Star high school players and college scouts answered the call at Salesian High School
Training started at 6 a.m., and that did not stop the players or college scouts from coming.
St. John Bosco wide receiver Shay Fields looks to get some yards after the catch as scouts and coaches look on. Photo by Jason Lewis
Crenshaw’s Ajene Harris was matched up against some tough competition, but he still looked good in front of the college scouts. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Salesian High School football coaches Roddy Hiatt and Devah Thomas put out the word to the top high school football players and college scouts. For the players, show up at the high school’s football field at 6:00 on a Wednesday morning for a workout before school if you want to be seen by some scouts, and for the scouts, show up to see the top talent in the area.
About 50 football players answered the call, and so did a number of college football scouts, including UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, and a number of other schools. The players and scouts were serious, so showing up that early in the morning was not an issue for anybody.
“This event is for kids in the inner city to get an opportunity to get a college look,” Coach Thomas said. “Sometimes it’s kind of hard on the head coach to get a player an offer when he has a lot of things to do, fundraising and all of those type of things. Today is just to get a look to have an opportunity to go to a major Division I college, or any college for that matter, because there is some college for everybody.”
The players ran agility drills, did 1-on-1s and played 7-on-7. The competition was extremely tough because so many of the best players showed up for this event. Coach Hiatt and Thomas have sent a number of players to college on football scholarships, so they have formed a reputation that allows them to attract so many of the top players and scouts.
Many scouts have a tough time getting to see the top talent, which is usually pretty spread out, which is why this training session works so well for them. Hiatt and Thomas make sure that they send scouts the top players in the area to maintain those relationships.
Salesian is a small all boys school in East Los Angeles, but Hiatt and Thomas have turned this program into a winner over the past two years, as the team has a 21-5 record with four playoff victories over that time period, and they are getting their athletes scholarships. They do not take all of the credit, as they acknowledge the school’s administration for playing a part in the school’s turnaround.
“This school is a church, it’s a parish home, and a playground,” coach Thomas said. “It’s a real Christian environment, and I love this school.”