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RECRUITING / JEFF FELLENZER

McGraw, Chatman Still Just a Phone Call Away

December 19, 1994|JEFF FELLENZER

These should be the best of times for Brendan McGraw and Charles Chatman.

After all, the two running backs terrorized Pacific Coast League opponents all season, piling up numbers virtually unmatched in Orange County history.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday December 20, 1994 Orange County Edition Sports Part C Page 6 Column 1 Sports Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Recruiting--A story in Monday's Times Orange County said Alex Henderson has taken over as football coach at Golden West College. He will be an assistant next fall. Dennis Dixon is head coach.

McGraw, of Laguna Hills High, rushed for a county-best 2,511 yards (7.7 yards per carry) and scored 42 touchdowns. He had 277 yards and six touchdowns in the season opener against Sonora, then gained 265 yards and six touchdowns in the first half of the Laguna Beach game.

Costa Mesa's Chatman averaged 9.5 yards per carry in amassing 2,500 yards and 29 touchdowns. Included in that total was his 43-carry, 414-yard performance against Aliso Niguel, four yards short of the county single-game record.

What's more, neither McGraw (6-1, 187) nor Chatman (5-10, 175) played running back full-time as juniors--both were wide receivers, and Chatman started at cornerback.

And therein lies part of the reason the phones are silent in the McGraw and Chatman homes.

With virtually no preseason recognition and questions looming about each player's speed, major college recruiters have all but ignored them.

Major college coaches put a premium on speed for their skill-position players. McGraw and Chatman are considered in the 4.6 range over 40 yards, short of the preferred 4.4 and 4.5 range.

Thus, McGraw's two scholarship offers so far are from Division I-AA schools Boston University--where former Laguna Hills quarterback Justin Vedder recently finished his freshman season as a redshirt--and Villanova. Army also is interested, as are are California and San Diego State, though neither has offered a visit.

Chatman, also an outstanding baseball player who could be drafted in June, has had some contact from Oregon. Others showing interest include San Diego State, New Mexico, San Diego, St. Mary's and Villanova. Amazingly, all of the schools are recruiting him as a defensive back.

"I keep hearing questions about Charles' speed, but I never saw anyone catch him from behind," Costa Mesa Coach Myron Miller said.

Miller and Laguna Hills Coach Steve Bresnahan believe their star players will receive scholarships, though the firm offers might not come till next month as colleges await word from their "first-choice" prospects.

"Brendan has as good a pair of hands as any kid I've coached," says Bresnahan, a former assistant at Long Beach State who has been in the business 23 years. "The right place for him is a school that will use him both as a running back and a receiver coming out of the backfield. He's only reached about 60% of his potential."

Notes

Costa Mesa Coach Myron Miller says running back-outside linebacker Dwayne Crenshaw (6-1, 200), who missed part of his senior season because of injuries but still rushed for 879 yards (8.7 yards per carry), is a can't-miss college prospect. Crenshaw, who needs to improve his grades, could wind up at Golden West, where former Costa Mesa defensive coordinator Alex Henderson has taken over as head coach. Crenshaw has 4.5 speed and is a dedicated weightlifter. Before his senior year, he had drawn interest from every school in the Pac-10. Miller expects him to be a 220-pound outside linebacker in college.

UCLA update: Having already received an oral commitment from tackle Gene Waters (6-7, 295) of Walla Walla (Wash.) Community College, the Bruins are hoping to sign another highly recruited community college player: tight end Greg Clark (6-5, 250), a first-team J.C. Grid-Wire All-American from Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. Clark, 22, who spent two years on a Mormon church mission, has narrowed his choices to UCLA and Stanford. He also visited Arizona State and Ohio State, and canceled a trip to Brigham Young. UCLA Coach Terry Donahue visited Clark, a punishing blocker who also caught 40 passes last season, at his parents' home in Bountiful, Utah, during the weekend. Wednesday is the first day community college players can sign letters of intent.

UCLA has commitments from two high school standouts: Los Alamitos wide receiver Brad Melsby (6-1, 183) and Santa Margarita tackle Kris Farris (6-9, 275), both first-team All-Orange County selections by The Times. The Bruins are awaiting word from Brock Huard (6-5, 215) of Puyallup, Wash., rated the premier quarterback prospect in the country by most college coaches and talent evaluators. Huard, a straight-A student and standout basketball player, has taken recruiting trips to UCLA, Pittsburgh, Stanford and Washington, where he spent last weekend. He has eliminated Pitt and, from all indications, is now trying to decide between the hometown Huskies and UCLA. How does Huard feel about in-state expectations that he should follow the lead of his brother, Washington junior quarterback Damon Huard? "I'm not going to run away from the idea," he says, "but I'm also not going to fulfill other people's expectations for me. I'll go with what my heart says. It'll be my decision."

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