While there are usually strength in numbers, many of the top universities settled for just two or three JC players, in most cases veterans of 20 to 22 college contests, who can either step right into a starting slot or be counted on as a vital contributor. Case in point would be University of Southern California's national champions. Pete Carroll's recruiting crew took just three JCs, but all three were J.C. Grid-Wire first-team All-Americans. Linebacker Ryan Powdrell, Saddleback, safety Scott Ware, Santa Rosa and tackle Duce Lutui, Snow, should be important cogs in the Trojan 2004 warhorse.
With Temple's days as a Big East competitor drawing near to a close, coach Bobby Wallace followed up a slick 2002 JC haul with another loaded batch of JC standouts. Two J.C. Grid-Wire first team All-Americans and four more players who commanded first team All-Conference honors came aboard the Owls' nest. Running back Tim Brown, CC San Francisco, and Palomar place-kicker Ryan Lux, were the All-Americans. Earning All-Conference honors were Antwon Guidry, CC San Francisco, as a receiver and return specialist, teammate Lloyd Talakai at defensive tackle, Lester Shelton, wide receiver from Reedley, and Andrew Turner, defensive back from Arizona Western. They join a host of former JC lads including QB Walter Washington and WR Phil Goodman, holdovers from 2003.
Utah State landed running back Emmanuel Marc, who led the nation in rushing yardage in 2003 with 1769 yards and scored 17 TDs at Hudson Valley. RB Marcus Crawford should provide some bulk since he is 6-1, 215 and he is joined by College of Canyons teammate Kevin Jones, a slick DB.
BYU nailed down two wide-receivers from California runner-up Grossmont, when All-American Todd Watkins and his sidekick Joe Griffin, signed with Mick Denehy's Aggies. They also landed All-American linebacker Justin Luettgerodt from Foothill and cornerback Eddie Scipio from Hancock, along with second team AA Vince Feula, defensive tackle from Cerritos.
San Diego State quarterbacks should feel much safer with tackles Chris Pino and Taylor Schmidt, both from Palomar, backing them up. Purdue is counting on Pima transfer Brian Hare to provide some bigtime spark at wide-receiver. Texas A&M took six JCs, four of them outstanding linebackers. Butler County's Lee Foliaki, Compton's Aaron Brown, and another fine one, Terrence Smith from Northwest Mississippi. San Francisco wide-receiver DeQwan Mobley could be another Robert Ferguson for the Aggies.
Texas Tech is another university that made a great haul in the JC department. The Red Raiders picked up four players from Reedley, including QB Robert Johnson and a pair of defensive linemen who should fit right in, Brett Bischofberger, All-American from Butte and Fresno's Deke Bake. North Carolina State took just one JC transfer, but they love the prospects of Merci Falaise, 6-4, 320 tackle from Georgia Military in their lineup.
We will have much more on the JC signings, more complete analysis in a couple of days. Suffice to say that many JCs will be making their marks on the four-year front in 2004.