Five to Watch in California - Issue #3

Five to Watch
California, 2001

Issue #3: Offensive Lines

With the 2001 season looming in the not too distant future, we are going to begin 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.

For the offensive line, first we will look at the five top offensive line units (teams). Then, we will look at five individuals that we expect to do very well in 2001.

Teams

1. Cerritos College (Mission - North) - The Falcons are blessed to have one of the largest and most physical and experienced offensive lines in JC football. Jake Chavira (6-3, 290) was a first team All-Conference tackle as a freshman in 2000. He is joined by a group of fellow sophomores who saw significant playing time in 2000. Jason Lehman (6-3, 330) was a solid starter at right guard in 2000, as was right tackle Raymond Kelso (6-6, 300). Center Lloyd Wilson (6-2, 310) didn't start in 2000, but he came on in relief of sophomore Aric Galliano due to injury on several occasions and did very well. Clint Dato (6-5, 340) has gotten into much better shape than that of last season and should contend for a starting spot. Throw into the mix Fordham bounce back Tom Robinson (6-3, 315) and the Falcons are loaded on the O-Line.

2. Palomar College (Mission - Central) - Playing with primarily freshman on the offensive line in 2000, the Comets were able to finish 10th in the state in total offense (435.7 yards per game). From that group, tackle Damien Holman (6-6, 310) and guard Gerald Sykes (6-2, 295) made first team All-Conference. Holman was also first team All-Region IV. Add to that transfer tackle Ryan Morris (6-6, 285), a second team All-Western State Conference tackle at Glendale College and you have a pretty stout O-Line. Also, Ronnie Stewart (6-3, 275), who was slated to start in 2000 before redshirting, is expected back for the Comets.

3. Chaffey College (Foothill Conference) - The Panthers are big, mobile, and physical. The Panthers return two first team All-Foothill Conference offensive linemen in tackle Brad Lekkerkerker (6-7, 300) and guard Howard Brissette (6-5, 305). Lekkerkerker is an NFL prospect according to coach Carl Beach. However, clock problems will prevent him from going Division I. Brissette is very strong and has great feet; a definite D-I prospect. Cory Lekkerkerker (6-5, 285), brother of Brad, is slated to start at guard. Although he was a part-time starter in 2000, he will be a full time starter this season. Starting center Jonathan Bailey (6-2, 285) also returns, giving the Panthers four major players on the O-Line. The fifth surely isn't far behind.

4. Santa Rosa Junior College (NorCal Conference) - The Bearcubs return five players from their 2000 offensive line that helped lead SRJC to some great offensive success. The best of the bunch is Kawika Edwards (6-6, 310), a big tackle with good feet and great pass protection. At the other possible tackles are Solomon Terry (6-6, 275), a very athletic tackle and Justin Nixon (6-6, 320), a very strong tackle with good feet. The returning guard is Jeff Corda (6-3, 285), a tough and strong interior lineman. Center Blake Basherini (6-3, 290) is a talented center and doubles as a long snapper. All five linemen attended high school in the immediate Santa Rosa area.

5. L.A. Valley College (Western State Conf.) - A combination of outstanding returning players and some great transfers will make L.A. Valley's offensive line among the best in the state. Randy Cornejo (6-4, 305) returns from the 2000 squad, as does Nick Monsanto (6-3, 260) and Hector Mariscal (6-1, 285). Curtis Bolden (6-4, 305) was a second team All-Conference player at L.A. Pierce last season and joined coach David Banuellos in moving over to L.A. Valley. Ashworth Barnes (6-5, 350) is a bounce back from a Division I-AA university. The Monarchs appear to be in great shape for 2001.

Sleeper
Modesto Junior College (Valley Conference)
- The Pirates return the entire offensive line from the 2000 season in which MJC went 7-4 and averaged 389 yards of offense per game. Tackles Ryan Souza (6-3, 305) and Randy Lamberth (6-4, 285) are strong with good feet. Both are projected at I-A players. Center Anthony Benevidez (6-1, 290) was solid in 2000. The guards, although undersized, were very sturdy in 2000. Left guard Jose Salgado (5-11, 250) and right guard Abraham Arana (6-0, 250) did well for the Pirates in 2001.

The Modesto Starting Five

Five Additional Individuals to Watch

1. Brandon Lockheart, Santa Monica College (6-7, 330) - Easily one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the state in 2000. Lockheart will likely be one of the lost highly recruited offensive tackles in California. His combination of size and athleticism will make him a hot commodity in 2001. Native of Los Angeles.

2. Scott Lee, Butte College (6-4, 285) - After a strong season at Yuba College in 2000, Lee transferred to nearby Butte College after seeing the number of players that Butte sends on to major universities. Lee has worked hard in the off season to be the anchor of a rebuilding offensive line at Butte. He has the size and strength to be dominant in 2001. Native of Hawaii.

3. Tim Fa'aita, City College of San Francisco (6-2, 300) - One of two returning guards from the 2000 national championship team at CCSF, Fa'aita is rumored to be the best of the bunch at CCSF this season. He is very strong and physical and will likely be a force for the Rams this season. Graduate of Jefferson High School in Daly City, California.

4. Juan Leyva, Hartnell (6-6, 285) - Leyva was an outstanding tackle a Gonzalez High School, with strong academics to boot. However, he was overlooked by many universities because they questioned his size (weight) and athleticism. Also, Leyva believed he was an defensive lineman at the next level. After a freshman season in which Leyva was the most dominant offensive lineman in the Coast Conference, he has accepted that he is an offensive lineman and is working hard to be at the top of his game in 2001.

Juan Leyva

5. Trevor Hutton, Allan Hancock (6-2, 290) - Hutton was a major prospect heading into the 2000 season. However, a knee injury in game two brought his season to an early close. He was able to receive a medical redshirt and immediately went to work on rehabing the knee. A yeat later, Hutton is ready to go and will be the anchor of the Bulldogs' O-line. He can play both center and guard for the Bulldogs and will certainly be sought after in 2001. Click here for related story.

Trevor Hutton

Sleeper
Paul Dolinsky, Canyons (6-1, 275)
- Although slightly undersized by many division I standards, guard Paul Dolinsky projected by the Canyons coaching staff as a D-I caliber player. Indeed, Dolinsky had an outstanding season as a freshman in 2000. He was a first team All-Conference player as a freshman and with a team that is expected to be among the best in Southern California in 2001, he will definitely receive the looks he deserves.


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