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March 25, 2006ANAHEIM, Calif. - Anything Texas can do, California can do it better.
Up until Saturday's Rivals.com Junior Day at Anaheim Servite, the junior day at Southern Methodist University in Dallas had been considered the benchmark of the six-stop tour.
But that changed as around 260 of the top players in California - including 30 plus players that already have scholarship offers - filled the gym to learn more about the recruiting process.
Five members of the pre-evaluation period Rivals100 were on hand at the event, including Antwoine Baker of Los Angeles Jordan, Raymond Carter of Los Angeles Crenshaw, Chris Galippo of Anaheim Servite, Kenny Rowe of Long Beach Poly and Markques Simas of San Diego Mira Mesa.
Simas said the trip from San Diego was worthwhile - even for heavily recruited players.
"I was impressed with the talk about how it is like when you get to college," Simas, who measured at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, said.
"It was a real eye opener to hear about how hard the practices are, how you have to go to class and study hall and how important things like the training table is."
The talk that Simas is talking about came from Derrek Uhl, a former all-WAC tight end and graduate assistant at Colorado State. Uhl focused on the day-to-day life of college prospects and gave the recruits advice on what they should be prepared for both mentally and physically when they arrive on campus.
Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure coach Jon Mack also spoke and talked to parents and players about leadership and what it takes to be a great person both on and off the field.
"Coach Mack's talk was pretty motivating," Rowe said. "He had some great quotes, and I learned how to be a better leader."
The event wasn't limited to top 100 prospects, as there was plenty of star power all over the place.
All five of the national recruits more than looked the part. Each one passed the eyeball test with flying colors and they matched up quite well with their reported heights and weights.
Baker, a lockdown cornerback, came in at 6-foot-0 and 171 pounds. Rowe, a stud defensive end, was 6-2 and 216 pounds. Carter, an elite running back that just committed to UCLA, was 5-11 and 187 pounds.
The Rivals100 prospects weren't the only blue-chip recruits on hand. There was plenty of star power there to make a college recruiting coordinator drool.
Some of the other big-time players with offers already on the table included:
Servite offensive lineman Garett Pendergast (6-3, 272), Baldwin Park athlete Aaron Harris (5-8 ?, 171), Monrovia tight end Eric Brooks (6-1, 240), Verbrum Dei defensive end Akeem Ayers (6-2, 214), Norco offensive lineman Adam Tello (6-3 ?, 270), Dorsey linebacker Robert Mullins (5-11 ?, 191), Torrey Pines kicker and Boston College commitment Billy Bennett (6-1, 191), Monrova running back James Davis (5-8, 180), Camarillo kicker Bryan Anger (6-3 ?, 189), Crespi defensive end D.J. Holt (6-0 ?, 241), Diamond Ranch running back Aubrey Haynes (5-9, 211), Upland tight end/defensive end Devin Mahina (6-6, 223), Ponderosa receiver Ryan Love (5-9 ? and 167), Dominquez cornerback David Ross (6-0, 174), Santa Monica receiver Cameron Collins (6-2, 205) and Dominquez running back Brandon Johnson (5-9, 184).
Even some of the top juniors-to-be in Southern California made it out to the event. Servite teammates D.J. Shoemate (6-0, 207) and Matt Kalil (6-6 ?, 260) looked great, and Corona Centennial defensive back Brandyn Magee passed the eyeball test at 5-11 and 209 pounds.
Rivals.com will have more coverage of the Anaheim Junior Day throughout the next week, including profiles and updates on many of the top players in attendance.