By CALIFORNIAN STAFF REPORTS
Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas, a Bakersfield High graduate, has received an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, meaning he'll have the chance to work out in front of coaches, scouts and executives of all 32 teams.
The combine runs from Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis. All of the prospects who attend -- 333 college juniors and seniors received invites -- will perform physical tests like a 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and shuttle run; and undergo interviews, drug tests and mental evaluations.
Results influence teams' evaluation of prospects leading up to the NFL Draft on April 25-27.
Thomas led the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with eight interceptions and tied for the lead with three picks returned for touchdowns. He was the Mountain West Conference's Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back.
Various draft projections have Thomas slated to be picked in the second or third round of the draft. The last local player to be drafted was West High graduate Ryan Mathews, who the San Diego Chargers selected in the first round, also out of Fresno State.
Blackmon picks CSUB
Stockdale cross country standout Tori Blackmon signed Wednesday to run at CSUB, her father confirmed. Blackmon was Kern County's top finisher in the Division I Central Section and state races in the fall.
Taft loses in baseball
TAFT -- College of the Siskiyous pitcher Dallas Melum outdueled Taft's Allan Sanchez in a 2-0 Eagles' win.
Both pitchers tossed complete games. Melum allowed four hits, struck out six and walked one. Sanchez allowed six hits, one walk and struck out 11.
Travis Tessandori went 2-for-3 with three stolen bases for the Cougars (2-2-1). Siskiyous (2-2) scored one run on a wild throw on a potential inning-ending double play and then added the other run on Greg McKinney's RBI double.
Tennis coach needed
North High is looking for a junior varsity boys tennis coach. Submit a resume to athletic director Brian Huens at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (661) 399-3351.