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June 28, 2010

Big-time players show up at Win Forever

CARSON, Calif. - George Atkinson III could play running back, wide receiver or defensive back in college and Monday at the Pete Carroll Win Forever Festival the Livermore (Calif.) Granada athlete decided to focus solely on receiver not because it's his best position but because it's his worst.

Atkinson wanted to get better even if it meant showing some of his inadequacies with Carroll, the former USC coach who's in his first season with the Seattle Seahawks, roaming the fields. Funny thing is the 6-foot-2, 194-pound prospect is so talented few cornerbacks could stay near him.

"I was working there right now because I think that's one of my weak points so I'm going to get more work in on that and with my footwork and that's going to help with my running back skills, too," Atkinson said.

Because Atkinson can play multiple positions some think he's a man without a specific spot but he said that's a good thing, that he's not limited to one positions and can change the game in different ways.

Rivals.com rates him as the No. 15 athlete nationally, the No. 102 recruit in the 2011 class and No. 11 in the California state rankings. There are few players who can do everything like Atkinson, who's already visited Oregon, Cal, UCLA and USC and has more visits planned this summer.

"The more you can do, the more of an asset you'll be playing at the next level," Atkinson said.

Oregon and Southern Cal stand out most to Atkinson, who said the recent sanctions levied against the Trojans won't play a major factor in his decision, but his recruitment is nowhere near finished. In the next few weeks, Atkinson and his brother, Josh, will visit Alabama and Miami and could also make it to Notre Dame.

The Ducks are on top for Josh Atkinson, a three-star cornerback, who was one of the top prospects at Monday's camp. USC, Cal, UCLA and others interest him as well plus he has offers from Notre Dame, Washington and many other programs that have also offered his brother.

But Josh Atkinson said despite the belief that he and his brother will attend the same college that they're going through the process individually and will choose whichever program is best for them, that they're not a package deal.

"We're going to pick the school individually and if it's the same school then we'll be going to the same place," Josh Atkinson said.

"It's not really difficult. We're twins but we're individuals. We compete and we work hard, we think alike sometimes but when it comes to individual stuff we do our own things. We're still individuals."

Pomee could be close to decision

Junior Pomee made the catch of the day during one-on-one drills when he caught a deflected pass off the back of Josh Atkinson before almost slamming into a chain-link fence but that's not the only news the Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde wide receiver made at Monday's camp.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect who could easily transition into a tight end if he continues to grow said he's close to making a commitment, which could come in the next week or two.

Arizona and UCLA are the leading candidates with Florida and Southern Cal also under consideration but neither the Gators nor Trojans have offered yet. There was some talk that Pomee was prepared to commit to Arizona after visiting there in the last few weeks but the Bruins have always been considered a frontrunner. At this point it's too close to call.

Pomee, a three-star recruit rated No. 46 at his position, told Rivals.com earlier this month that UCLA was his favorite but after his trip to Tucson that he's now leaning toward Arizona. At the Win Forever Festival, he wouldn't give up which way he was leaning but said he'd like to have a decision soon.

One thing Pomee wants to avoid is prolonging his decision and being stressed like former Rancho Verde teammate Ronald Powell, who waited until the U.S. Army All-American Game to pick Florida instead of USC. Powell was the top-rated player by Rivals.com last recruiting cycle.

"I want to get it out of the way so I can get all this stress out and I want to relax and focus on my football team this year," Pomee said.

"(Powell is) my boy. I've been around him since the eighth grade, played Pop Warner, and I've been following him forever. Everything he's been through I've tried to copy and maybe even do better.

"He was fighting through it with SC and Florida and all that stuff and he just gave up on SC and he picked Florida. It made everything easier and he started focusing even more on everything he was doing. I'm going to try to do the same."

Not much wrong with McClure

The only thing wrong with Stefan McClure at the Win Forever Academy was that the white tape on the front of his T-shirt read "McClur" an obvious misspelling that clearly didn't hinder the Vista, Calif., recruit on the field.

Other than that, he was errorless and made it look effortless.

McClure, a four-star prospect rated as the eighth-best cornerback nationally, backed up his reputation by not only playing physically but also getting one of the nicest interceptions all day during one-on-one drills.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound recruit is so quick that even if he gets beaten on the first step he has the athleticism to catch up and knock down passes. It's no problem for him to jam people at the line, either.

McClure, rated No. 131 nationally and No. 17 in the California state rankings, is trying to narrow his list to a top five. He said UCLA and Washington will definitely make the cut and that he'll use the rest of summer to figure out the other three.

Other players perform well

Other prospects who looked good at camp included wide receivers Josh Thompson from Chino (Calif.) Don Lugo, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., prospect Metuisela Unga, Spring (Texas) Klein Oak's Aaron Reyes and Los Angeles Crenshaw's Joe Pullard, whose brother, Hayes, plays at USC.

At defensive back, Don Lugo's Michael Carr, Lynwood, Calif., recruit Daevaughn Stepter, Tramel Patterson from Culver City, Calif., Corona (Calif.) Santiago's Keleen Culberson, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco's Royce Moore and Rodney Morgan and 2014 prospect Khalil Brown from Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne looked good.

The top players on the offensive line included Marquice Shakir from Palisades, Calif., Steven Escoboza from Burbank (Calif.) Burroughs and Cerritos (Calif.) Gahr's Alexander Zendejas. Don Lugo's Milton Williams and Ellis McCarthy, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound 2012 prospect from Monrovia, Calif., stood out on the defensive line.

The three running backs who stood out were Burroughs prospect Tadeo Zuniga, 2012 recruit Jeffrey Coprich from Santa Clarita (Calif.) Golden Valley and 2013 standout Jordan Gates out of Palos Verdes (Calif.) Peninsula. Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard's Christian Smith, a 2012 prospect, was the top quarterback seen at camp.




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