Tavion Thomas (Allen Trieu / Scout)

Recap: Best of the Midwest Combine

The Best of the Midwest Combine in Indianapolis is always one with a lot of talent. This year was no exception as top names held serve and new names emerged onto the radar.


 - At quarterback, Dearborn (Mich.) Divine Child's Theo Day, Westerville (Ohio) Central's Isaiah Healy, and Kokomo (Ind.) product Kyle Wade were awarded. Of the three, Day is the one who has the big offers right now (Michigan State, Boston College, etc.). He is tall, has natural arm talent and athleticism as well. Healy throws a nice ball. He is accurate and has touch. He's right around 6-foot-1, 180 pounds. Wade is a little bigger at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and showed some good zip on his passes. 

 - Both running back MVPs are big time. Tavion Thomas from Dayton Dunbar is on an offer hot streak that has included Alabama and Ohio State. For a big back, he is fluid, has good burst and he competes hard. He had good results as a blocker. He looked the part. Jaren Mangham from Detroit Cass Tech is a 2019 kid, but like Thomas, he has a bigger frame. He is not as thick as Thomas yet, but passes the eye test and he also competed hard as a blocker and caught the ball well in drills. He has several BCS offers including Mississippi State and most recently, Indiana.


 - Lansing (Mich.) Sexton's Cody Blankenburg and Gahanna (Ohio) The Columbus Academy's Jerome Buckner were the wide receiver MVPs. Neither is particularly big, but both are explosive kids who can cut on a dime and create separation. Both also caught the ball very consistently. Buckner ran a 4.47 forty at the event. Cincinnati Moeller's Jack McCracken, a taller, lean tight end, won his positional MVP award. A high school wideout, he shows good ball skills and ability to use his frame to win 1-1 battles. 

 - On the offensive line, four-star center Tyrone Sampson turned in another dominating camp performance on his way to MVP honors. When he gets locked on, it's over. He's very strong and almost always is balanced and has his feet under him. One rep, he tripped and lost, other than that, he stoned everyone else. I've seen him for three years now and the amount of 1-1 reps I've seen him lose is still in the single digits. Indianapolis (Ind.) Franklin Central's Payton Ditchley was one of the surprises of the event. He beat out several players with D1 offers for the other OL MVP honor and did that with a good run of one on ones.


 - Sammy Obiang was one of the defensive line MVPs. He won reps consistently with his quickness off the ball but also strength. He took on the best and won regularly. At 6-foot-1, 280 pounds, he may not have elite size, but is a kid who should turn a lot of heads on the camp circuit. Ecorse (Mich.) tackle Ahmed Weathers is similar in that he may not have your prototypical frame (5-11, 323 pounds) but he has some explosion for a kid of that size and has been tough to block during the last few camps we've seen him at.

 - The linebacker MVPs were Indianapolis Ben Davis junior Sir'Zion Dance, Reynoldsburg (Ohio) sophomore Dezman Cooper and Hilliard (Ohio) Bradley sophomore Cannon Blauser. Dance is a little undersized, but strong, technically sound and competes. Cooper, at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and Blauser, at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, are longer kids who are going to keep filling out. Both look like they will be highly recruited.

 - At defensive back, Patrick Lupro from Belleville (Mich.) repeated as MVP. He is physical, technical and competitive. Kokomo (Ind.) got their second MVP in safety @Luke Cameron, not a prospect we previously knew a ton about, but he showed good size and did well in coverage drills and 1-1s.

Other Top Performers

Michigan State wide receiver commit Joseph Scates is an excellent prospect with size and top notch athleticism. A four-star, he has excellent upside and showed more polish this year than he did at the event last year, so it was good to see the progression although he can still be a little more consistent catching the football. Wandale Robinson from Kentucky was very impressive with his quickness and ability to separate. Not a big guy, but definitely one to watch. Julian Barnett is a super athlete in the 2019 class who ran a 4.41 forty.

 - At quarterback Michael Lynn from Lansing (Mich.) threw the ball well.

 - On the offensive line, Devontae Dobbs was the most heavily recruited prospect there and he continues to show his immense talent. There is room for improvement there technically, but he has excellent tools along with competitiveness and some nasty to him. His future teammate, an 8th grader named Damon Payne, showed high upside. He is not scared to compete against older players and already has good size at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds. He looks like a future blue-chipper. Teammate Thomas Hornberger is not as big as those guys but he is strong and plays with good balance and technique.


 - A couple offensive linemen also emerged. In the 2018 class, Trey Livingood was excellent. He played center despite playing other positions in high school and we like his potential in the middle. Luke Martin showed why he has several D1 offers as he is a strong kid with good technique. He has several D1 schools in contact. Will Christopher from Illinois (North Mac HS) had a good day as well. Charlie O'Connor had several good reps against some of the better defensive linemen at the camp as did Aaron Ervin and Nathan Grey both from Ohio. 

In the 2019 class, Cincinnati Anderson's Zeke Corell was outstanding. We really liked his performance and he will be a prospect who draws a lot of interest. Detroit East English's James Drain, Canton McKinley's Charles Turner and Avon (Ind.)'s D.J. Bowles were among the best 2019s in attendance.

Dane is a feisty 2020 center who is already ahead of the game as far as technique, strength and competitiveness. The younger brother of Kentucky center Drake Jackson, we just need to see how much Dane grows over the next few years, but he's a really good young player.

 - On the defensive line, Madison Norris was excellent. He is very athletic and quick off the ball. Willie Ervin is another edge guy who shows twitch and quickness. Both are on the lighter side but have the frames to add weight. Antrez Baker is a little bigger and may be a strongside guy or inside guy later in his career. Aidan Hutchinson shows good athleticism and bend for a kid that's 6-foot-5. He has gotten bigger and stronger as well. For the second straight week, Elijah Ratliff used his quickness off the snap and motor to win reps. Dale Robinson from Dayton Dunbar and Zach Ferris from Pulaski (Ky.) were two lesser-known juniors who had good days.

Jeremiah Burton from Westerville (Ohio) North, Jalen Hunt from Belleville (Mich.) and Tank Booker from Cincinnati Winton Woods were among the top class of 2019 performers.

Akeem Mestidor from Canada and Mike Sessoms from Ecorse (Mich.) were two of the top freshmen performers/

 - Other running backs who stood out were Indianapolis Ben Davis' Johnny Adams, who is not only fast, but willing to get physical during blocking drills. Indianapolis Howe's Alfred Armour looks the part and had a good performance in drills. Michael Drennen is a good young back in the 2020 class who already has a Kentucky offer.

 - Two young linebackers to watch are Indianapolis Cathedral's Richie Hagarty and Belleville's Marvin Ham. Louisville Ballard's Jared Casey is another 19 with excellent size. May be an end later in his career.

 - Other defensive backs we liked were Indianapolis Ben Davis' Elijah Ball and Kevin Brewer from Bedford (Ohio). Moses Douglass is a 2019 kid with great size and footwork. Art Herndon knocked away several passes in 1-1s and covered well during the day. Reese Taylor is a QB/ATH and worked at several positions but he showed the ability to play DB, which is a spot som schools will see him at. Andre Seldon Jr., a 2020 from Belleville (Mich.), has great makeup speed (4.46) and cover skills for a young guy. Cass Tech counterpart Xavier Goldsmith also has excellent cover technique and did well in 1-1s.


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