The California class of offensive lineman in 2008 could be the strongest we can remember in some time. Already, eight players have been offered early scholarships and at least five from the group could be top 100 players nationally. Included in that group is Corona (Calif.) Max Tuioti-Mariner.
Tuioti-Mariner attended the NIKE Combine in Long Beach last weekend and physically, looked like a college player already. He measured in at a solid 6-3.5, 300 pounds and just has the look of someone you would not want to come across in a dark alley.
The lineman was nursing a sore hamstring and didn't run or jump but did do 26 reps on the bench, good enough for 6th best in the camp of over 740 players.
On film, Tuioti-Mariner just destroys people and he earned 1st team all-league, all-area and all-state underclass honors this past season. Three schools have offered with several more on the way.
"Colorado, BYU and Mississippi have offered me right now," Tuioti-Mariner said. "My coach said a lot of other schools are close to offering as well but those are the ones that have offered in writing.
"Right now, I like Hawaii, Cal, UCLA, USC and Oregon. My brother Clarence plays at Hawaii so that's why I like them. Cal, UCLA and USC are all strong in-state programs and I've heard nothing but great things about Oregon.
"I want to take some trips before I make my decision. I'm not in any hurry to decide right now. I don't know if I'll take all five trips or wait until Signing Day but I do want to take my time."
Panther coach John Brandom said his lineman could be as good as any player in the state.
"I can't imagine there being a football player," Brandom said. "Max is so tough and physical, when schools see his highlight tape, everyone will offer him. Honestly, I can't see a single school coming by here and deciding not to offer, he's that good.
"We've have players here go to UCLA, Colorado, Washington, Max is the best player I've ever coached. He's technically sound and combines that with a ferocious style of play. I have film of pancaking two and three players on the same play.
"Coach Wristen from UCLA was here yesterday. He watched five plays of Max and told me to take the tape out, he had seen enough and said they're going to offer as soon as he shows the tape to Karl (Dorrell).
"Oregon and Arizona are also close to offering but like I said, he'll have about 20 offers in the next few weeks when schools get a look at him, he's that good."