One of the best - if not the best – annual assemblages of high school football talent will happen again in Central Arkansas on Saturday The 14th annual Arkansas Sports Medicine/FCA Combine will be held at North Little Rock's Football Stadium
There will be an invitation only morning session with over 175 prospects and then an open one in the afternoon with another 85-100 players taking the field per organizer B J Maack
"Every one knows about the big names like Darren McFadden, Matt Jones, DeAngelo Williams, Cedric Houston, but our event allows those kids who are just barely on the radar or just off it to get some much needed publicity," Maack said
"I always tell them this is the first step in a process that allows college coaches, scouts and reporters a chance to discover them before the summer and when they head to camps," Maack said "It truly has been a benefit to so many kids and has just been a blessing for us all "
A trio of Arkansas 2012 commits are expected to attend in Pottsville offensive lineman Jeremy Ward, Warren wideout Jalen Cobb and East Poinsett County linebacker A.J. Turner
Some other top names signed up are wideouts wideout Zac Brooks of Jonesboro, Bearden's Defonta Lowe, Jacksonville's D'Vone McClure and Fort Smith Northside's Shaquille Jones and Kenndric Burns, Cave City tight end Kody White, Greenbrier quarterback Neal Burcham, Vilonia running back James Sax, linemen Austin Moreton of Fort Smith Southside, Jason King of Pulaski Academy and McCrory's Jemar Clark
There' also linebacker Jeff Savage of Smackover, Strong running back Kenneth Dixon, cornerback Marquis Walker of Rison and Rod Ross of West Helena, Pulaski Academy quarterback Fredi Knighten and safety Aun'Arie Wallace, Bentonville athelte Desmond Smith and Camden Fairview's Derek Keaton, Little Rock Catholic standout Jordan Hartnedy, Sheridan linebacker Bailey McIver and Searcy tight end Jason Powell
Athletes will be tested in the 10, 20 and 40-yard dashes, bench press and vertical jump with all of it being put on video
While NCAA coaches are not allowed to attend as they once did, the combine makes the data – collected via RFID wristbands that load info immediately into the computer system - and video available to the coaches
"We have been able to build up a trust with those coaches so they know that when we measure them, when we time them, when we put them through the bench press, that they are getting accurate data," Maack said "A coach may say his kid runs a 4 5 and he shows up here and runs a 4 8 He may say the kid is 6-1 and we measure him and he is really 5-9, 5-10
"It really helps the coaches in that regard, but also the players," Maack added "I had a dad come up to me in the last year and say ‘Thank you Because of this camp and the info the coaches got, my son ended up getting a scholarship ' I think it was Middle Tennessee State Those are the stories you love to hear "
Sometimes it is also not about the 40-yard dash time, but the way the kid runs it
"We are able to video each kid running and the coaches can see how they are running it, how they could improve, the potential they have if they are taught to do it properly," Maack said We hear that a lot "
The event has been held at War Memorial Stadium for 11 of the previous 13 times, but will be held at North Little Rock's high school facilities this spring
"War Memorial Stadium was actually booked ahead of time, but as it turns out this is going to be a better situation for us," Maack said "North Little Rock has a weight room right there on the site so it is all set up They also just put down new turf in their stadium so that gives the kids a great surface to perform on "
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