Breaking Down the Top 101 JC Players

Every year in recruiting circles the hype is around blue-chip prep prospects. Many fans perceive junior college transfers as throw-ins or added bonuses to a recruiting class. But recruiting coordinators and more knowledgeable fans know different. Many JCs in a recruiting class will step right in and make an immediate, positive impact on offense, defense, or special teams. The JC Top 101 is a list of players who we expect to make a splash at the next level.

Every year in recruiting circles the hype is around blue-chip prep prospects. It often seems that junior college transfers are considered throw-ins or added bonuses to a recruiting class by a great many fans. But savvy recruiting coordinators and truly knowledgeable fans know different. It's no secret that many JCs in a recruiting class will step right in and make an immediate, positive impact on offense, defense, or on special teams. The JC Top 101 is a list of players who we expect to make a splash at the next level.

It is no easy task to rank America's top 101 junior college football prospects because there is so much talent. We could potentially list well over 200 athletes, who will sign 1A letters of intent in either December or February. But through a careful process of evaluations - which began over a year ago - we have come up with a great list.

In 2002, there are outstanding wide receivers, defensive ends, safeties, and defensive tackles. Additionally, there several tremendous running backs one or more of whom could have an impact on their team like former Butler County CC running back Rudi Johnson had with Auburn in 2000. By the way, he was drafted early in the second round of last year's draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Going through the JC Top 101 list  you will likely recognize names of kids who were prep All-Americans a couple of years ago but didn't have all the academic pieces to move on. Many, like defensive end Mondre Dickerson (Coffeyville CC) signed with Tennessee but didn't qualify. The same can be said for offensive lineman Brandon Lockheart (Santa Monica College) who signed with Washington -- and many others.

Additionally, there are a large number of bouncebacks, who are kids who signed and played at four-year schools but transferred back to junior colleges.

Not all junior college blue-chippers were of elite status in high school, however. Take offensive tackle Clint Werth (Garden City CC) for example. He was a not-ready-for-prime-time player in high school but was a near 4.0 student and had a great frame and desire to excel. After a two year at GCCC he is an All-American and committed to Colorado. So there are many players at this level who were late bloomers -- and excellent students -- who used JCs to hone their skills and help them earn a scholarship. 

You may be curious about a few omissions, too.

This list does not include athletes who have more or less run out of 1A eligibility, which can happen in a number of ways. We call these 'clock' kids and they usually will opt to play D2 for two years versus the one they could have at a 1A school. On occasion you will see a 'clock' kid go 1A, such as wide receiver Chad Johnson who signed with Oregon State out of Santa Monica College in 2000, but it's relatively rare.

Additionally, we have excluded a number of athletes who will not have the academics to play at a 1A school -- according to one or more reliable sources. We hope, of course, that some of the kids in this category will find a way to get 1A eligible prior to fall of 2002. But for now they are not on this list.

The JC Top 101 is full of thoroughbred athletes, who are being recruited by the likes of Tennessee, Washington, Miami, Nebraska, Texas, and other BCS-ranked teams. Here's a position-by-position breakdown of the top talents and what makes them special.


California is home to two of the top junior college quarterbacks in the nation this year. Andy Goodenough (6-4, 210) is a two year starter who has led his Palomar Comets to a 7-1 record so far this season. He ran a 4.65 forty last May at the SoCal combine and displays excellent accuracy and a strong arm. Through seven games he was 163-248 for 1,961 yards with 19 TDs and 6 INTs. Several D1 schools would like his services, including Iowa.

Playing in the same Mission Conference as Goodenough is Pasadena CC quarterback, Nathan Chandler, who is a bounceback from Texas Tech. At 6-7, 240 pounds, you would think Chandler isn't very mobile, but he has about 200 rushing yards so far. Chandler has thrown for 1,725 yards and 18 TDs for a team that just lost its first contest of the year, too. He has acquired all those yards despite only playing a half in most games. Recruiting attention is coming from Mississippi State (RTH), San Jose State, Iowa, and others.

In addition to athletic ability both Chandler and Goodenough are of great character and possess excellent leadership skills.

Running Backs

There are so many fine junior college running backs this year, so it's hard to rank them. But we know one of the finest is Butler County CC (Kans.) tailback, Ronald McClendon (5-9, 185). McClendon, who was recently named the Jayhawk Conference Offensive MVP, has his choice of colleges next year. There were rumors that he committed to Ole Miss, but he could now end up at either Nebraska (12/6 trip), Arkansas, or Tennessee (tripping for Vanderbilt game). He may be a running back now but the future could see him playing wingback and returning kicks. McClendon is an explosive player and magical things happen when this former prep All-American has the ball. It should be noted that McClendon missed a handful of games with an injury and that he shared time with Jermaine Green (6-1, 220), who is another JC Top 101 running back.

Ronald McClendon
141 car. for 1,033 Yards
11 Touchdowns

At Butte College in northern California there is a running back named Chris Bruhn. After high school Bruhn, who is 6-3, 215, signed with Washington State but failed to qualify. As a freshman last year he backed up All-American Marty Johnson (Utah) but lit the world up every chance he got. This year, despite playing behind a freshman dominated line, Bruhn has been near the top of the state's rushing stats with 135 carries for 783 yards and five TDs through six games. It may take him until summer to get his AA, but that hasn't stopped some good programs from calling. Put Washington State in the mix since they're looking for a JC tailback and signed Bruhn out of high school.

Wide Receivers

You can't write an article about junior college football prospects without mentioning a number of CC of San Francisco kids. This year's JC Top 101 list has a good number of them on it, including dominant wide receiver Princell Brockenbrough. At 6-3, 205, he has the height to go up and make the big catch. And he has the speed and other intangibles, too. You won't find him among the state stats leaders because CCSF spreads the ball around to so many fine receivers, but he is very legit. The Virginia native is rumored to be favoring North Carolina.

WR Princell Brockenbrough

While Brockenbrough is good, it's possible that NW Mississippi's Durrell Robinson (6-2, 200) is even better. Last year he was playing as a freshman at the University of Georgia, so you know he's talented. This season the former prep All-American is arguably the top player in Mississippi junior college football. Ask any coach in the conference to name the top player in the conference and Robinson's name pops out -- quickly. He finished the regular season with 46 catches for 846 yards and ten touchdowns to lead all receivers in the conference.

Tight Ends

There is only one tight end on the list this season and it's Fresno City College's Aaron Austin (6-5, 255). He is playing for one of northern California's top JC teams and has all the tools to be an instant starter at the next level. Right now it looks like Austin will play for Tennessee, Alabama, or Washington.


TE Aaron Austin

Offensive Linemen

There's always a place standout offensive linemen at four year universities. 

One lineman to watch is Dixie State (Utah) offensive tackle, Ron Green. He looks every bit of 6-6, 300 pounds and has amazingly good feet, speed (5.0), and long arms. The New Jersey native was recruited by South Carolina, Maryland, and Boston College out of high school but academics were a problem. But not anymore. After nearly two years at Dixie the big man is on track to graduate in spring and is lining up January visits. Vying for his services are South Carolina, Georgia, and NC State. Green would like to major in computer programming.

OT Ron Green

And our top rated offensive lineman is Santa Monica College tackle, Brandon Lockheart, who signed with the Washington out of Dominguez HS in southern California. He was the real deal two years ago and he's even more real now! The 6-7, 330-pounder made first team All-Conference as a freshman and is up for re-election in 2001. A number of schools are very interested, including Tennessee, Oregon State, Southern Cal, Auburn, and others. Lockheart, who is a spring grad, will probably take his five trips before committing. 

Chaffey College (Calif.) lineman Brad Lekkerkerker (6-7, 300) is one of the nation's best lineman and could and would play anywhere in the nation if he didn't have clock problems. He's also an excellent student and will perhaps move on to the NFL after finishing at a D2. Named to the All-Foothill Conference first team after his freshman season.

Defensive Linemen

Ryan Boschetti (6-4, 285) is the top interior defensive lineman in California and as good as any in the nation.  A great student (3.5; full qualifier) and solid football player at Carmont High School in Belmont, California, Boschetti went largely unnoticed and did not receive any scholarship offers coming out of high school. Determined to be a football player, though, he enrolled at College of San Mateo and buckled down. Boschetti added weight and strength during a grey-shirt year and then became dominant during his first season on the field (2000) earning All-Conference and All-State honors. He plays in the Golden Gate Conference against great competition, including 1A feeder school City College of San Francisco and Foothill College. Boschetti was offered a scholarship by the University of Indiana during the Spring, but decided to return to San Mateo for his sophomore season rather than play three years for the Hoosiers.  Now, schools all over the country are expressing a huge amount of interest in him. In addition to most Pac-10 schools, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Colorado State have all been hot on Boschetti's trail.

DT Ryan Boschetti is the most dominant defensive lineman in California.

A couple of other kids to keep an eye on are Dixie State's Scott Young and SW Mississippi's Demarcus Johnson. The latter is 6-4, 285 and can be very dominant. Johnson reportedly has offers from top tier SEC schools such as LSU, Alabama, and Auburn. Meanwhile, out in Utah, pre-season All-American Scott Young, who is 6-5, 305, did not disappoint. We saw him play recently and he is the real deal. At times he bullied a Ricks College offensive line with several 1A caliber players and plays with great emotion. The big man with the mohawk haircut visited Southern Cal (unofficial) last spring and is also considering BYU, South Carolina, and several other prominent colleges. 15.5 sacks on the season and counting.

Defensive Ends

Coffeyville CC has been a two-year home to former high school All-American defensive end Mondre Dickerson. At 6-4, 265, Dickerson has the prototypical body that big-time division one programs look for.  "He is athletic. He ran a 4.58 forty for us at 265 pounds. He's really starting to come into his own. Probably one of the smartest football players on our team as far as football knowledge," said his coach. Dickerson was recently named first-team All-Jayhawk Conference after having a tremendous sophomore season. He even recorded 6 sacks in one game this year! He signed with Tennessee coming out of high school and he is still committed to them -- and they to him. The Volunteers are happy that Dickerson is on track to graduate in December.

DE Mondre Dickerson is heading back to Tennessee.

Monte Parson (pronounced: Mon-tay), who is 6-3, 270, plays for Los Angeles Harbor College. He is literally a man among boys having four years in the Navy after high school (Carson HS) in Los Angeles. Although Parson was somewhat raw last year after the long layoff he still made All-Conference. His head coach attributes the success to Parson's coachability. "Monte looks the part and plays the part. And everything is 'yes sir, no sir'," said his coach. Extremely physical and a master of the weight room. Hasn't missed a session of any kind in two years at LA Harbor. "A coach's dream." Being recruited by Washington, Florida, Nebraska, USC, Oregon State, Texas A&M (offer), Iowa State (offer), Cal (tripped 10/13). December grad (3.6 GPA) with a redshirt year available.


The sophomore class of 2001 is loaded with excellent inside linebackers, so it's particularly hard to pick one as being the best. 

Leading the pack, though, are probably SW Mississippi outside linebacker Kelvin Morris and CC of San Francisco inside linebacker Lance Mitchell.

At 6-4, 225, Morris is well suited to play off the edge. "He's good enough to go straight to the NFL," said his head coach recently. And all of the opposing coaches we spoke with cited Morris as one of the league's most dominant players. Morris signed with Clemson out of high school and is all set to go there once he finishes business at SMCC. He's a very gifted athlete, who was also an MLB draftee while in high school.

Out on the west coast -- playing for the nation's number one team -- is insider linebacker Mitchell. The 6-3, 240-pounder, who was a non-qualifier out of Los Banos HS in California, earned his stripes starting as a freshman on last season's national title team and came back for 2001 as a very dominant player. Last season his coaches put him at strong-side backer last year but he's on the inside now, which is more natural for him. Great instincts and quickness.  Mitchell and several teammates already to Southern Cal and he will trip to Washington in a couple of weeks. A trip to Oklahoma is already set up, too. Mitchell will graduate in December.

LB Lance Mitchell stuffs the middle for CCSF.

It's kind of unfair to talk about Mitchell without mentioning his next door neighbor on the field, Pasha Jackson. At 6-2, 235, he's a near clone of Mitchell and is also getting all the recruiting attention in the world. Jackson, who is the son of a college professor, tripped with Mitchell to Southern Cal and is also tripping to South Carolina and Oklahoma. He was a qualifier out of high school and is an excellent student on track to graduate in December.

Perhaps the top corner in Kansas' Jayhawk Conference is Butler County's Taqiy Muhammad. At 6-1, 180, he has better than average height for a corner and despite being only 180 pounds he's a punishing hitter. South Carolina received his verbal commitment out of high school over Georgia Tech and Maryland, who had also offered. He has 4.55 speed and was a state high school 110-meter hurdles champion. Muhammad is a pure athlete that blossomed as a corner this season and recorded 44 tackles. The Gamecocks have still got a commitment from Muhammad.

CB Taqiy Muhammad made first-team All-Jayhawk Conference.

For pure athleticism at the corner spot it's hard to look past Eastern Arizona cornerback Walter Williams (6-1, 175). Opposing teams rarely throw to his side. He's a two-year starter, who improved dramatically this year in run support. "Incredible breakaway speed (4.4) and he's very elusive," said one coach. Originally from Florida. Getting looks from BYU (offered), Wisconsin, USC, New Mexico, and many others. Should get out in May.


Our choice for best safety in the nation goes to James McGill of Bakersfield College. According to one coach, McGill (6-3, 215) is the best player on a Renegades team that has some great talent. He signed with Fresno State out of high school and it's a sure bet that he'll be back at a 1A school next year. McGill has the size and intangibles to be dominant at the next level. And he runs a legit 4.5 forty. Both Arizona and Arizona State are recruiting him very hard as are Oregon State, Illinois, and South Carolina. McGill will graduate in June and have two years to play two.


S James McGill

Another 'clock' kid to mention is Glendale (Ariz.) safety, Eric Blackwell (6-1, 210). He was one of the only freshmen to earn All-American honors in 2000 and could repeat this year. Blackwell, who signed with Wyoming out of high school, is a big-hitter and vocal leader of the Glendale defense. Although Oregon State and a few other 1A schools are interested in him for one year, Blackwell will opt for two seasons at a division two school where he can earn a degree.



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