The Nike combine at East Los Angeles (Calif.) Junior College this past weekend had more than 700 kids in attendance and was dominated by a large group of players who made the road trip from Las Vegas. With several talented athletes in attendance, one player stood head and shoulders above the rest and should now be mentioned among the top prospects in the West region.
It's important to understand that for us, how a player tests at a combine is only part of the evaluation process. We've seen a ton of players over the years who look great at a combine but can't play a lick on the field and vice versa. Saying that, there is no doubt in our eyes that Las Vegas (Nev.) Del Sol running back Tim Johnson will be a big time prospect when the spring evaluation period rolls around.
Johnson, 6-2, 205 pounds, was hardly a sleeper in local circles as Will Levi of the NevadaPrepReport had him rated as the No. 1 prospect in the state for the class of 2007 back in January. The athlete introduced himself to the rest of the region this past weekend testing off the charts and recording the top SPARQ Rating (92.38) at the combine.
Johnson clocked a 4.50 in the 40, 4.66 in the shuttle (slipped both times), jumped 37 inches in the vertical and did 27 reps on the bench. His SPARQ Rating was not only the best at the combine, but the highest recorded at any combine we've done this year including two in South Florida and one a week ago in Costa Mesa (Calif.).
The athlete definitely passes the eye ball test as well and looks like a college player right now. When you combine that with the numbers he put up on the field a year ago, and there is no question he should be considered among the top prospect in the region.
"I only played running back for four games but rushed for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns last season," Johnson said. "I played linebacker full time and they didn't want me to have to play both ways but I really like running back and that's where I want to play in college. I'll be playing running back full time this year and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what kind of numbers I'll be able to put up."
On the recruiting front, Johnson already has a pair of offers on the table and we're guessing that list will grow significantly in the next month or so.
"Oklahoma and UNLV have both offered," Johnson said. "I ran a 4.38 at UNLV's camp last year and they offered not long after. I'm also hearing a lot from Notre Dame and a few other schools as well. USC is my top school, I've liked them since my freshman year. I also like Florida and Oklahoma a lot, those are my top three schools right now."