Written by D. L. White
Yesterday, they were local standouts, performing and leading their high schools on the gridiron, the track and in the classroom. Many are now doing the same for their colleges and NFL teams.
Among the many is Cloves Campbell, III, a former Mountain Pointe and Scottsdale Community College all-conference performer is set to have a breakout year for Georgia State University, a Div I School that competes in the Sunbelt Conference.
Last year, Coach Trent Miles’ fighting Panthers battled back from a tough 1-4 start, to post a 5-2 second half mark to go 6-6, and earn a Bowl game bid. With spring practice underway and the spring game scheduled for April 16, Coach Miles is excited about the prospects of nine starters returning on defense and seven offensive starters returning.
Campbell will vie for a starting position in the defensive backfield. Standing six foot two inches and weighing in at 205 lbs, Campbell has proven he can play and defend as he lead the Community Colleges with several interceptions and three he took to the house from 75 yards out. Georgia State opens the 2016 season Sept 2, vs. Ball State, then travel to Air Force before playing Big 10 power Wisconsin. In 2015, the Panthers played the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Many others are proving themselves in college and some are now on NFL rosters. Among the local standouts are Cameron Jordan, Chandler HS/Cal Golden Bears; Brett Hundley, Chandler HS/ UCLA; Marcus Wheatley, Chandler HS/Oregon State and Marc Anthony, Chandler HS/Cal Golden Bears.
Moving across country from the South to the West coast, the PAC 12 is home to traditional powers, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, ASU, UofA, Oregon State and the Washington Schools, Utah and Colorado.The UCLA Bruins came to Arizona a few years ago and signed two-time player of the year Brett Hundley from Chandler HS. Hundley had a tremendous career at UCLA, leading the Bruins to bowl games, high rankings and most importantly, three victories over cross-town rival USC. Hundley was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and is shadowing one of the best in Aaron Rogers.
The Bruins might lose star running back and PAC 12 rushing leader, former Chandler HS stand Paul Perkins to the NFL in the coming NFL draft. Perkins is the No. 5 ranked running back behind, Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott, Alabama’s Derrick Henry, and Alex Collins, if he decides to come out. The Bruins offensive line will be boosted in 2016 by red-shirt sophomore six foot four, 285 pound Kenny Lacy who is slated to start at left-guard.
The Oregon Ducks will also look to Arizona talent to put points on the scoreboard in 2016. Former Mountain Pointe standouts Jalen Brown and Paul Luca are anticipating having productive years in the Ducks offense. Former Brophy Prep standout Devon Allen, the PAC 12 high hurdler champion as a freshman will vie with Brown for a starting wide-receiver position. With the Ducks wide-open, hurry-up offense – both players should see plenty action.