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March 27, 2006

Sizing them up

DB Antwoine Baker

ANAHEIM, Calif. There were almost too many talented Division I prospects at this past Saturday's Rivals.com Junior Day at Anaheim Servite High School.  Of the 257 players in attendance at the event, almost all of them looked the part and definitely appeared to be legitimate prospects. However, there was a good handful of players that definitely passed the eyeball test.

DB Antwoine Baker, 6-0,171, Los Angeles Jordan

Baker looks the part of a lockdown cover corner, and some were a little worried about his weight, but he's been working hard this spring and he's now a solid 171 pounds. He hopes to be around 185 by the time fall practices arrive. With offers already on the table from Nebraska, Arizona State, Mississippi State and Washington, the pre-evaluation period Rivals100 selection was easily one of the top overall prospects at the Junior Day on Saturday. "I'm a smart, fast and aggressive corner," Baker said. "I'm a player that loves to compete."

RB Raymond Carter, 5-11, 187, Los Angeles Crenshaw

Carter came in a few inches shorter than first reported, but honestly it doesn't matter. There wasn't a more put together skill player at the event than Carter. The explosive Crenshaw rusher is already a member of the pre-evaluation period Rivals100, and he decided to end the recruiting process early - picking UCLA over offers from Arizona, Cal and USC. "I think Raymond has as much upside as any running back in the nation," Crenshaw offensive coordinator Eric Scott said.

DE Kenny Rowe, 6-2, 216, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

Rowe continues the long, long, long line of stud defensive players for the Jackrabbits. Rowe, another pre-evaluation period Rivals100 selection, looked trim and in great shape in street clothes. He more than passed the eyeball test and seemingly had a great time at the event hanging out with Carter, Baker and several other of the elite prospects. Rowe already has offers from teams like Ole Miss and Oregon on the table.

WR Markques Simas, 6-2 , 200, San Diego (Calif.) Mira Mesa

Actually it was Simas' stud teammate, tight end Nathan Chandler, that was expected to show up at the Junior Day, but the appearance by Simas was an exciting one. Decked out in a red and black San Diego Padres hat, it was clear by looking at Simas that he was something special. He measured in right on the nose at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, and it's easy to see that he more than passes the eyeball test. With early offers from Colorado, San Diego State, Boise State and a host of others, Simas is also a pre-evaluation period Rivals100 selection.

OL Garett Pendergast, 6-3, 272, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite

Troy Thomas, the coach at Servite, bragged Friday afternoon about Pendergast and said once people see him in person, they'll know he's a big time player. Pendergast, who already has an offer from Washington on the table, definitely passed the eyeball test, and measured in at 6-foot-3 and 272 pounds. He has a lean frame that still will have plenty of room to grow into. Look for his stock to continue to move up the charts throughout the spring evaluation period.

OL Adam Tello, 6-3, 270, Norco, Calif.

At each Junior Day across the nation, there are always new names that tend to pop up almost out of nowhere. Adam Tello is a name that hasn't been talked about a lot when the discussion has been about the top offensive linemen in California, but he definitely looked the part on Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder already has an offer from New Mexico State and is getting attention from teams like Utah, Hawaii and Southern Cal. If his film matches his looks, then look for his name to become more familiar during the spring.

DB David Ross, 6-0, 174, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez

Ross rivaled Baker for the most physically impressive looking defensive back at the event. Ross, who was a very solid 6-foot and 174 pounds, had a great frame with a lot of lean muscle. It's easy to see why Arizona, Washington and Oregon have already offered him and teams like USC, UCLA, and Texas are recruiting him heavily. "I talk to mess with people's head," Ross said. "Once I get in, I lock them down and they never get open."

RB Brandon Johnson, 5-9, 184, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez

Johnson should be one of the better smaller running backs in Los Angeles County in 2007, and some are calling him one of the best overall rushers in all of the nation. Johnson rushed for 1,500 yards and 25 scores as a junior, and then rushed for 251 yards against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the CIF Division III title game. Johnson already reports offers from Oregon, Arizona, Washington and Oregon State and also likes USC, UCLA and childhood favorite Miami.

DE Devin Mahina, 6-6, 223, Upland, Calif.

BYU was the first to offer the 6-foot-6, 223-pound Mahina, who could project at both defensive end and tight end in college. His frame still could use some filling out, but once it does, look out. When it does, Mahina doesn't plan on letting anything slow him down. "My goal is to become a great person on and off the field. I want to use my competitiveness in every day life to succeed." Oh yeah, he's also an Eagle Scout, so you know he'll be prepared for the next level.

ATH Aaron Harris, 5-8 1/2, 171, Baldwin Park, Calif.

Harris was a little smaller than he was first reported, measuring in at 5-foot-8 1/2 and 171 pounds. Still he does have a sturdy and strong looking frame that should allow him to get by for what he does. Harris is a jack of all trades for Baldwin Park. At running back, he could be special on the next level. At cornerback, he could also be a success. It doesn't matter either way honestly, because with offers already on the table from UCLA and Washington and heavy interest from others like Cal, Colorado, Michigan State, Oregon, Oregon State and Southern Cal he'll find a spot somewhere.

LB Robert Mullins, 5-11 1/2, 191, Los Angeles Dorsey

You have to respect somebody when they show up all decked out in a killer black and red Scarface jacket. Mullins, a killer on the field at linebacker for Dorsey, measured in right at 5-foot-11 1/2 and 191 pounds. Arizona and Ole Miss have already offered him a scholarship, and plenty others are in line to after the spring evaluation period. The linebacker plays inside in high school but with his speed and size look for him on the outside in college.

DE Akeem Ayers, 6-2, 214, Los Angeles Verbum Dei

You should hear what his coach has to say about this California sack master. Ayers looked great at 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds. With a frame that has plenty to build on, it's easy to see why teams like San Diego State and Arizona jumped on board early with scholarship offers and teams like UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Florida State and others are heavily recruiting him early. "He's an explosive player with a great first step," his coach said. "We haven't played a team yet that could block him, he really is unstoppable coming off the edge."

LB Darnell Reeves, 6-1, 235, Riverside (Calif.) Arlington

Reeves is another name that not a lot of people know about yet, but seeing him in person it's easy to believe that he'll be a heavily recruited prospect. With a great frame that has impressive muscle tone and solid height, he looks the part of an aggressive defensive end that likes to get after the quarterback. "That's my job," Reeves said, "I like to go get the quarterback and make him pay." If his tape matches his frame, then he might be a steal for somebody.

DE D.J. Holt, 6-0 1/2, 241, Encino (Calif.) Crespi

Holt is one of the players that you want on your team. He might not be flashy. He might not be the most vocal player around, but what he does do, he does it well. The 6-foot 1/2, 241-pound defensive end/linebacker is a two-time all-CIF selection and he already has racked up an offer from Nevada. He's also getting major attention from UCLA, USC, Miami, Arizona State, Notre Dame and LSU. After seeing him in person on Saturday, it's easy to see why people from coast-to-coast like him.

TE Eric Brooks, 6-1, 240, Monrovia, Calif.

Brooks, who plays tight end and defensive end in high school, definitely looked the part and has the body of a Division I prospect. Brooks says he's a good receiver at tight end and is hoping to improve his blocking this summer. Still he's talented enough to earn his first scholarship offer from Colorado State. He's also getting regular attention from UCLA, BYU, Arizona, Oregon State and Cal.

K Billy Bennett, 6-1, 191, San Diego (Calif.) Torrey Pines

It's rare that you say a kicker passes the eyeball test, but that was the case for Torrey Pines kicker Billy Bennett. After picking up early offers from Arizona State, Kansas State, San Diego State and UTEP, Bennett ended the process early by committing to Boston College. From the looks of it, the Eagles not only got a heck of a kicker, but also one good looking athlete. Bennett provided Rivals.com with some highlight clips, which are sure to make BC fans smile with excitement because this kid is something special.

RB Anthony Wright, 5-11 1/2, 183, Compton, Calif.

More than 20 players from Compton High showed up at the event, including several highly touted underclassmen. But the star pupil from Compton was a shy guy named Anthony Wright. With early interest from people like Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, USC and UCLA, Wright looked the part coming in at 5-foot-11 1/2 and 183 pounds. With several of his teammates cheering him on, Wright did several interviews with Rivals.com, something that was kind of tough for guy with a shy personality. But Wright might want to get used to the attention, because he's about to get plenty of it.

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