Commentary

Marcus Williams leads Long Beach

Nine talented athletes top 100 in the SPARQ rating system in Long Beach

Updated: April 7, 2012, 5:26 PM ET
By Kynon Codrington

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour made its way west to the Golden State on Saturday afternoon. Nearly 1,300 prospects dotted the field at Long Beach Veterans Stadium for the eleventh combine on the 2012 campaign. A veteran of the combine circuit earned the event's top SPARQ rating after missing time as a junior.

Defensive back Marcus Williams out of Durango (Las Vegas) nabbed the day's highest overall rating with a 128.91. Williams is no stranger to competing at Nike combines after posting a 114.57 as a sophomore. Due to an issue in transferring schools, Williams only played in three games during his junior year, but his recruiting should begin to pick up after his strong combine performance. If Williams can put together a solid senior year, he could be deciding between several different hats come Signing Day.

Khalfani Muhammad of Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) is one of the top running backs in the region this year. Muhammad helped his own cause as one of the area's top talents with a 98.64 SPARQ rating on Saturday. The talented tailback recorded a 4.58 40 along with a 35.5-inch vertical. His ultra-fast shuttle time of 4.09 was also among the day's best. Last fall, he rushed for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. Arkansas, Duke, UCLA, and Washington and others have already offered.

Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.) wideout Steven Mitchell didn't need to test to gain the attention of college coaches, but the speedster impressed with a strong showing. Mitchell blazed a 4.63 40 to go with a quick 4.26 shuttle en route to a 94.62 SPARQ rating. The 5-foot-10.5, 177-pound flanker holds double-digit BCS offers and is taking his time with the recruiting process.


Top Class of 2013 Performer

Steven Mitchell, WR, Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.)

Mitchell is a proven playmaker and has the skill set to be an early contributor as a freshman on the next level. The multi-purpose threat hauled in 50 receptions for over 1,000 yards and 17 scores in 2011. He was selected to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State team as a junior.


Class of 2013 Honorable Mention Performers

Dakota Cox, LB, Juan Diego (Draper, Utah)

Emerging as one of the top players from Utah for the Class of 2013, Cox checked in at 6-foot, 220-pounds and ran a 4.75 40 and 4.19 shuttle. He reports strong interest from Stanford, Utah, and Washington State.

Jack Ferguson, LB, San Luis Obispo (Calif.)

The 6-foot-1, 246-pound stout middle linebacker registered a 103.05 SPARQ rating behind a 4.45 shuttle and 42-foot power ball toss. This past fall, he tallied 152 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, and six sacks.

Kevin Palma, LB, Mission Oak (Tulare, Calif.)

This athletic defender has impressive lateral quickness and power. Palma notched the day's highest power ball toss of 46 feet. He reports an early offer from Nevada.

Jordan Robinson, RB, Ayala (Chino Hills, Calif.)

Two-way star went over the century mark with a 102.30 SPARQ rating. He ran a 4.60 40 and jumped 37 inches in the vertical jump. During his junior campaign he accounted for over 1,500 yards and 14 total touchdowns.

TBD Editor
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSBishop Gorman (Las Vegas) DB Justin Sweet ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash and 4.07 in the 20-yard shuttle.
Justin Sweet, DB, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)

Sweet flashes excellent speed and the ability to be a premier corner. New Mexico has already offered, but look for BCS schools to check him out this spring.


Top Underclass Performer

Royce Freeman ('14), RB, Imperial (Calif.)

Freeman racked up over 2,000 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign. The versatile talent also tallied 94 tackles and four interceptions on defense. The All-State performer increased his rating 23 points from last year's event.

Other underclassmen who impressed

WR Addison Johnson ('14), 5-17, 160, Coeur D'Alene (Idaho)
LB Dwight Williams ('14), 6-0, 186, Serra (Gardena, Texas)
RB Andrew Moore ('14), 5-10.5, 213 Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
RB Omari Montgomery ('14), 5-10, 191, Beaumont (Calif.)


Below is a list of top five performers from each testing category. Stay tuned to ESPNHS.com and the Nike Football SPARQ Combine homepage the rest of the week for more coverage from the Long Beach Nike combine.

Long Beach Nike Combine Top Fives

SPARQ Rating
1. Marcus Williams, DB, 5-11, 197, Durango (Las Vegas) -- 128.91
2. Kevin Palma, LB, 6-1.5, 236, Mission Oak (Tulare, Calif.) -- 118.77
3. Karris Johnson, RB, 5-11, 199, California (San Ramon, Calif.) -- 114.60
4. Addison Johnson ('14), WR, 5-7, 160, Coeur D' Alene (Idaho) -- 105.99
5. Ryan Severson, LB, 5-10, 182, Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.) -- 105.36

40-yard dash
1. Marcus Williams, DB, 5-11, 197, Durango (Las Vegas) -- 4.43
2. Ryan Severson, LB, 5-10, 182, Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.) -- 4.46
2. Gene Adams, RB, 5-7, 177, Shadow Mountian (Phoenix) -- 4.46
3. Karris Johnson, RB, 5-11, 199, California (San Ramon, Calif.) -- 4.51
3. Justin Martin, DB, 5-5, 137, Norco (Calif.) -- 4.51
5. Addison Johnson ('14), WR, 5-7, 160, Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) -- 4.53

20-yard shuttle
1. Tavarus Green, RB, 5-7.5, 144, East Lake (Chula Vista, Calif.) -- 4.00
2. Marcus Williams, DB, 5-11, 197, Durango (Las Vegas) -- 4.06
2. Chase Krivashei, WR, 5-8.5, 149, Centennial (Corona, Calif.) -- 4.06
4. Justin Sweet, DB, 5-9.5, 174, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) -- 4.07
4. Dominique Browner, DB, 6-0.5, 177, St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) -- 4.07
4. Alexander Turner, RB, 5-8, 157, Paramount (Cerritos, Calif.) -- 4.07

Kneeling Power Ball toss
1. Kevin Palma, LB, 6-1.5, 236, Mission Oak (Tulare, Calif.) -- 46
2. Jack Ferguson, LB, 6-1, 246, San Luis Obispo (Calif.) -- 42 feet
2. Spencer Andrews, TE, 6-1, 231, St. Bonaventure's (Ventura, Calif.) -- 42 feet
2. Justin Barlow, DL, 6-1.5, 230, Great Oak (Temucula, Calif.) -- 42 feet
5. Alexander Kline, RB, 5-9.5, 208, Gahr (Cerritos, Calif.) -- 41 feet

Vertical Jump
1. Marcus Williams, DB, 5-11, 197, Durango (Las Vegas) -- 39.4 inches
2. Addison Johnson ('14), WR, 5-7, 160, Coeur D' Alene (Idaho) -- 38.7 inches
3. Alexander Turner, RB, 5-8, 157, Paramount (Cerritos, Calif.) -- 37.7 inches
4. Sam Baldwin, DB, 6-1, 170, Madison (Rexburg, Idaho) -- 37.4 inches
5. Jordan Robinson, RB, 5-9, 172, Ayala (Chino Hills, Calif.) -- 37.1 inches