April 19, 2007

DB jumps to Underclassmen record

After a fantastic morning session at the NationalUnderclassmen.com Showcase, could the level of talent actually get even better during the afternoon session? A number of players definitely made a case for this, including Overall MVP, sophomore Usua Amanam of Bellarmine College Prep, who turned in a dominating performance.

Amanam, a 5-foot-8 and 160-pound defensive back, was exceptional during the combine events, individual drills, and 1-on-1's. His combine results produced the top vertical of the day, 36 inches, a new Showcase record for the broad, 10'5.5", the second fastest 40 of the day, 4.46, and the second fastest shuttle of the day, 4.21. Amanam is impressive in all phases of the game and should develop into a top recruit.

Even though Amanam was the most impressive, two other defensive backs also left their mark on the event. Sophomore Tim Gilmore, 5-foot-6 and 163-pounds, of Glen A. Wilson High School in California received the Fastest Man Award after running a 4.45 40. Along with his 40 time, which was the fastest of the day, he also had a 34.5 inch vertical, 27 reps at 150-pounds, and a 9'3" broad. The DB MVP went to sophomore A.J. Cruz of Santa Margarita High School in California, who proved to be a lockdown cornerback all day long. At 5-foot-8 and 175-pounds, he also had a 35-inch vertical, 9'9" broad, 4.49 40, 4.26 shuttle, and 15 reps at 150-pounds.

Two freshmen running backs proved to be the best at their position during the afternoon. The Freshman MVP went to Ramon Buie of Long Beach Jordan High School. Even though Buie only measured in at 5-foot-4 and 132-pounds, he possessed an impressive 29-inch vertical, 9'2" broad, 4.62 shuttle, and 4.79 40. But his combine numbers only tell half the story, as his speed during the 1-on-1's, his ability to blow past people, change direction, and catch and run with the ball, proved his complete dominance among the freshmen. The other freshman RB who definitely impressed was Cory Westbrook of Long Beach Poly. Westbrook, 5-foot-9 and 175-pounds, possesses a smooth running style and powerful legs, which should lead him to big things in the future. He also had a 28.5 inch vertical, 4.68 40, 4.51 shuttle, and 8'3" broad.

The WR/TE MVP went to sophomore Darrin Duncan of Victor Valley High School in California. Duncan is a great athlete, with a 30-inch vertical, 10' broad, 4.26 shuttle, 4.55 40, and 16 reps at 150-pounds, but he truly stood out because of his amazing hands and great routes. Just missing out on the MVP award was sophomore tight end Levin Toilolo of Helix High School in California. Toilolo looked the part of a D1 tight end from the start, and at an impressive 6-foot-7 and 238 pounds, his future is very bright. Aside from his size, he proved to be a great athlete with 17 reps at 150-pounds, a 4.63 shuttle, 4.87 40, 27-inch vertical, 8'8.5" broad, and 129 inches on his jump reach, which set a new Combine record. Toilolo may still be a raw talent, but he is definitely a player that every college program should take a close look at.

The race for the Quarterback MVP was too close to call, so two players ended up going home with the award. First up is super smooth sophomore Joe Southwick, 6-foot-0 and 168-pounds, of San Ramon Valley High School in California. Southwick showcases perfect technique, a great release, phenomenal touch, and can also put some zip on the ball if necessary. He was accurate on every pass and also has great command in the pocket. During the combine events he had a 28-inch vertical, 4.68 shuttle, 4.77 40, and an 8'3" broad. The other Co-MVP went to sophomore Austyn Carta of Bellarmine College Prep, who possessed the strongest arm of the day. He can throw the ball 60 yards with ease and also drilled the ball to closely defended receivers. He also finished with a 26-inch vertical, 8'3.5" broad, 4.86 40, 4.40 shuttle, and 21 reps at 150-pounds. A special mention also goes out to sophomore dual treat quarterback Jeff Butler of Los Gatos High School in California. Butler still needs to fine tune his passing game, but his potential seems unlimited. He finished with a 32-inch vertical, 9'3" broad, 4.45 shuttle, 4.72 40, and 21 reps at 150-pounds.

The Offensive Line MVP went to sophomore Bryan Gabbard, 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds, of Centennial High School in Arizona. Gabbard still has to fill out his frame, but he has great potential, foot speed, strength, and agility. He had 11 reps at 185-pounds, a 25-inch vertical, 8'5" broad, and a 5.32 40.

The top performer on the defensive side of the ball was likely Linebacker MVP John-Michael Davis of Santa Margarita High School. Davis, 6-foot-0 and 215-pounds, didn't allow a pass reception all day long by a running back, and to further prove his athleticism, he went over to the offensive side of the ball during 1-on-1's to work out with the wide receivers. He is smooth, strong, and fast, and he could develop into one of the top linebacker prospects in the Class of 2009. During the combine events he finished with a 34-inch vertical, 10' broad, 4.59 40, 4.61 shuttle, and 33 reps at 150-pounds.

And finally, two defensive linemen stood out throughout the event. Winning the MVP was speed rushing sophomore Jared Koster of Norco High School in California. Koster, 6-foot-1 and 205-pounds, must continue to grow, but he already has the speed to be a D1 player. If not, a move to the outside linebacker position would also make him a force on the defensive side of the ball. He finished with 13 reps at 185-pounds, a 4.69 40, 4.68 shuttle, 8'6.5" broad, and 33-inch vertical. Anchoring the interior defensive line was sophomore Carlos Martinez of Oxnard High School. Martinez, 5-foot-10 and 282-pounds, is a bull of a player, who is quick and strong. He proved his strength by totaling 21 reps at 185-pounds, plus running a 4.95 shuttle, 5.20 40, and jumping a 25-inch vertical.

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