Five to Watch in California - Issue #2

Five to Watch
California, 2001

Issue #2:  Linebackers

With the 2001 season looming in the not too distant future, we continue to look at five prospects to watch at each position.  This is not and end all, be all list.  Rather, we are taking into consideration a player's performance in 2000 and their coach's assessment of the player as a prospect.  Stop number 2 is the linebackers:

1.  Pasha Jackson, City College of San Francisco (6-3 , 235)
     Lance Mitchell, City College of San Francisco (6-3, 240) 
- I realize I cheated by naming two players as one, but CCSF's pair of returning starters at linebacker are on pace to be two of the most highly recruited linebacker in the state.  As freshmen in 2000, both Mitchell (Los Banos H.S., CA) and Jackson (Tennyson H.S., Hayward, CA) were starters from day one en route to winning the 2000 junior college national championship.  Now, with a year under their belts, both will be big time players for the Rams in 2001.  CCSF head coach George Rush could not put one ahead of the other in terms of ability.  He explained that nearly every university that came through in the Spring was interested in both linebackers.  They are both very physical players, in addition to being fast and strong.  Both are good students, especially Jackson (the son of a college professor).  Neither should have a problem making it academically to the next level.  

Lance Mitchell

2.  Chad Kalikimoku, Santa Ana College (6-0 1/2, 240) - Hawaii native and Roosevelt High School graduate Chad Kalikimoku was one of the most impressive linebackers in the Mission Conference as a freshman in 2000.  Although he originally signed with Missouri Valley State University out of high school, Chad did not play there and decided to transfer to Santa Ana, where he was reunited with several of his high school teammates who played at Santa Ana.  His decision appears to have paid off.  Many universities are showing interest in the fast and strong inside linebacker.  According to Santa Ana coach Dave Ogas, Kalikimoku bench presses 475-pounds.  At the Southern California Combine, Chad ran a 4.79-forty and a 4.11 shuttle!  He tied for the top score among linebackers by bench pressing 225-pounds 28 times!  He was a first team All-Mission Conference Central Division player as a freshman and will certainly be among the state's best in 2001.      

 3.  Joey Barnes, Foothill College (6-1, 230) - Its tough to argue with a linebacker that was named first team All-State in California as a freshman, but that is what Joey Barnes did.  A graduate of Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, Barnes made an immediate impact at Foothill as a freshman.  He racked up 130 tackles during the course of the season, 98 of which were solo tackles!  He recorded two interceptions and scored two touchdowns.  He runs very well, with a forty time between 4.6 and 4.7.  In addition, Barnes is a solid student.  He was a qualifier coming out of high school and will be able to transfer mid-year.  We expect Joey Barnes to pick up right where he left off in 2000.   

4.  Danny Urquhart, Los Angeles Southwest College (6-4, 250) - Easily one of the state's largest linebackers, Danny Urquhart had a huge freshman season for the Cougars in 2000.  In addition his size, Urquhart's speed is significant, having been timed between 4.5 and 4.6 in the forty.  He was a first team All-Western State Conference selection following a freshman season in which Urquhart was the heat of the L.A. Southwest defense.   A graduate of Washington High School in Los Angeles, Urquhart originally signed with the University of Oregon out of high school in 1999.  However, he did not qualify academically.  He should be a major player for the Cougars in 2001 and highly sought after by many universities.  

Danny Urquhart

5.  Marco Chavez, Palomar College (6-3, 240) - Marco Chavez was one of the most dominant linebackers in the Mission Conference in 2000.  His combination of speed and size made him an ideal linebacker in a conference known more for passing offenses than for strong ground games.  He was selected as a first team All-Mission Conference Central Division linebacker following the season.  A graduate of St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, Chavez is an outstanding student to compliment his ability on the field.  He should be a force for Palomar in 2001 and be recruited by a number of I-A universities.  

Fai Leomiti, Southwestern College (5-11, 230)
- Although Fai Leomiti isn't as tall as your "ideal" linebacker, he makes up for his lack of height with great speed and strength.  He runs a 4.65-forty and spends a lot of time in the weight room.  He had a big freshman season for the Apaches (now know as the "Jaguars"), earning All-State Region III honors in addition to being named as the Defensive Player of the Year in the Foothill Conference.  He helped the Apaches' defense hold their opponents to an average of 74 yards rushing per game.  In addition to leading the Apaches in tackles in 2000, Leomiti also recorded four interceptions.  A graduate of Sweetwater High School in National City, California, Fai Leomiti is definitely one to watch in 2001.

Fai Leomiti

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