Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer talk high school basketball recruiting and look ahead to the upcoming football season during LasVegasSun.com Sports Talk, their weekly radio show at 5:30 p.m. Monday on 91.5 KUNV.
Ron Scoggins Sr. can talk for hours about his college football playing days at UNLV.
Scoggins played offensive line for the Rebels during the program’s glory years in the mid-1980s, blocking for legends Randall Cunningham and Ickey Woods in 1984 when UNLV won the California Bowl for its first bowl victory.
Another Scoggins potentially could be suiting up for the scarlet and gray.
Scoggins’ son, Bishop Gorman High rising senior Ron Scoggins Jr., is one of Southern Nevada’s top college prospects for the class of 2012. More important for UNLV fans, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive guard will seriously consider following in his dad’s footsteps with the Rebels.
Scoggins, who is rated by recruiting website Rivals.com as a three-star recruit on its scale of five stars, has scholarship offers from UNLV, Fresno State and San Jose State. On Aug. 6, he’ll attend the Rebels’ Senior Day for invited recruits.
“It would be cool kind of following in my dad’s footsteps,” he said. “I like the UNLV program. I see what they are doing over there and how they are changing it up.”
UNLV won only two games last year during coach Bobby Hauck’s first season, but several in the community feel the program will eventually succeed under his leadership. The elder Scoggins saw the same transformation in the mid-1980s when he played for Harvey Hyde, one of UNLV’s top all-time coaches.
“I told Ron that just because they had a bad season last year doesn’t mean they won’t turn it around,” said the father, who played at UNLV from 1982 to 1985. “My first season, we had a bad record, too. We turned it around. We actually should have went to the California Bowl my second year there (in 1983).”
UNLV was the first school to offer Scoggins a scholarship — a fact that isn’t lost on the family.
“It was a blessing, you know,” Scoggins Sr. said of the UNLV offer. “It made us feel good that they took the initiative to offer him since I played there.”
Scoggins Jr., who has started every game the past two years for Gorman’s back-to-back state championship team, has seen his recruiting stock spike this summer. His weight has dropped about 25 pounds, allowing more mobility and helping improve his footwork.
“I just figured I had to do it for myself so I could be better out there on the field,” Scoggins said.
He was right.
His combination of size and speed was so impressive during Fresno State’s camp in June, coaches extended a scholarship offer. Scoggins also has interest from the likes of Nebraska, UCLA, USC (his favorite childhood team) and Arizona, and Gorman coach Tony Sanchez feels more offers should be on the horizon.
“We just thought that if he trimmed himself up a little he would be a more explosive player and show people his athleticism,” Sanchez said. “Those guys (at Fresno State) got a real good look at him. His footwork was good. He is going to have a good (college) career.”
Scoggins isn’t the only Gorman lineman with a leaner and more muscular frame. Tackle Ronnie Stanley, one of Scoggins’ closest friends and arguably the top college prospect in town, has also transformed his body. Their size, power and athleticism make the right side of Gorman’s line a strength.
“I don’t know if there a better two guys lining up to each other (in the nation),” Sanchez said. “I wouldn’t trade them for anybody.”
And Scoggins, who also plays on Gorman’s nationally ranked basketball team, wouldn’t trade his experiences at Gorman. Between the football and basketball teams, Scoggins has played multiple games on ESPN and won several championships, making him a complete package UNLV and other schools are lining up for.
This year, Gorman is ranked No. 10 in the preseason in football by Maxpreps.com, and plays three nationally ranked teams. The Gaels open Aug. 20 against No. 24 Chaparral High of Scottsdale, Ariz., in the Sollenberger Classic in Phoenix.
Don’t expect Scoggins to fold under the pressure of the big stage.
“That’s why we are out here in July, when it is as hot as it can be out,” Scoggins said Tuesday before the Gaels afternoon practice. “It’s working hard and grinding to prepare your body for the tough times in the fourth quarter.”