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Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Locals shine at Nike SPARQ combine

By Blair Angulo



LONG BEACH -- For under-the-radar players like Alex Kline, Saturday's Nike SPARQ Combine was about opportunity. The rising senior tailback out of Cerritos Gahr had nothing else on his mind.

"It can put you on the map," Kline said. "It can get you the looks you never thought you were going to get."

Kline made the most of it, posting impressive numbers in the annual event held at Veterans Stadium. He ranked fifth among 1,290 attendees with a 41-foot power ball toss, 24th with a 33.6-inch vertical jump and eighth with an overall rating of 100.41 -- a number that takes into account an athlete's speed, power, agility, reactions and quickness.

Kline, who has been contacted by San Diego State, Tennessee and Missouri, was the overall leader for much of the five-hour combine.

One of the bigger names to participate was Sherman Oaks Notre Dame running back Khalfani Muhammad, a local standout who has offers from UCLA, Oregon State and Washington. He finished 12th with a rating of 98.64.

"My name has gotten a little bit bigger than it used to be," Muhammad said. "Right now I do not have any favorite [schools]. I want to get a feel for what fits me best."

Alemany receiver Steven Mitchell, competing in his first SPARQ combine, finished 19th with a 94.62. Jordan Robinson, a running back at Chino Hills Ayala, was tops among all Southland athletes with a rating of 102.30.

"I feel like I did very well," said Mitchell, who already has 10 scholarship offers. "My group was a very competitive group, so that drove me to do even better."