The Home Depot Center has hosted numerous events, the California High School Football Championships, the MLS All-Star Game, the Women's World Cup and the San Diego Chargers Football Camp amongst others, where the talent on site was bubbling over.
So Sunday could have been considered just another day at the office. But the Los Angeles Scout.com Combine wouldn't be looked at with a ho-hum attitude as the collection of elite prospects on hand coupled with the numerous other D-I prospects easily was the most talented group of prospects Scout.com has ever had assembled for a combine.
Several of Scout.com's Top 100 prospects nationally, and many more from the West 100 and Southwest 100 congregated amongst a group of 285 participants.
Because of the turnout, we named both an Offensive and Defensive MVP and an overall MVP.
Matt Kalil, the top offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com out of Servite in Anaheim, won the Offensive MVP while Damien Holmes, the defensive end from Colton just edged past Craig Noble from Taft in Woodland Hills and Kurt Mangum from Basha in Chandler for Defensive MVP.
Covaughn Deboskie, the elite running back prospect from Hamilton HS in Chandler earned Overall MVP honors, the second straight year an Arizona native has earned MVP honors at the Los Angeles Scout.com Combine (following Everson Griffin who won it a year ago, en route to ending the year as Scout.com's National Player of the Year and #1-ranked prospect in the class of 2007.
Here is a recap of the day.Quarterbacks
The knock in the West this year is that there is no real super-talent at the position like there was a year ago with Jimmy Clausen, Aaron Corp or Chris Forcier. But the depth at the quarterback spot is far deeper than it was a year ago and this was evident on Sunday.
Familiar names from the class of 2008 like Nick Crissman from Edison, Dominique Blackman from Carson, Ryan Griffin from Chaminade, Scott Burgett from Centennial in Peoria, Kevin Prince from Crespi, Darius Banks from Culver City, Brennan Price from Air Academy in Colorado Springs and Ryan Katz from Santa Monica all had solid days passing the ball and showed why each of them are receiving interest from all over the West.
And some prospects who have spent the past few years handing the ball off to elite running backs also emerged. Matt Scott, who has teamed with Ryan Bass the past few years at Centennial HS in Corona had an excellent showing, throwing the ball well and with zip and he has a polished throwing motion. Scott also tested extremely well, running a 4.58 forty and jumping 34 inches. Adam Barry from Moorpark HS should have a big year passing with the Musketeers going to the spread this fall and he has a nice strong arm and good delivery. It's the second time we've seen Barry this spring and both times he's thrown the ball well.
Other standouts in the class of 2008 included Robert Fuller from Arroyo in San Bernardino (who set a CIF-SS record by passing for 604 yards in a game last fall), Travis Harvey from Morningside in Inglewood (who picked up his first offer a week ago), Richard Ragland from Venice, Graham Wilbert from Valencia and Blake Schembri from Chapparal in Scottsdale.
The class of 2009 in California should be loaded at the quarterback position and a few prospects in that class had good days. In fact, Tim Ganton, the Scout Combines quarterback coach said that Tate Forcier, the sophomore out of Scripps Ranch, was the top quarterback on Sunday. Last year, Forcier came as a freshman and earned rave reviews after fashioning one of the strongest arms there. He just happened to be overshadowed by his older brother Chris, who was the all-combine quarterback. This year, Forcier emerged from his brother's shadow, showing off a cannon arm and a fluid motion.
The top running back according to Scout.com, Darrell Scott from St. Bonaventure, had very little to prove on Sunday. Holding between 30-40 offers from all of the major programs in the country, Scott didn't really need to show much since it's no secret he is an elite prospect. Before the testing started, he said that people questioned his speed and he wanted to answer it once and for all. Scott clocked a 4.38 in the forty his first attempt then bettered that with a 4.32. Consider the questions answered.
The only thing keeping Scott from being the frontrunner for Combine MVP honors was that he left after he ran the forty. That opened the door for Covaughn Deboskie from Hamilton in Chandler to run away with it, which he did literally. Deboskie ran a 4.38 in the forty himself and then in the drills and the 1-on-1's, flashed good moves, good hands and the speed he's known for. Deboskie also mixed it up and took some reps at receiver to get more chances at the ball. He's an excellent receiver out of the backfield and showed it on Sunday.
Jamal Womble, a fellow Cactus State native followed up his strong performance in San Antonio with another good day, earning all-combine honors. Womble is a powerful runner so a combine setting isn't always the best place for a runner of that style to show his stuff, but Womble didn't mind, testing well (running a low 4.5) and flashing good moves and cutback in the 1-on-1's.
One of the top running backs in the state as a junior and an all-state selection is Derrick Coleman from Troy in Fullerton and though he hasn't drawn the attention that he should, yet, Coleman looked very good on Sunday. He could end up as a fullback in college, a fullback who can run and catch and not your classic, strictly blocking back. Coleman has very good size and definitely looked the part.
Some of the other running backs we liked were Lawrence Doss from St. John Bosco, Jack Sula from Carson, Mike Ball from Desert Pines, Dumauris Thomas from Jurupa Valley, Josh Adams from Corona, Dante Potter from Mission Hills and Luckas Scott from Mesquite. In the 2009 class, Vincent Minor from Etiwanda and Quincy Bagsby from Green Valley stood out.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Coming into the day, Redlands East Valley's Chris Polk and Crenshaw's Kemonte Bateman were the headliners, both a pair of four-star prospects and committed to USC (Polk) and UCLA (Bateman) respectively. And though neither did anything to disappoint and both showed why they are so highly touted, the player who really stepped out was Geno Munoz from Mount Tahoma in Tacoma. Munoz caught everything thrown at him, made the tough catch and battled with the DB's all day. He played physical and with a swagger.
Marvin Jones from Etiwanda was the most decorated of the California receivers as a junior, beating all of them out for first team all-state honors and on Sunday he showed that he's a legitimate big-time prospect. Jones has a quick first step and gets off the ball quick. He catches very well and has good moves and a quiet confidence. With a handful of offers, it won't be a surprise to see that number elevate this spring.
Robbie Boyer from Mater Dei looked bigger physically than we expected him to and he looked very good in the drills and 1-on-1's. Boyer has very good hands and reminds us a bit of Sean Wiser, the Stanford-bound receiver from Oaks Christian in the class of 2007. Playing at Mater Dei, it's no surprise that Boyer was one of the most polished players we saw on Sunday as the Monarchs have long been known for their discipline and being well-coached under Bruce Rollinson.
Lamont Enyard is a big, physical and tough receiver from Oceanside and we loved watching him matchup with some of the bigger corners, as he used his size to his advantage and made it difficult for the DB's to jam him. Jake Muasau from Buena in Sierra Vista caught the bell well and he too looked very good physically, using his strength for his benefit. Alonso Agwuenu from Chino Hills had a strong day on Sunday as did Kevan Walker from Arcadia, who didn't test so he could rest an ankle injury but performed admirably in the 1-on-1's. Antwon Moutra from Culver City was battling a nagging foot injury but when he went (often with teammate Darius Banks throwing), he did well. A.J. Pickens from Don Lugo is a gifted athlete and he too stood out on Sunday.
Morrell Presley from Carson worked with the receivers much of the day, though he plays tight end for the Colts and he has the swagger, the hands and the ability to get open to make him one to watch in the class of 2009. His quarterback, Dominique Blackman, has been talking him up for weeks and Pressley surely did not disappoint.
Two other sleepers we liked on Sunday were Chris Abraham from Monroe and Keenan Smith from Carson. Both have very good size and both caught the ball well and showed good separation in the 1-on-1s.
Other receivers who caught our eye were Mike Cummings from Chapparal in Scottsdale, Marcel Posey from Centennial in Corona, Ryan Simpson from St. Bernards, Darious Hooker from Arroyo in San Bernardino, Ryan Berry from Santiago in Corona and Laron Taylor from Washington Prep.
D.J. Shoemate, the top receiver prospect in the West from Servite, attended the combine but didn't work out as he's cautiously coming back from a foot injury that sidelined him for most of his junior year. The five-star prospect who committed to USC, though, looked very good physically.
At tight end, it was no surprise that Austin Holt had the best showing on the day. Holt, from Bingham HS in South Jordan, is one of the elite prospects at the position and has been one of the best players we've seen at any combine in the last two years. Last year, Holt overshadowed a strong contingent of older tight ends to earn all-combine honors and did the same thing in San Antonio in January. Despite giving a commitment to BYU, several schools from around the country are still doing their part to recruit Holt.
Much as Holt did a year ago, Levine Toilolo from Helix made a splash as a sophomore. Toilolo has tremendous size and strength and has the tools to be an elite prospect at the position in the class of 2009. He looks similar to Joseph Fauria, though he's still on the skinnier side. Mychal Rivera from Birmingham in Van Nuys had a good showing on Sunday as well, flashing good hands.
Matt Kalil from Servite is the top offensive tackle prospect in the country, in a strong year for tackles, and on Sunday, everyone wanted a piece of him. Kalil easily took on the most reps from the offensive lineman and though he was winded from the constant barrage of defensive lineman, Kalil showed why he's the premier player at his position nationally. Damien Holmes and Craig Noble each got him, but otherwise, Kalil neutralized them in other reps and everyone else he went against. You could tell he was getting tired, both from the constant reps and from the talking from the defensive lineman, but he would get in there and quietly shut guys down. A day after his brother Ryan was drafted by the Carolina Panthers, Kalil basically sealed his standing as the elite tackle prospect in the country.
Following Kalil was Daniel Bernard, a tough, nasty lineman from Colton. A Texas native (his nickname is Big Tex), Bernard loved mixing it up and earned kudos from both the offensive and defensive line coaches for his toughness. Bernard was always the first one through the drills and constantly encouraging his fellow lineman.
Zack Schlink is the top offensive lineman in Arizona and though he looked uncomfortable working at left tackle, the minute he switched over to his more natural rightside, he dominated. Schlink has good hands and quickness.
A.J. Wallerstein from Canyon is one of the best pure guards in the West and he more than held his own in the 1-on-1's. Wallerstein is very technically sound and while he has a mellow demeanor, he plays mean.
Vaughn Dotsy is one of the biggest lineman we've seen in years, but for his size, he's actually pretty athletic. Dotsy measured in at 6-4, 355, and then promptly timed a 5.3 forty, better than a couple of quarterbacks. He has good feet and is very fundamentally sound, a product of good coaching at St. Bonaventure. He only did a couple of 1-on-1's, before taking a hand to the face that sidelined him with a major nosebleed.
Kevin Graf from Agoura will be one of the premier players in the class of 2009 regardless of position and he earned all-combine honors after having a strong showing in the 1-on-1's. Graf is physically very impressive and has excellent bloodlines (both his brother and father played on the offensive line at USC) and showed he'll be one of the top tackle prospects next year.
Another impressive underclassmen was Steve Trujillo from Cathedral, who's performed well at just about every camp or combine he's been to this spring. Trujillo came to the Scout Combine a year ago as a freshman and wasn't intimidated but looked even more comfortable this year. He'll be one to keep an eye on next year too.
Other lineman who stood out were Zach Ilse from Doherty, Chris Snyder from Eaglecrest, Matt Ross from Chaminade, Matt Hunt from Carson, Darren Koontz from Los Alamitos, Derek Bickford from Hart, Uaita Emosi from Norwalk and Andrew Melton from Verbum Dei.
Two of the candidates for the Defensive MVP came from the linemen in Damien Holmes from Colton and Craig Noble from Taft. Holmes got the nod based on his overall performance on Sunday (he tested better than Noble), but while Holmes was already a household name, Noble put the finishing touches on a big weekend for him with an excellent performance that should skyrocket his stock.
Both Holmes and Noble went up against Matt Kalil and were the only two to beat him in a 1-on-1, but they made life miserable for the other lineman they went up against. Holmes has such a quick first step and he's got good strength with a frame that could get even bigger. Noble had received most of his accolades as an offensive tackle, playing opposite Oregon-bound Darrion Weems but he showed that his future is clearly on the defensive line, with good strength and quickness himself. On Friday, Noble committed to Washington so Sunday's performance was a good way for him to end a memorable week.
We first saw Carlton Hudson in the fall playing for Crenshaw and he made his mark after he ran down a running back 50 yards down field. On Sunday, Hudson again flashed some good quickness and toughness. Lavon McCoy, another City product from Washington Prep, rivals Vaughn Dotsy for massiveness and McCoy too showed his athleticism, running well in the testing and using his size and quickness in the drills. McCoy could play on either side of the ball, but defensive tackle is where he wants to play.
Datone Jones, the four-star prospect from Compton, admittedly didn't have his best showing on Sunday, but he showed flashes in the drills. He only did some of the testing, wanting to rest a minor leg injury. Ottis Jones from Leuzinger is quickly making a move himself and should start seeing offers roll in after another strong performance on Sunday.
Zeb Togiai from Desert Vista made his presence known in the drills and he had some swagger and some nastiness to him as did Derek Bisgard from Saguaro. Jacob Densley from Centennial and Curtis Cunningham from Columbine both showed well.
At every position, a sleeper emerged but none stepped out more than Kurt Mangum did at linebacker. Playing out of position at defensive tackle as a junior, Mangum is moving to his more natural linebacker position for his senior season at Basha. On Sunday, he showed that it should be an easy transition. His play was the first thing that caught the attention of the linebacker coaches and he stood out there on the day. He looked good in coverage, not giving up a reception and physically did well. Nursing a leg injury, he decided to still run a forty, though he had not planned to, and ran a 4.69.
Maurice Simmons is the top weakside linebacker in the West and on Sunday he did nothing to change that opinion. For Simmons, the highlight of Sunday was clocking a 4.41 forty, a personal best.
Patrick Larimore committed to UCLA on Sunday on the heels of a good showing at the combine. Larimore is more of a run-stuffing linebacker who probably would be better in a game setting with the pads on and running backs coming through the line of scrimmage but he showed very well, playing well in space and an ability to cover.
Brandon Magee from Centennial in Corona missed part of last season with an injury but when he played, he wreaked havoc. On Sunday, he clocked a 4.5 in the forty then followed it up with a good day in the 1-on-1's. Like Simmons and Larimore, Magee's strength is in his ability to hit and tackle, neither which he was allowed to do during the combine. But he showed good cover skills and good instincts. His teammates at Centennial, Shelly Lyons and Jerry Hardeman also showed well.
Donovan Carter from Birmingham is one of the better middle linebackers in the West and he just missed the all-combine team. But he had a good showing though he'll probably get some ribbing from his teammate Mychal Rivera, Birmingham's tight end, who reached over him for an acrobatic catch in the 1-on-1's.
A few of the other linebackers in the class of 2008 who stood out were Earnie Sagiao from Edison, Damion Whittington from Norco, Reuben Willis from Mayfair, Sean Kurtz from Canyon in Anaheim, Iona Pritchard from Bingham, Garrett Sherwood from Faith Lutheran in Las Vegas and Nick Greco from Arvada West.
From the 2009 class, Marquis Simmons, Maurice's younger brother, had a strong performance himself. Called by many, including most of his family, the best of the Simmons brother, Marquis clocked a 4.61 in the forty then went out in the drills and looked good. He will be one of the elite prospects nationally next year.
Another 2009 prospect to watch is Todd Golper from Arcadia. Sidelined from the testing with a minor back injury, Golper shook it off during the drills and more than held his own. Golper could also be a fullback at the next level.
At the Scout Combines, for entertainment value alone, the defensive back group is the most fun to watch. Seeing coach Don Cox get into it when he's coaching, and watching the players respond to it is well worth it. He demands excellence and the intensity of his style brings out the best in the players.
On Sunday, the usual suspects, Robert Golden from Edison and Anthony Dye from Santiago, had solid days but Cox said that the guy who left a strong impression on him was Andrew Abbott from Mater Dei. Abbott was in lockdown mode all session and played with passion during the 1-on-1s.
Meanwhile, Golden and Dye showed why they are clearly the top two corners in the West. Dye ran a personal best 4.38 in the forty, answering any questions about his speed and he and future rival Chris Polk (who's committed to USC), had some good battles in the 1-on-1's. Golden ran a 4.52, his best time at a combine and despite being rode constantly by Cox (who remembered Golden from a year ago), answered.
Of course, Edison didn't just have one player stand out, the DB factory had two more prospects who Cox raved about. Cliff Harris, a 2009 cornerback for the Tigers, made the all-combine team and Cox said he was the best sophomore he's seen out West this year. Harris is similar to his teammate Courtney Viney, who was the top DB last year at the combine, in that neither is very big, but both have excellent cover skills. The other Tiger to do well on Sunday was Tim McDonald Jr., another 2009 prospect. The son of the former USC and NFL player of the same name, McDonald was one of the top safeties there and physically is one of the bigger DB's that Edison has produced, but with two more years to grow. Another son of a former NFL player of the same name was Marcus Turner from Cabrillo in Long Beach, who also had a nice day.
Corbin Brown had one of the best L-cone shuttle times of anyone there, clocking a 6.89 and he too had a good day in the secondary. Anthony Young from Colony in Ontario will be one of the featured prospects in the Colony secondary replacing Omar Bolden and he showed why he'll be a key for them next year. Eric Hicks from Norco, an all-league pick for the Cougars, physically looked very good and he too ran a 4.38 forty. Ahmad Wood from San Pedro looked good in coverage and in the footwork drills.
Other standouts in the secondary included Brandon Jiminez and Dominic Sheppard from Mount Tahoma, Austin Daniels from Muir and Lenyatta Kiles from Culver City.
Video Highlights from Scout.com Combine (ScoutTV is free with the Total Access Pass)
RB Darrell Scott --
OT Matt Kalil --
LB Maurice Simmons --
QB Ryan Griffin --
CB Anthony Dye --
CB Robert Golden --
DL Craig Noble --
Programming Note: For a recap of the Los Angeles Scout.com Combine, tune to FSN Prime Ticket on Thursday, May 5th at 10:30 p.m. for the "High School Spotlight" Show.