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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: March 30, 10:58 AM ET
Nike combine tour hits Long Beach

By Brian Stumpf

Johnny Stanton
Dual-threat QB Johnny Stanton of of Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) is the rare signal-caller with the athleticism to compete with the best at a Nike combine.
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The 2012 Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour moves west on Saturday as venerable Veterans Stadium in Long Beach will host the 11th Nike combine of the 2012 tour. Five straight Nike combines have topped 1,000 participants and the run should continue on Saturday as players from California, Arizona, Nevada and beyond compete for a coveted trip to The Opening at Nike World Headquarters this July in Beaverton, Oregon.

Last year's Long Beach event produced the top SPARQ rating on the tour as Canoga Park (Calif.) wide receiver Randy Uzoma, who eventually signed with Nevada, posted a 130.26 and earned a trip to the inaugural The Opening. If the SoCal stop is going to produce the top rating for a second straight year, someone will have to go above the elite 141.12 rating that Woodrow Wilson (Dallas) defensive back Colin Spencer posted at the Houston stop of the tour.

Priest Willis
Elite DB Priest Willis has nearly 30 offers and is looking to post a strong performance at the Long Beach Nike combine.
While he may not get all the way to Spencer's lofty rating, Marcos de Niza (Tempe, Ariz.) defensive back Priest Willis has been red-hot on the recruiting trail as of late and hopes to carry that momentum into to the Nike combine on Saturday. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has over 20 scholarship offers, including notable programs such as USC, Notre Dame, Florida, LSU and Oklahoma.

Speedster Steven Mitchell out of Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.) will be another top prospect looking to put up big numbers on Saturday. Big numbers is exactly what the 5-foot-10, 180-pound receiver posted last fall, catching 50 passes for 1,006 yards and scoring 17 times. Mitchell has already landed offers from Notre Dame, Texas A&M, UCLA, Washington, Cal and others.

It's not often that a quarterback is an anticipated participant at a Nike combine, but not many quarterbacks possess the physical attributes of Santa Margarita's (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) Johnny Stanton. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder led the Eagles to a Division I state bowl title last fall while accounting for nearly 4,000 yards of offense and 38 total touchdowns. Stanton should test well and has offers so far from Cal, Washington and Air Force.

Check out ESPNHS.com and Nike Football SPARQ Combines throughout the weekend for reporting from the event as well as top results and photos.

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