger presence while others fell by the wayside do to heat and exhaustion.

There were two defensive back prospects in attendance that will get a lot of looks.

Brandon Allen from Mayfair High in Lakewood, CA played in just his first year of football last season. He moved to California from Memphis last September before the first game. Allen is a 6-2 1/2, 201 pound SS/OLB prospect that looked very raw, but you can't help but get excited about his potential. He showed good quickness and decent straight-line speed (4.79 40). Above all, Brandon possessed great ball instincts in the one-on-one drills.

We caught up with him for an interview.

"I like USC, UCLA, Duke, Oregon, and Stanford," he told us. "I play at strong safety and receiver for my school, but I will play free safety next year."

Allen has a good frame and could probably fill out and make himself into a quick outside linebacker prospect. His deep cover skills were not there as much as his short zone abilities.

Brandon's father was a football player that signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Arizona, but never made it to campus as he opted for a baseball career instead.

Kevin Thomas
Without a doubt, the best athlete on the field last weekend was Kevin Thomas of Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard. He put up 13 reps of 185 pounds on the bench and ran two 40 times that both came out to 4.66. Talking to the coaches and scouts at the camp, there was not a player that impressed more than Thomas. He recorded the top marks in almost every drill and was easily in the best shape of all the weekend participants.

Kevin grew up watching USC and Michigan play, and they are two of his top three, along with Washington State.

He says he is hearing from Illinois, Washington, most of the Pac Ten, and Fresno State. Kevin projects as a corner with his athleticism.

Arguably the top kicker prospect on the west coast was in attendance. Chino High's Durrell Chamorro is said to be USC's top kicker candidate, and for good reason. Durrell was knocking balls through the uprights with room to spare from over 60 yards out.

We'll be catching up with all of these players in the near future for more interviews. We will also get in contact with a few other players from the camp that caught our attention.


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