Prospects like big lineman Kiante Tripp from Westlake High in Atlanta are coming to the AU campus to showcase their skills. A dominating figure on both sides of the ball for his high school team, Tripp says that he hopes to be a defensive player on the next level.
Soon to be a four-year starter this coming fall, Tripp played both defensive end and offensive tackle as a junior and played them well. On defense he averaged nearly eight tackles per game and also had 10 sacks.
At 6-7, 250 with what he says is a best 40-yard dash time of 4.6 seconds, Tripp will be one of the most sought after players in the country if he can duplicate that time on Saturday.
With his size and athletic ability there is no doubt that he's already hearing from schools all over the South who want him to take a look at their programs before next February. While he says that several colleges are in the mix at the moment, two are in the lead as he heads into the summer.
"I'm hearing from UGA, Miami, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and a few others at the moment," Tripp says. "I've got offers from all those except Miami and Georgia Tech. My favorite would be either Georgia or Auburn at the moment."
Two of the players expected at the combine are offensive lineman David Ross from Homewood and quarterback Earl Alexander from Central High in Phenix City. They are shown at the Alabama High School Athletic Association's all-star game for juniors played last December in Troy.
Despite growing up a Georgia fan he says that he really likes Auburn and the program after taking a visit last fall. "I just really like everything about Auburn," he notes. "I came to campus and all that. I went to a couple of their games and I like the style they play. I came to the Georgia game last year. I liked the atmosphere. It was packed."
In addition to his exploits on the football field, Tripp is also a standout on the hardwood for Westlake at power forward. Last season he averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds per game and is expected to be one of the top players in Georgia next season. He has started since his sophomore season in basketball, but Tripp says he realizes that football is the sport of the future for him and he's ready to work on improving his game before his senior season.
"I need to improve my speed," he says. "I have the size and strength, but I need to get quicker and work on my footwork because I'm going to play tight end this year. Last year I was the biggest, but also the quickest, lineman out there."
In addition to Tripp there are expected to be some of the top players from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee in attendance for Saturday's combine.
Ricks is the younger brother of Auburn redshirt freshman linebacker Courtney Harden. Ensminger also has an Auburn connection. His father Steve coaches tight ends for the Tigers.
Others that should draw a lot of attention include Dominic Brooks and Kevin Thompson from Spring Valley High in Columbia, S.C. That is the high school that produced current Auburn Tigers Travis Williams and Leon Hart. Also expected in is defensive tackle Kenneth Scott from T.L. Hanna High in South Carolina, the school featured in the movie "Radio".