JC OL Has Poly Ties to UCLA

<b>Charles Owens</b>, the former Long Beach Poly offensive lineman, has been tearing it up at Compton College. The 6-4, 315-pounder has some strong scholarship offers already, but wouldn't mind playing with some of his boys from Long Beach Poly at UCLA...

As a 2002 senior for Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, offensive lineman Charles Owens was able to play with some of the best prep players in the country both older, younger and in the same grade.

Names like Marcedes Lewis, Kevin Brown, Rodney Van and Byron Velega, all future UCLA signees, were his teammates with the Jackrabbits. Others like Herschel Dennis and Darnell Bing would go on to other Pac-10 schools.

After committing to UNLV following his senior season, Owens then couldn't join the Rebels that fall because his core GPA and SAT didn't meet NCAA requirements.

Owens then went the JC route. He first sat out the 2003 season to focus on his academics, but then a year later is now on target to receive his AA degree in the spring.

And after spending the 2003 season on the sideline, Owens returned to the playing field this past year for Compton (Calif.) College, having a solid season. "Man I was just glad to be back out there," said Owens. "I had a real good season. I didn't give up a sack this whole year."

Colleges have caught notice of Owens, and he has received offers from four schools while holding out hope other offers. He said, "I've got offers from Utah, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Arizona. UCLA is the other school I'm really looking at. I'm hoping to get an offer from them. If they were to offer, I'd really have to think about that."

One thing working in the Bruins' favor is the prospect of playing with his former Poly teammates who are now playing for UCLA, including sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Brown: "Kevin is my best friend and we talk about playing together again. He tells me though to make sure I check out all of my options and do what is best for me. Marcedes, him too. He is one of the cooler guys, and he tells me all the time he can see me playing at this level with us. If UCLA offered me, it would probably make me meet with my family and discuss it. I know they would like me to stay local."

Owens said his academics are in top shape now, that the year off allowed him to focus on the educational side of things. "It really let me focus on school, on my education. It showed me that school is more important than football. Taking the year off was tough, because I wanted to be out there playing, but I was a lot more focused," said Owens.

With his AA degree set to be received in the spring, Owens said he could sign in February and be ready to leave for the fall. In addition, he has four years to play three, but thinks he would probably come in and be ready next year. "I think the schools are offering me to come in and play right away and be an impact transfer. If they felt I needed to adjust and sit out, I could, but I think they want me to come in. I can play guard or tackle, but most schools want me as a guard."

Owens was recruited by UCLA defensive line coach Don Johnson. Johnson has again picked up his recruitment now, though Owens has talked with offensive line coach Tom Cable also. He said, "I really like Coach Johnson. I have a great relationship with him. I've talked to Coach Cable too. The staff is good there."

Owens expects to take his visits in January, to his four offers, and will try and squeeze in a trip to UCLA as well.

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