Scout Combine Preview: Defense

The defensive side of the Los Angeles Combine will be loaded with talent Saturday, including five-star safety Sean Parker, linebacker Josh Shirley, and defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli, all top UCLA targets...

There will be some considerable defensive talent on display Saturday at the fifth annual Combine in Los Angeles.

The same combine that introduced eventual #1-ranked player Everson Griffen and his stellar performance in Los Angeles in 2006, had 26 players selected from the 2007 combine to the three major All-American Games, and has become one of the most loaded stops on the Combine tour, kicks off at Los Angeles Harbor this Saturday.

As always, it is at full capacity and no walk-ups will be accepted.

We take a look at some of the defensive players expected to show their wares on Saturday.

Defensive Line

The place where you can expect to see the most talent is on the defensive line. Whether it's on the ends or inside, there is talent galore.

Inside, Ricky Heimuli, the four-star defensive tackle from Utah, will be coming out from the Beehive State and will look to cement his status as one of the elite tackles nationally. Joining him inside is George Uko from Chino (Calif.) Don Lugo, who was an all-Underclass selection last spring. Kirifi Taula from Anaheim (Calif.) Servite has a slew of offers and is one of the tackles we're most excited to see. Wesley Flowers is a versatile end/tackle from Fresno (Calif.) Edison.

On the outside, there will be plenty of talented ends, led by Ronald Powell, the Scout Top-50 member from Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley. He'll be flanked by some more talent from the Inland Empire, like Tony Washington from Los Osos High in Rancho Cucamonga.

Eddie Plantaric is making the trip from Sacramento and the three-star end out of Del Campo High will be joined by another three-star end, Hroniss Grasu, from Encino (Calif.) Crespi.

Other defensive ends to watch include Donald Jackson from Compton, Jordan Thomas from Redlands, Marcus Howard from Inglewood and Rakeem Yates from Fresno Edison.

Two underclassmen who caught our eye a year ago will both be back in defensive tackle Antwaun Woods from Woodland Hills Taft and Sam Meredith from La Mesa Helix.


There will be a good collection of linebackers on hand, and several players we're anxious to see in this setting.

The headliner at linebacker is Josh Shirley, the four-star from Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser who is also going to see some time with the defensive ends. Shirley had a monster junior season coming off the edge, but he's a versatile and good enough athlete that he could play linebacker in college. He impressed us in March at the Badger/Scout 7on7 Passing Tournament in coverage.

Right after Shirley is Victor Burnett from Culver City, the fast-rising middle linebacker who just picked up an offer from Oklahoma this past week. Burnett was one of the more productive tacklers in the state a season ago.

Brent Williams from Woodland Hills Taft is similar to Shirley, in both may not have the ideal size to play end, but both are explosive off the edge. Williams will get in time with both the ‘backers and the ends on Saturday.

Coming down from the Bay Area is Anthony Pohahau from Wilcox High in Santa Clara, who also had a great showing in Vegas, and fellow Silicon Valley native Rufus Wolokolie.

Some under-the-radar guys to watch include Bronson Green from Los Angeles Loyola, Chryre Anderson from Las Vegas, Julian Evans from Taft in Woodland Hills, Josh Lowden from Monrovia, Rashad Rainey from Riverside North and Erick Kendle from Torrance.


The past few years have seen some of the best corners in the country come through the Los Angeles Combine and this year is no different.

Demetrius Wright from Corona, Joshua Shaw from Palmdale and Troy Hill from Ventura St. Bonaventure are three of the best cover corners in the West and all three will be in attendance on Saturday.

Wright and Shaw have been on fire this spring, landing offers from all over the country, while the proof has been in the production for Hill, who's anchored the two-time state champs' secondary the past two summers.

Meanwhile, Derron Smith (Banning), Bryan Douglas (Narbonne) and Joshua Mitchell (Corona Roosevelt), have numerous offers between the three of them. There will be some other quality corners in attendance who are looking for their first offers, like Los Alamitos' Shaquille Richardson, Ontario Colony's Jered Bell, Las Vegas Desert Oasis' Elijah Mitchell, and Rio Mesa's Enrique Thomas.


The top prospect in the camp will be Harbor City Narbonne safety Sean Parker, a five-star prospect by ranked in the top five nationally and the #4-ranked player in the West. We first saw Parker a year ago at our Los Angeles Combine and could see the star blossoming then. Since that point, he's racked up nearly 30 offers and become one of the elite prospects nationally.

Edward Dillihunt was one of the standouts in Oakland a year ago, and he's been busy the past few months, hitting camps all over the country. It's paying off for the Tulare product, who's been picking up a handful of offers.

Another player who did well last year as a sophomore was Tevin McDonald from Fresno Edison, who was an all-underclassmen pick a year ago. McDonald can play either corner or safety and could get reps at both positions on Saturday.

Lucky Radley, pound-for-pound, is one of the best athletes in the West. He could play running back or safety, but the Agoura product will work primarily with the defensive backs this weekend.

Anthony Brown from Corona Santiago is a weakside ‘backer/safety type who picked up his first offer this week from Minnesota.

Other safeties to watch include Robert Watson from Los Alamitos, Steven Bethley from Don Lugo, Chris Jones from Compton, Josiah Marshall from Compton, Junior Kaveinga from Leuzinger, A.J. Powell from Charter Oak and David Tavita from Paloma Valley.

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