Traveling down to San Antonio for the 2007 U.S. Army National Combine were several of the top prospects in the 2008 class from the West, and more that showed they will be names to remember for the next year.
The player who immediately jumped out is Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton receiver/quarterback Gerelle Robinson. Already a commit to Arizona as a quarterback, Robinson could become a five-star receiver prospect should he decide to play there, and after his performance at the combine, being named Offensive MVP, that could be the money position for him. Arizona will have to spend the next 13 months fending off programs around the nation who will want a piece of him. Robinson was the best receiver there and he's a great athlete who runs good routes and catches the ball well.
Other receivers who did well include Marc Anthony, a teammate of Robinson's at Hamilton and Jerry Johnson from Venice, who looked quick and athletic and has good feet. Antwon Moutra** from Culver City is a good size athlete who was on the all-Combine second team as a receiver but we think he would be a big-time safety at the next level. Gerome Surrell from St. Mary's in Stockton and Steven Christian from Christian Brothers in Sacramento as well as Chris Potter from Oaks Christian all showed flashes.
Dominique Blackman**, the big 6-5 quarterback from Carson (Calif.) was at the Scout.com Combine in Los Angeles last May and looked like he had a long way to go to become a good college quarterback. After changing schools and playing for a very good coach, Blackman has made good strides and ended up performing the best of any quarterback at the combine, spinning the ball really well and consistently making throws. Blackman was named to the all-Combine team. Dayne Crist** from Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks had a slow start but by the end of the day showed why he will be a seeked prospect from the West. Darius Banks** out of Culver City led California in passing in 2006 and though he's on the shorter side (6-0), he threw the ball well. Richard Ragland from Venice also made some good throws.
From the running back spot, Jamal Womble** from Buena in Sierra Vista, Ariz., who we saw at the B2G Elite Football Camp last summer, had a good combine, also being an all-combine second team selection. Womble has a good body and if his speed gets to where his body is, could be a big time prospect. A fellow Cactus State native, Covaughn Doboskie, also out of Hamilton did a nice job as well. A couple of City Section prospects, Curtis McNeal from Venice and Milton Knox** from Birmingham, didn't get as many reps as others but when they did, looked good, especially Knox. Ashtun Williams from Carter in Rialto and Keola Antolin from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas stood out.
The class of the tight ends was Austin Holt** from Bingham in South Jordan, Utah. Last year, Holt was an unknown sophomore who burst onto the scene after an outstanding performance at the U.S. Army Combine and just missed being named to the all-Combine team. Then after going to the Scout.com Combine in Los Angeles, Holt was clearly the best one there in a field that include five upperclassmen who will sign next month. Holt will be one of the top 2-3 tight ends nationally next year and gave no reason to think otherwise after another good performance this weekend. Holt already has five offers and will likely get a lot more in the coming months. He has good hands, adjusts well to the ball and can still get bigger than his 6-5, 225-pound size. Mychal Rivera from Birmingham in Van Nuys had a nice day catching the ball and reminds some of Eric Brooks from Monrovia: not the biggest but catches well.
On the offensive line, Bryce Givens** from Mullen in Denver looked the best of Western prospects, moving his feet well and bending his knees. He just needs to add some weight. His teammate Jimmy Miller performed well though he's smaller than Givens. A.J. Wallerstein from Canyon Country may not have the height as many linemen but he plays with a nasty streak and more than held his own in the drills. Wallerstein is one of the better run-blockers in the state, as J.J. DiLuigi's season can attest, but with this combine focusing more on pass-blocking, he showed that he can do that too. Ryan Dannewitz from San Jacinto has nice size and good footwork and if he adds some more weight, can be a solid left tackle. Kevin Murphy from San Clemente is in much the same boat, needing some more weight but showing flashes. Daniel Bernard from Colton will definitely be an inside guy, most likely a center, and he never took any plays off.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jackson twins from Birmingham in Van Nuys both showed good potential. Malik Jackson** was on the all-combine team, very difficult to block coming off the edge as an end, showing good "get off" and he's very athletic with long arms, just a bit raw. His brother Marquis Jackson** showed good quickness and athleticism. Daniel Bernard from Colton is a thick shouldered kid with a good frame and moves well and though he worked some with the tight ends, he looks like a defensive lineman. Gregory Grimes from Inderkum in Sacramento and Je'Marcus Williams from St. Francis in Mountain View also did well despite lacking the ideal size of most defensive linemen.
From the linebacker spot, Kurt Magnum from Hamilton and Joey Searson from Carlsbad had some nice plays as did Reuben Willis from Mayfair. Beau Orth from Bishop Gorman also had his moments.
In the secondary, Robert Golden** picked up where teammate Courtney Viney left off a year ago, being the second player from Edison to be named to the all-Combine team in a row. Golden has good feet, breaks on the ball and reacts well and loves to compete. He began to take on challengers at receiver and got the better of them mostly every time. He had a couple of nice picks and made it difficult for the receivers to get off the ball.
Brandon Leslie**, a teammate of Golden's, is slowly coming back from a shoulder injury but was still physical though he looked like he's not all the way back from the injury. Corbin Brown out of Spring Valley in Las Vegas did well in the one-on-one's but he still needs to add some weight. Another Las Vegas native, Josh Jordan from Bishop Gorman definitely looked the part. Lamar Hughes is a bit undersized but it didn't deter him from going one-on-one with many big receivers and he loved to compete. Daniel Sorenson from Colton, who's been offered by Ole Miss, also had a good morning.
At last year's U.S. Army National Combine, several players from the West who would become standouts in this year's class participated.
Mitchell Schwartz, D.J. Holt, Matt Summers-Gavin and Sam DeMartinis came to San Antonio last January and next month will sign with Cal. Da'John Harris was named to the all-Combine team as a tight end and will sign with USC as a defensive tackle. Courtney Viney was also on that team and the cornerback will sign with UCLA along with Chris Forcier, who was part of a good quarterback contingent. Charlie Carmichael will sign with Oregon and Kerry Taylor with Arizona State, and both were in San Antonio a year ago. Other uncommitted prospects that were at the combine and who are highly regarded in this class include Kenny Rowe, Donvan Warren, Po'u Palelei, James Davis and Matt Masifilo.