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Preview of 1993 Fall Season: Plenty of Potential for Blockbusters : Terrific 22: Southern California's most-publicized prep football players have high standards to live up to.

September 02, 1993|MITCH POLIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In 1992, Southern California regained its standing as a producer of blue-chip high school football players.

Running back Saladin McCullough of Muir, receiver Antonio Carrion of Dorsey and quarterbacks Tim Carey of Los Alamitos, Pat Barnes of Trabuco Hills and Stais Boseman of Morningside ranked with the nation's best preps.

Although matching the luster of the 1992 team will be difficult, the 1993 Terrific 22 is not likely to tarnish the area's image nationally.

"Right now, (1993) may not be as solid as last year with all of the quarterbacks and wide receivers, but it could get better," said Rick Kimbrel, editor of the Woodland Hills-based Blue Chip Illustrated magazine.

Quarterback appears to be the weakest position, but there is plenty of depth at tight end, linebacker and running back.

The best prospects on the 1993 team are tight end Tony Gonzalez of Huntington Beach and running backs Rodney Sermons of Bishop Amat and Tyrone Crenshaw of Sylmar.

Blue Chip and other national recruiting services such as Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report of Illinois; the National Recruiting Advisor of Texas; G & W Recruiting Report of Pennsylvania; SuperPrep magazine of Costa Mesa and observations from Dick Lascola of the Fallbrook, Calif.-based Scouting Evaluation Assn. were used in determining which Greater Los Angeles and Orange County seniors earned distinction on the Terrific 22. Players from San Diego and Santa Barbara counties were not included.

Newbury Park, which has never had a player on the Terrific 22, and Long Beach Poly each had two players honored.

Here are the players who have received the most preseason publicity nationally:

Steve Campbell (Norco, quarterback)--In a down year for quarterbacks, Campbell literally stands above the crowd. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Campbell has a good release, a knack for making the big play and a grasp of fundamentals. Campbell, whose father, Gary, is the Norco coach, also plays center on the basketball team.

Keith Smith (Newbury Park, quarterback)--Although he is only 6-foot, 175 pounds, scouts covet Smith because of his arm strength and accuracy. A dangerous rollout passer, Smith completed 59.9% of his passes for 3,318 yards and 30 touchdowns in 1992.

Rodney Sermons (Bishop Amat, running back)--The 6-foot, 185-pound Sermons is expected rank with former Bishop Amat runners Eric Bieniemy and Scott Fields. His speed, strength and moves helped him rush for 1,475 yards and 21 TDs in 1992. He also caught 25 passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns and returned kicks.

Tyrone Crenshaw (Sylmar, running back)--In 1992, Crenshaw rushed for 1,875 yards and 22 TDs in 235 attempts and was named City Section 4-A Division player of the year. "He is a threat to take the ball the distance every time he gets his hands on it," Lemming said. Crenshaw has excelled as a kick returner, but may become a defensive back in college.

Ramod Lee (Valley View, running back)--Lee is the most powerful of the running backs, having bench-pressed 300 pounds. In 1992, the durable Lee rushed for 2,463 yards and 27 TDs in 354 attempts.

Justin Stallings (Hawthorne, wide receiver)--The National Recruiting Advisor and Tom Lemming list Stallings as a defensive back in college and SuperPrep and Dick Lascola project him as a wide receiver. The 6-2, 195-pound Stallings, who reportedly has a vertical leap of 36 inches, caught 28 passes for 378 yards and two TDs in 1992.

Leodes Van Buren (Newbury Park, wide receiver)--With Smith and Van Buren, the Panthers may have the best passing combination in the Southland. The 6-3, 185-pound Van Buren caught 79 passes for 1,331 yards and 14 TDs in 1992. His grades could prevent him from playing at a Division I college.

Tony Gonzalez (Huntington Beach, tight end)--Several scouting services rate Gonzalez as the nation's top tight end prospect. The 6-6, 225-pounder also excels as a linebacker and forward on the basketball team. He may play both sports in college.

Michael Jackson (Santa Monica, tight end)--As a junior, he caught 29 passes for 714 yards and four TDs. He also returned two kicks for TDs. The 6-2, 250-pounder is also expected to play running back and outside linebacker. Jackson is a center on the basketball team.

Rome Douglas (Claremont, tight end)--Douglas has only played football for about a year, but scouts see tremendous potential in this 6-7, 245-pounder. He has good body control, soft hands and ample speed for his size. He is listed as a defensive end by the National Recruiting Advisor and some scouts believe he will eventually become an offensive lineman. Douglas also plays basketball and would like to be a two-sport athlete in college.

Dorrick Roy (Montclair Prep, tight end)--Dorrick's brother, Donovan, was a Terrific 22 selection in 1990 and is an offensive lineman at USC. The 6-4, 220-pound Dorrick also plays on the defensive line, although his future appears to be at tight end. "The bottom line here is he's big, runs well and can catch," SuperPrep said. Roy has a 34-inch vertical leap.

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