After receiving times of 4.56 seconds in the forty-yard dash, 4.15 seconds in the twenty-yard shuttle, and 7.02 seconds in the L-cone drill, Chris Bell seemed like a man among boys during one-on-one passing drills. The potential All-American used his 6-foot-2½, 203-pound frame to shield defenders, while using his powerful hands to pull passes out of the air. He simply looks the part of a dominating wide receiver at the next level. The other stops in the Scout.com All-American Combine tour are:
Jacksonville, Fla., April 17
Champaign, Ill., April 23
Auburn, Ala., April 30
Starkville, Miss., May 1
Elite College Combine, N.J., May 4
Tampa, Fla., May 7
Los Angeles, Calif., May 14
Berkeley, Calif., May 15
New Orleans, La., May 21
Waco, Texas, May 22
Akron, Ohio, May 28
Scout.com is the exclusive selection and online sponsor of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Combine.
Kennedy oversees a group, that will attend all the Network's combines, including Scout.com recruiting experts Miller Safrit, Bob Lichtenfels and Ryan Jordan, a representative from Competitive Edge Sports and Rance Gillespie, head coach at Peach County (Ga.) High School who will serve as the combines' quarterbacks coach.
"When coaches look at a Scout.com camp, they're going to know the results are legit," Kennedy said. "We time players individually and accurately. Competitive Edge Sports is the leader in training athletes for the next level of competition with clients such as Brian Urlacher, Boss and Champ Bailey, and more recently Mike Williams. They will be giving brief instructions and tips on stretching, form, and technique for drills that players will see at subsequent college camps. Scout.com is the leader in online scouting, and players will get a chance to get in front of the Scout.com team which represents media outlets across the country including Fox Sports, Yahoo, and SI.com."
At Duke, only three participants posted forty-times better then Bell – wide receiver Bobby Hatchell of Jacksonville (N.C.) whose 4.45 forty time was run without shoes, wide receiver Brandon Brooks of Garner (N.C.) 4.45 seconds, and tailback Johnny White of Asheville (N.C.) 4.53 seconds.
Amazingly, Brooks, a 5-foot-6 ½, 139 pound waterbug, also recorded the combine's best twenty-yard shuttle (3.95 seconds) and L-cone drill times (6.93 seconds).
Running back Devon Moore of Hillsborough (N.C.) Cedar Ridge also had a solid outing. Moore ran a 4.59-second forty-yard dash, a 4.16-second twenty-yard shuttle, a 36-inch vertical jump, and a combine best 118-inch broad jump. He nearly bested 130 inches but fell back, hurting his score.
With the testing completed, the real work began in the one-on-one drills, and a new star was born in DeKoda Watson from South Aiken (S.C.). Watson, who posted 18 sacks as a junior, showed that his 6-foot-2, 209 pound frame has the potential to become a dominating pass rushing linebacker. He beat every offensive linemen he went up against, including another potential All-American in Carl Johnson (one of the battles is to the left), who still showed throughout the day that he is a huge man with great wheels and maintains good contact.
Quarterback Daniel Barton may not get all the numbers and accolades while splitting time in the Byrnes (S.C.) offense, but he showed that his arm is solid and he can spin the ball very well. Helping to lead his Rebel team to their third state championship, Barton knows how to lead, and he led the one-on-one drills by placing the ball very well on nearly every throw.
"What are we looking for in the measurements?" Kennedy said. "The ‘Enough' factor. Is he big enough, fast enough, quick enough, explosive enough for the Division 1 level. If the answer is yes, we will further evaluate them through film and game observation. As an official selection partner of the US Army All-American Bowl, we also feel it's important to interact with the players and see how they interact with one another. Character is a big factor in becoming a US Army All-American, and film doesn't tell you the same things that looking a player in the eye does."
Overall, the players at the first stop in the Scout.com All-American Combine tour showed that it has the take to play with the best. Several known commodities continued to impress while still other new commodities entered the recruiting world as a hot target under the Carolina sun.