Mt. San Antonio Preview (Updated)

Every year some of the best JC talent in the country comes out of the Mission Conference. Few teams have cranked out better prospects than Mount San Antonio over the years. They've got some good ones again for 2007. We spoke with two coaches from the Mounties, who shared their thoughts on the talent. We've updated the preview to show several other players who will be standouts this fall.

Secondary coach James Kuk and offensive line coach Bobby Purcell, both of whom us at this year's SoCal Combine, are excited for the upcoming season.

"We're pretty young on offense this year," Purcell said. "We have a lot of guys who are just now getting a chance to show us what they can do so we need to see on quite a few of them, but we definitely have some talented guys.

Kuk commented on the defense and said that will be the strength of the team.

"Our secondary is really talented and we have some outstanding linebackers this year too," Kuk said. "Our top prospect is a defensive lineman who is pretty versatile so I think the defensive unit will help out the offense a lot this year as our guys on that side mature."

Here's a quick look at the players to watch in the fall, many of whom are garnering lots of attention from four-year programs…

DT Bernard Afutiti "He's our top guy this year I think. He's got a really high motor and he's super-quick. He plays with great leverage and he's just so quick he really causes problems for offensive lineman on every play.

"He's 6-0, 260, and he can play inside on passing downs and also move outside and play some strongside defensive end. He'd be a really good strongside defensive end at the next level, but he could put on some weight and play inside on an every-down basis.

"He's not a sheer pass-rush guy, but just a solid player who will really help a team when he gets there. Ohio State, USC, Michigan, all those schools and schools like them have called and asked for film. He's going to have a lot of offers."

DE Philip White - "He's extremely quick off the ball, can get around the edge in a hurry, high motor and intense pass rusher. He's a hard-nosed player that plays with a hunger and thirst for getting to the ball.

"He saw significant minutes as a freshman and we expect him to have a great sophomore year."

DE Roland Foumai - "Roland is a very strong anchor at the end position. He plays both the run and the pass effectively. He's a great compliment to the existing talent along the front four.

"He's very strong, quick, holds the point of attack and can play in 4-3 or 3-4 defenses. Starter as a freshman and we expect him to have an even better sophomore year."

LB Roderick Mackenzie "Talk about a stud. He's just a hitter and a pure football player. He loves violence. There were a couple of fullbacks whose legs just buckled when they took him on in the hole. Every time he was in on a collision, guys were going backward and it was just a very violent collision whenever he sniffed something out."

"He was all conference last year and we expect that much and more from him this season. He's got quite a few teams interested in him."

LB Andrew Lavea – "He's a transfer to us and he looks like a really good prospect. He's really athletic and he can play almost anywhere. He can rush the passer, stop the run and cover guys out of the backfield. We're definitely excited by his presence."

LB David Hautau "His given name is Tevita, but he goes by David. He plays the other outside linebacker spot for us. He's a returning player for us and we really like what he brings. He's really excellent in the weightroom and really all of our linebackers are weightroom warriors. They all put in the time necessary to be good in there."

CB Austin Carter "He's a bounceback from San Jose State and he's going to be a really good cover-guy. He's probably our best coverage guy already."

"He got a medical redshirt last year, so after this year he'll have two years to play two and he'll be an outstanding player at the next level."

"He runs a 4.5, but he plays a lot faster than that. He's going to be excellent in our system because we play a lot of different systems. We play quarters, match-up and a lot of cover-two and cover-three. We also play a lot of man. Teams like to recruit our defensive backs because they have so much experience with different coverage schemes."

CB Joe Smith - "A quick, technically sound, smart, savvy corner who understands defense and is expected to help lead the secondary for us in this fall.

"HE had a great game in the Beach Bowl vs Orange Coast and displayed his knack for finding the endzone.

"He contributed a lot as a freshman and should have a great sophomore year."

CB Andrew Swink - "Swink's extremely quick and a speedy cover-corner who can run hip to hip with the best receivers around. He played a big role in 2006. He saw significant action and we expect him to have a stellar sophmore year."

S Brandon Johnson "He's got a really interesting story. He was shot in high school and had to have a plate put in his head and now he's one of our best athletes on defense and he's overcome a lot."

"He comes from Pamona High School and he's really athletic. We play our safeties on either side of the field and not a traditional strong, free safety scheme so our safeties have to be able to both really well."

"I'd say he's more of a strong safety, that can come up and play the run in the box really well, but he's also pretty good matching up in coverage too. He can do almost anything on the field."

S Mike Williams "He's going to be a big-time guy for us. He came here as a quarterback and we moved him over to safety. We call him John Lynch because he's a guy out there who can really enforce against the run and really make receivers pay when they go up to catch the ball. He's like having another linebacker on the field."

"He's got a great understanding of what offenses are trying to do and he's really good at diagnosing plays and routes and things like that. We love him and he'll really push for time this year after the tough transition he's gone through."

S Sione Finau "He's probably a better rover and strong safety guy, but he can do either spot pretty well. He's a returning sophomore and a team captain so he's expected to help lead our defense and be a player that really makes it tough on opponents."

"All three of our safeties will rotate and battle for time. It's a nice problem to have with all three of those guys being so good."

On offense, Purcell has four very experienced players to whom he can look for a good drive, and he has a pair of athletically gifted bookend tackles.

OL Ula Matavo – "He's so athletic, it's ridiculous for a player his size (6-3, 310) to have that kind of athleticism. He can run and play in space really well and he can really move his feet well so he can shadow pass-rushers."

"He could play guard or tackle at the next level, but we're counting on him to have a big season for us."

OL Joe Tonga – "He's a guy with a great initial punch and he's such a hard worker. All of our lineman are hard workers, but he's the hardest worker of the bunch."

"His brother is Aaron Tonga and he plays at Utah. We think Joe could be an even better player than his brother."

"He's big (6-6, 305) and he plays right tackle for us, but he could play anywhere on the line. He's being recruited pretty heavily by Oregon State and their offensive line coach came down the other week and really watched him and said he liked him a lot."

OL Phillip Ramirez "He's probably my top run-blocker. He's set up to play guard right now, but with his size (6-4, 290) he could easily play anywhere and be successful."

"Phillip is very powerful and he'll be pretty highly recruited I think."

OL DeAndre Nichols "When you talk about players who can move on, DeAndre is a guy who comes to mind. He's so athletically gifted and he's a transfer from Delaware State. He went out there and then his mom got sick back here so he gave up a scholarship to come back and be close to her so he could help take care of her."

"He's a solid 6-3, 339 and he's just incredibly strong. He benches 225 pounds about 30 times and that's just amazing at his age."

"DeAndre likes to joke around and laugh a lot, but when it comes time to play and we put someone across from him it's all business and he gets this look on his face that is so intense it's scary."

K Jeremy Gener - "He led the Mission Conference in scoring in only 7 games as a freshman. Jeremy was instrumental in several key deciding games in 2006. He had clutch field goals in a triple overtime game vs the state champions -- El Camino College. Should remain a bright spot for our special teams in 2007."

Other Mt. San Antonio players to watch this year: TE Matt Carillo, QB Jacob Fadden, RB Aaron Tamanich, C Roger Hays and WR Eric Walker.

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