Four Coachella Valley prospects hope to get the call
The 2022 NFL Draft is underway from Las Vegas, Nevada and several draft hopefuls have played football in the Coachella Valley.
TWO HOPE FOR ALUMNI FROM PALM SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL
Trenton Thompson and Tayler Hawkins were born nine days apart, grew up in Palm Springs, were star athletes in Palm Springs High School, and decided to stay together and go to college at State University. from San Diego. Both played defense for SDSU, Hawkins at cornerback and Thompson at safety and special teams.
Thompson and Hawkins played a huge role in helping the Aztecs break into the top 25 college football rankings for the first time in program history in 2021. They were also instrumental in Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s victory SDSU Frisco Bowl 2021 vs. UTSA.
TAYLER HAWKINS: PALM SPRINGS ALUMNI, SDSU
40 TIME: 4.53 SECONDS
SIZE: 6-1 WEIGHT: 205
HANDS: 9″ ARMS: 31 1/4″ SPAN: 73″
DATE OF BIRTH: 27/12/1997 AGE: 24
Tayler Hawkins was a star athlete for the Palm Springs High School Indians, playing cornerback and wide receiver. With several Division I offers, he made the decision to become an Aztec and attend San Diego State University.
Hawkins had his biggest impact for SDSU as a cornerback the past two seasons for the Aztecs. In his first two years, Hawkins played safety and some special teams. Once Hawkins returned to cornerback, he really proved himself as a leader in their secondary, being able to track receivers and make adjustments as the game progressed.
According to NFL Draft Buzz, Hawkins has an “athletic build with plenty of room for extra muscle mass – a legit NFL-caliber athlete.”
With an overall rating of 65/100, Hawkins did not appear on any fictionalized drafts. Hawkins is expected to play in the final rounds or be signed as a free agent.
TRENTON THOMPSON: PALM SPRINGS HS ALUMNI, SDSU
40 TIME: 4.58 SECONDS
SIZE: 6-1 WEIGHT: 196
HANDS: 9 1/4″ ARMS: 32″ SPAN: 75 1/4″
DATE OF BIRTH: 18/12/1997 AGE: 24
Trenton Thompson was also a star athlete for the Palm Springs Indians, especially on defense. He received several offers from top programs and decided to join teammate and friend, Tayler Hawkins, to play for San Diego State University.
Thompson played safety and special teams for the Aztecs, and the 2021 season has been a breakthrough year for him on defense. During the 2021 season, Thompson had 14 pass breakups and three interceptions.
A true point guard, Thompson has also contributed on special teams, adding to his resume what makes him a decent draft prospect. However, not seen on any fictional drafts, Thompson has the skill and ability to be taken on the third day of the seventh round as an all-around pickup for teams.
DANIEL WHELAN: ALUMNI OF RANCHO MIRAGE HS, UC DAVIS
40 TIME: 4.74 SECONDS
SIZE: 6-5 WEIGHT: 216
HANDS: 9 3/8″ ARMS: 33″ SPAN: 79 1/2″
Daniel Whelan went to Rancho Mirage High School, where he started out playing tennis and soccer, before being recruited to play soccer.
Whelan was born in Dublin, Ireland, and he and his mother moved to Rancho Mirage midway through high school. Whelan learned to play football and became a star kicker for the Rattlers. Whelan was discovered by Rattlers head coach LD Matthews after observing how well Whelan could kick the football. His mother told NBC Palm Springs in 2013 that playing soccer was key to adjusting to life in America.
Whelan became a star kicker and punter for Rancho Mirage High School, he later continued his college career at UC Davis, where he continued his success as a punter. He’s been placed on multiple fictional drafts and has all the talent and skill to be an NFL punter.
He’s set to be the first Irishman to play in the NFL in over 40 years, and you can expect to hear his name called by this weekend.
DATONA JACKSON: DESERT ALUMNI COLLEGE, UCLA
40 TIME: 5.15 SECONDS
SIZE: 6-2 WEIGHT: 266
HANDS: 9 7/8″ ARMS: 32″ SPAN: 77 1/4″
Datona Jackson is a defensive lineman and College of the Desert Alumni, after two years he played three seasons at UCLA.
Jackson is older heading into this draft, after high school Jackson took a four-year hiatus from football before returning to the Roadrunners. He was an outstanding student and was dedicated to playing football at an elite level. Jackson received several Division I program offers before settling with UCLA.
On the Bruins defensive line, Jackson played a big part in the team’s success under head coach Chip Kelly, including beating the USC Trojans for the first time since 2018 and finding himself in a bowling game.
Jackson is keeping his fingers crossed this year, he tells NBC Palm Springs that the Las Vegas Raiders and San Diego Chargers have shown interest in him.