Stockton Trio a Hot Commodity

Running back Lynell Hamilton and wideouts Rueben Jackson and Lavelle Hawkins have a lot of college coaches on their tails. Hamilton starting his trips this weekend, with first one to Pac-10 school.

It wasn't a good night for Edison High of Stockton, Calif., running back Lynell Hamilton last Friday.

The power-packed 6-1, 200-pounder suffered a hip pointer in the second quarter of his team's game against St. Mary's and it bothered him greatly that he had to watch the second half as a sideline spectator.

"I've never had that injury before," Hamilton said afterward. "I tried to play, but I couldn't run with the ball in my hands. It was very hard to turn (my body)."

Fortunately for Hamilton, the rest of his teammates were healthy as the Vikings improved to 5-0 with a 17-14 triumph over the Rams.

Two of those teammates, senior wide receiver Rueben Jackson and junior wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, figure to be as actively recruited as Hamilton, and Hawkins was especially strong with 10 catches for 144 yards, including a spread-eagle, diving catch for a touchdown.

Hamilton's stock as a major college prospect shot up drastically after the Stanford Nike Camp last spring. He was ranked among the top five running backs in the West according to the Student Sports/Sporting News High School Football annual and his recruitment has been fast and furious.

"It's been cool and I've been dealing with it," Hamilton said. "I'm starting my trips next weekend (Oct. 18-20). The first one will be to Oregon."

Hamilton added that he has not finalized any of his other trips, and it could be in any direction around the nation. One scholarship offer has reportedly been made by USC, but the Trojans are not alone.

"I've had a million offers," he said. "I just don't know yet about narrowing it down."

USC does have a track record of landing players out of Stockton, most recently cornerback Kevin Arbet (now injured) and current San Francisco 49ers linebacker Frank Strong.

Jackson and Hawkins are first cousins and joked it would be fun to someday go up against each other. Both are receivers, but both also play defense. Hawkins had a key interception in the game last Friday to preserve Edison's victory.

"If he goes to Miami, maybe I'll go to Florida State," Hawkins said. "That would be sweet."

According to Jackson, who has been ranked among the top receivers in the West, Miami has offered him, too. "So have a bunch of others," he said. "San Diego State, Oregon and Oklahoma have been the hottest on the phones right now. I don't know where I'm going to trip yet."

Hawkins figures to have similar offers on the table next year. He said his diving catch vs. St. Mary's was not the best or most memorable he's ever had.

"Not even close," he said. "I had to get one reaching behind my back once. I love making those kind of plays."

Some have ranked Long Beach Poly's Derrick Jones as the top junior receiver on the West Coast. Hawkins may not be as fast as Jones, but he's much better catching the ball and he's got better moves after he catches it.

The Edison trio, though, may not get to prove themselves in the postseason even if their team runs the table and goes 10-0 in the regular season.

A league committee recently ruled that the team committed several infractions over the summer -- one was an illegal practice and another involved undue influence -- and the punishment doled out was to bar the Vikings from the Sac Joaquin Section playoffs.

The school's principal and the team's head coach, Booker Guyton, have vowed to fight that part of the ruling and both have said publicly they think their appeal will prevail.

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