College coaches trying to find Dorsey High standout Antonio Carrion on the football field this fall shouldn't have to look too hard.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Carrion, who helped the Dons win the 1991 City Section 4-A Division championship and who many observers believe is the top senior prospect in the City this season, is more than a terrific wide receiver.
Coach Paul Knox says he won't hesitate to use Carrion in crucial situations on defense, either at cornerback or safety. In addition, Carrion will also serve as the Dons' punter, punt returner, backup quarterback and backup tailback.
As a junior on the 1991 team led by running back Sharmon Shah (now at UCLA), the versatile Carrion caught 27 passes for 650 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 95 yards and two TDs and returned 12 punts for 192 yards (a 16-yard average) and a touchdown.
How good an athlete is Carrion? Good enough to start last summer for Dorsey's talented basketball team that won the Watts Summer Games and is expected to challenge Fremont for the City title this season.
"He has some of the best athletic tools I've ever seen," says Knox, whose roll call of receivers since arriving at Dorsey includes the Rams' Aaron Cox, former Cal State Long Beach standout Sean Foster and the late Kevin Copeland. "Not only can Antonio catch the ball, he has great leaping ability and can adjust to bad throws."
Carrion also has good speed and is adept at changing direction, which he did several times in an intrasquad scrimmage at Dorsey last week.
College scouts are no less enthused about Carrion. "Gifted athlete," said Dick Lascola, the director of the Fallbrook, Calif.-based Scouting Evaluation Assn. "He should be the top receiver prospect in Southern California this year."
The question mark surrounding Carrion is his grades. He has yet to pass the Scholastic Aptitude Test and improve his overall grade-point average, which reportedly is about 2.3. Nevertheless, he has heard from the likes of Notre Dame, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Tennessee. Carrion joked about attending Miami, but acknowledged it was probably too far away.
Pacific 10 Conference and West Coast schools showing interest include USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State, California, Nevada Las Vegas and Fresno State.
Although Carrion, whose father lives in Las Vegas, said he "like SC a lot," he could be influenced by good friends and former Dorsey standouts Shah, Beno Bryant (Washington) and Lamont Warren (Colorado).
"I'll listen to a lot of people and pick a school where I feel most comfortable," Carrion said. "And I'll also look at the players on the team to see where I fit in. Will I play or will I sit?"
According to Lascola, it's a good year overall for college football prospects in Southern California.
Last spring, Lascola conducted three invitation-only evaluation camps, testing about 300 California seniors-to-be.
Structured after the NFL combine camps held before the college draft, players are tested and evaluated for strength (bench-press), speed (40-yard dash), vertical jump and agility.
From his camps, Lascola singled out Baldwin Park running back-defensive back Lawrence Phillips (6-0, 190); Chula Vista Castle Park running back Anthony Davis (5-11, 180); Trabuco Hills quarterback Pat Barnes (6-3, 185); Torrey Pines outside linebacker Brian Batson (6-4, 200); Upland lineman Tyson Lingenfelter (6-5, 260) and Apple Valley lineman Chris Brymer (6-2, 285).
Lascola said the positions with the best depth are quarterback and running back. Quarterbacks getting the most early attention from college recruiters include Barnes, Morningside's Stais Boseman (6-3, 185); Los Alamitos' Tim Carey (6-4, 175); Fallbrook's John Dutton (6-3, 200); Escondido Orange Glen's Brady Batten (6-3, 205), a transfer from Bakersfield East; San Diego Lincoln's Akili Smith (6-3, 185); Artesia's Aaron Flowers (6-1, 165); Costa Mesa Estancia's Matt Johner (6-1, 175) and San Diego St. Augustine's Aaron Buckner (6-5, 180). In addition, Downey's Johnny Macon (5-11, 175), an option quarterback, is considered a good prospect who could end up playing wide receiver or cornerback in college.
"The most talent I've seen in a long time at that position," Lascola said.
Look for the multitalented Stais Boseman, whom some scouts believe could play quarterback, safety or wide receiver in college, to follow his heart and play only basketball in college. USC, Arizona and Connecticut are reportedly at the top of Boseman's list of college choices. USC and Connecticut basketball coaches were in attendance Saturday to watch Boseman play football--gasping, no doubt, when Boseman sprained his left ankle early in the game. He is expected to play Friday against Hawthorne. . . UCLA may be the leader for Pat Barnes. His older brother John is a senior quarterback for the Bruins, having transferred to UCLA for his senior season after UC Santa Barbara dropped football.