NorCal Combine

Sunday's Combine in Berkeley brought out 100 of the top prep football prospects on the west coast, including UCLA prospects like Terrence Austin, Richard Sherman and Bruin commmit, offensive lineman Walter Watts...

Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest, but over 100 of the top prep football prospects on the west coast put that all aside as they went out and gave it their all during the All-American Combine in Berkeley, California. While the guys from CES put the prospects through their paces, more than one stood out among the crowd. It was hard to pin an MVP on just one player, but Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds LB Joshua Tatum put forth a great effort. One of the scouts in attendance that's been to a number of the combines this spring said Tatum had the best feet of any LB he's seen this spring. There's no question Tatum looks the part and we expect to see a lot more from Joshua this fall.

Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd TE/DE A.J. Simmons was someone we were hoping to see on Sunday and he did not disappoint. He, along with Fairfield (Calif.) Armijo DE Derek Simmons stood out like sore thumbs amongst the crowd. And watching him try and blow up some of the best OL the west has to offer - UCLA commit Walter Watts, Pasco, Washington's Ryan Tolar, and San Jose (Calif.) Tim Danser, to name a few - gave those in attendance at Memorial Stadium some of the best theatre all day.

Nathan Costa drew raves for his workout on Sunday. The QB from Hilmar, California was someone that we were well aware of before the event because of his MSL combine workout the year earlier at the same exact location. Well, Costa did not disappoint at all, throwing everything from touch passes out in the flat to streaks down the sideline. He was efficient, he spun the ball consistently all day long and he looked the part of a D1 signal-caller. He has really matured - both physically and mentally - in the year since we had last seen him.

Again, it was another Oakland kid that stole the show when it came to the running backs. Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd RB Louis Arnold drew raves from the scouts Sunday for his pass-catching skills. Arnold is already well-known for his ability to run the rock, so it was nice to see him flash a full set of skills on Sunday. It's going to be hard to ignore him when selection time comes for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio next January.

Another player that's going to be hard-pressed to be kept off the ballot is Long Beach (Calif.) Poly WR Terrence Austin. Terrence, considered by many to already be this year's version of heralded WR Desean Jackson, proved worthy of the hype. There weren't a ton of receivers that stood out on Sunday, but his work was clearly evident. The other player that deserves mention here is Compton (Calif.) Dominguez WR/DB Richard Sherman.

Sherman made the trek up north like Austin and proved why Stanford, UCLA and Mississippi State have already decided to offer him. He's a smart kid that can do it on either side of the ball, and while we were anxious to see what he was going to do head to head against Austin, he turned the tables on us. He actually WENT head-to-head with Austin, providing some of the best action of the day.

As far as the linemen, I don't feel that any one offensive lineman truly dominated for the entire session of one-on-ones, but Los Banos, California OL Walter Watts showed why the Bruins took an early flyer on him. He didn't do the best when it came to the combine testing, but displayed his true colors when it came time to match up with the best DL the camp had to offer. He's a very tenactious kid that really buckles down and focuses when the work has to be done in the trenches.

Defensively, while the Simmons' boys (A.J. and Derek) show the glitter, Jordan Holmes brought home the bacon. The lineman from Yuba City, California worked on both sides, but it was his time at DT that caught the attention of the scouts on hand. California commit Mike Costanzo couldn't help himself and worked out at both OL and DL. His tenacity and work ethic were second to none.

Tatum was the toast of the linebacker corps, but Del Oro, California LB Ben Chandler and Dwight Roberson - who traveled north from Ventura (Calif.) Saint Bonaventure - gave Tatum a hard run for his money. Chandler tested out really well and also showed a nice instinct during one-on-ones. Roberson moved really well all day long and earned the praise of more than a few scouts in attendance.

The unofficial workout-king award went to Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro safety prospect Tyler Porras. Tyler, the son of former Washington QB Tom Porras, ran a 4.51 40, a 4.15 20-yard shuttle, 7.22 l-cone test and jumped 10-feet-2-inches in the standing broad jump and 36 inches in the vertical jump, tops for the day. Porras showed his competitiveness during one-on-ones where he wasn't afraid to stick his nose in and get physical with receivers.

The top 40 time was 4.45 seconds, by Michael Turner of Manteca (Calif.) High School. The top shuttle was 4.09 by Michael Williams of Ventura (Calif.) Saint Bonaventure - a 2007 recruit. The top l-cone test was run by another Bonnie - linebacker Kyle Maddux. He ran the three cones in a combine-best 7.04 seconds.

The full list of official results will be available within 72 hours.

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