Smack dab in the middle of March Madness will be a little football at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning.
The 11th annual FCA Combine will begin at 8:30 a.m. with some 160 of the state's top high school prospects on hand to go through a variety of drills.
"We rely on a group of coaches and a committee to bring kids here that truly have a chance to play college football," FCA Combine director B.J. Maack. "That doesn't mean that there are 160 players in Arkansas that we think will do that, but we do believe these are the kids that have the true potential to do so."
The combine – now being held in its third different month – makes a return outdoors to War Memorial after happening indoors at Benton High School last season.
It has also been held at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock and originally provided football coaches inside the state with an in-person look at the participants, who do not have to pay an entry fee due to the generosity of Dr. Kenneth Martin.
"Since the NCAA ruled that coaches couldn't attend this type of events, we tried to look at what was the best time for the kids," Maack said. "We had it nine years in May before moving it to January last year.
"We sent out a survey and it came back like 33 percent for Jan, 33 percent for May and 33 percent for March," Maack said. "So we just ended up deciding to try it in March."
While coaches can't be on hand, they will be able to access the results of what the participants do in the 40-yard dash, Short Shuttle, Vertical Jump, 3-Cone drill and bench press as well as their accurate height and weight.
"All results are made available to all colleges throughout the state via the internet and maybe one or two outside the state," Maack said. "They can see how the kids did that they are interested in recruiting and maybe come across a few new names."
Some of the names expected to be on hand that are thought to be involved with Arkansas are Little Rock Christian sophomore tailback Michael Dyer and junior quarterback Griffin Kuhn, Lake Hamilton junior quarterback Phillip Buttefield, Vilonia offensive lineman Tyler Stauch and CAC RB-LB Jasper Lee.
All of those young men have taken unofficial visits to Arkansas recently while Dyer has already been offered a scholarship.
Newport sophomore linebacker Thamail Morgan is considered a bona-fide Division I prospect and is signed up as is West Helena junior and UA commit Darius Winston, but he has a scheduling conflict according to a family relative.
The combine certainly has some famous alumni with former Razorbacks and current or future NFL players Darren McFadden, Matt Jones, DeAngelo Williams, Peyton Hillis, Jonathan Luigs and Jamaal Anderson.
"Some of these kids will likely go on to play at Arkansas, but also some might get a shot to play at Arkansas Tech or someplace like that because they came here," Maack said. "We try to make it an elite deal and help these kids out as much as we can."
It also serves as avenue to talk about off the field activities as well.
"It is a ministry of the FCA obviously so that is something that we get excited about and want to help the kids in that area of the lives also," Maack said. "It makes for a well-rounded event that we are very proud of."
11th Annual FCA Combine
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