Each year the growth and quality of Arizona high school football is becoming more evident.
Look no further than the NFL Combine here in Indianapolis as several players with local prep ties will be poked, prodded, and tested both physically and mentally by the 32 teams in the coming days.
Below I take a deeper look at some of those players who went out of state for college after prepping locally in Arizona and will be participating this weekend, as well as where they’re projected to be picked in April’s draft.
Dion Jordan (Oregon/Chandler High): the former Chandler star wide receiver was converted to defensive end by former Ducks coach Chip Kelly after arriving in Eugene. Smart move. The 6’6, 243-pounder was a two-time All Pac-12 player and had 10.5 tackles for loss along with five sacks in 2012. The versatile Jordan is expected to be a Top 10 overall pick at worst. Teams love the Butkus Award Finalists speed and versatility.
Markus Wheaton (Oregon State/Chandler High): Jordan’s high school teammate who starred at wide receiver for the arch-rival Beavers had a monster senior season catching 91 passes for 1,244 yards and 13 total touchdowns. He is OSU’s all-time leader in career receptions. The 6’1, 182-pounder has been compared to the 49ers Michael Crabtree. The track sprinter is dangerous on bubble screens and in the open field. He’ll likely be a second round selection.
Marc Anthony (Cal/Chandler High): the third Chandler Wolf here in Indianapolis started at cornerback for the Bears the past three seasons. Despite missing two games due to injury in 2012 Anthony led Cal in pass breakups with 12 and registered five tackles for loss. The former three-star prospect has good size (5’11, 191) and long arms. He’ll likely go in the fifth or sixth round according to many reports.
Sean Renfree (Duke/Notre Dame Prep): bright, talented quarterback who played for David Cutcliffe at Duke. Cutcliffe worked with Peyton and Eli Manning. Renfree tore his right pectoral on his final collegiate pass in the Blue Devils bowl loss to Cincinnati and won’t be throwing at the Combine. He completed 64.4% of his throws with 50 touchdowns during his career in Durham. The 6’3, 210-pounder will attract NFL teams attention because he’s proven he can run a pro-style offense efficiently. Despite the injury, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper believes he could go as high as the fifth-round. His skill set has been compared to Texans QB Matt Shaub.
Jeff Locke (UCLA/Mountain Ridge): the former Valley prep star still holds the state record nailing a 63-yard field goal. Locke focused mostly on punting at UCLA but did hit 49 and 51-yard field goals in college. He has the ability to flip the field with his strong leg averaging just under 45 yards per attempt in college. He is one of the top punters here in Indianapolis and could be a seventh-round pick or preferred free agent if not selected.