California Forty For 2007

California will have plenty in reserve in 2007, with one SoCal school being the newest goldmine for college recruiters.

In looking at the top 40 players from California in the class of 2007, it's a tale of tradition, as several of the perennial powerhouses are loaded with top recruits already pining for next year's Signing Day.

Yet it's a school that wasn't even around in the 1990's that will have the biggest impact on recruiting for the next 12 months.

Not since the "Poly Five" has one school dominated the Southern California recruiting landscape like Westlake Village Oaks Christian will in the class of 2007.

When Long Beach Poly had Marcedes Lewis, Winston Justice, Darnell Bing, Herschel Dennis and Manuel Wright in the class of 2002, it was one of the most talented crops of recruits from one school.

Oaks Christian is picking up five years later with the top two players in the West calling the ever-growing school home.

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen and running Marc Tyler are a big reason why the Lions have yet to lose a game since both became starters as sophomores. Add in defensive back Marshall Jones and defensive lineman Duke Lemmens plus another 3-4 regarded prospects and it will be easy to see why Westlake will be a must-see city by college choices.

But in a state known for trend-setting, it's the traditional juggernauts that continue to church out top prospects

Long Beach Poly will be led by defensive end Kenny Rowe, the top defensive linemen in California and cornerback Donovan Warren, one of the top defensive backs to come out of a school that is no stranger to them.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame has elite offensive tackle Sam DeMartinis and safety Shane Horton that stand out from this year's class, which should continue with a talented class of 2008 waiting in the wings.

The City section had one of its most talented groups of prospects in recent memory in 2006, led by running back Stafon Johnson and athlete C.J. Gable. Taking over the reigns as the top prospect this year will be Los Angeles Crenshaw running back Raymond Carter, who helped lead the Cougars to the City Section title in 2005. On the losing end of that game was Woodland Hills Taft linebacker Malcolm Smith, the top defensive player in the City, and the younger brother of USC receiver Steve Smith. Joining those two in a continued resurgence from the city is Palisades offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz and Los Angeles Dorsey linebacker Robert Mullins.

Other prospects from L.A. County include Compton Dominguez running back Brandon Johnson, Los Angeles Verbum Dei defensive end Akeem Ayers, Gardena Serra tight end Da'John Harris, Encino Crespi defensive end/linebacker D.J. Holt, Lancaster Paraclete lineman Cory Yriarte and Valencia running back Shane Vereen.

Orange County features the top defensive player in the state in linebacker Chris Galippo of Anaheim Servite. Galippo got his recruitment done with quick, committing to Pete Carroll and USC on Signing Day. Orange Lutheran has the best quarterback not named Clausen in Southern California with strong-armed Aaron Corp returning. And in the trenches, Huntington Beach Edison has offensive tackle Martin Coleman and linebacker/safety Hunter White calling the school home.

The Inland Empire was where the state's top prospect in the class of 2006, Allen Bradford, resided. Colleges will be back there this year to scope out Fontana Kaiser defensive end/linebacker Chris Carter and Redlands East Valley quarterback Ronnie Fouch.

The group from Oaks Christian will get most of the publicity, but Ventura County, quietly turning into a fertile ground for college players, has a trio of players who will be ones to watch. Defensive tackle Tonio Celloto (Simi Valley Royal) is the son of former USC and Oakland Raiders player Mario Celotto. Defensive tackle Tyrone Duncan should be more comfortable with Westlake this fall after coming over from Burbank. Running back Malachi Lewis from Oxnard Rio Mesa rounds out the group.

San Diego is home to the top receiver in the state, Marques Simas and elite tight end Nate Chandler. Both will continue to catch passes for Mira Mesa, though with the departure of QB Mike Coughlin to Boise State, who they will be from remains to be seen. Speaking of quarterbacks, Chris Forcier from St. Augustine, the younger brother of Michigan QB Jason Forcier, returns after being the sectional player of the year.

Central California has its own share of elite talent, headlined by the state's top defensive back, Courtney Viney. The Fresno Edison star is another in a long line of gifted Cougar cornerbacks. Bakersfield has a prospect from each side of the ball, Justin Cheadle on the offensive line and Phillip Thomas in the secondary. David Ausberry was the best receiver in the central part of the state last year, and this year Merced receiver Carter Todd will hold that honor.

Venturing north, two schools that have been turning recruits out the past few years are back at it. Concord De La Salle features cornerback Lonnie Wishom and Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds touts running back Willie Griffin in a never-ending surplus of elite prospects. Stockton St. Mary's offensive lineman John Nisby is the regions top big man while Sacramento Grant has a pair of stud defenders, defensive end Christian Tupou and linebacker Terrance Pritchett. Richmond Salesian running back Jahvid Best and Palo Alto defensive tackle Fred Koloto also stand out.

Just a small sampling from a state that produces year after year.


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