As usual, the combine didn't disappoint in terms of volumes of prospects. What I am going to focus on are the prospects that caught my eye. Again, I may well have missed some players in the mass of kids, but for the most part I think these players had very good days.
HT' = Height in inches
HT = Height
WT = Weight
40 = 40-yard dash
SH = Shuttle
LC = L Drill (Cones)
VJ = Vertical
SBJ = Standing Broad Jump
Jonathan Davis – Tucker – Linebacker
I think Davis is neck and neck with ECI running back Washaun Ealey as the top prospect in state. It's hard to believe the numbers Davis puts up. If I was not there to witness what he was doing I would have a hard to believing they were totally accurate. I knew Davis was fast, but I didn't give him much chance of running a sub 4.4 40-yard dash, but he managed to do that. That's amazing. I guess he just doesn't "look" as fast as he really is.
Davis also had one of the top cone drill times. In terms of the players in attendance, I know he's was the best "football" player there. In terms of the physical tests being performed he did have some prospects in his league.
Davis is just so explosive – something that's nice to have in a linebacker. I know he's interested in playing a little running back in school – and that's fine – but I really think he's a linebacker in college. He reminds me of Rennie Curran in that he's small in stature, but he seems to get to every single ball carrier. Yeah, Davis is short – what's your problem? He doesn't make enough tackles for you? Did he not score enough touchdowns to impress you? Get over his height.
Just after Davis opened eyes with his 40 number, someone who watched Tucker a lot said to me: "Seriously Dean, you've seen him run away from guys all the time at Tucker – you knew he was fast." Yeah, I knew he was fast, but I guess, and this is coming from someone who is not in love with a 40 time, that Davis impressed me with his 40 dash. He knew how to run it. He wasn't just out there running – he knew what to do in the situation. I just struck me as an impressive number to put up. So was his 36.5 vert. If you want explosive in a linebacker I'd say a 36.5 vert with a 4.37 40 gets you that… wonder why he was in the Dean's List so long ago…?
You've not heard the last of Jonathon Davis.
Connor Norman – Peachtree Ridge – Cornerback
Norman will get noticed after putting together one of, if not the best performances in the combine. Norman ended the day with a fourth place effort in the 40 (a stunning 4.39), sixth in shuttle, second in the L drill, third in vertical and 15th in broad jump.
In terms of showing up and putting up numbers Norman, who no one knew about, was up there with Davis and Troupe County's Brandon Davis (more on him later). Here is what I pieced together about Norman during the event: He beat out Virginia Tech commit Cameron Demps at corner for Peachtree Ridge during the season, and then went on to hold Southern Cal commit Brice Butler to only two catches in the Lions' 26-14 win.
I am not sure where he will go to school, but it seems to me he's got all the tools needed to play in a BCS-level conference. I'm not saying Georgia or others in the top five are going to knock down the door to talk with him, but I am suggesting that Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Maryland and others are going to take a look at him now. The numbers don't lie.
Brandon Davis – Troupe County – Cornerback
I am not sure what Davis' recruiting situation is, but, like Connor, he increased his stock with the athletic show he put on Saturday. His 3.9 shuttle run was the best of the day. He followed that up with a 37-inch vertical and a 123-inch broad jump. Clearly Davis can jump. I didn't get a lot of time with Davis, but my guess is that if schools are not yet on him they will be soon.
Jamal Patterson – Henry County – Wide Receiver
Patterson is one of the top pass catchers in the state, and he felt like he had a pretty good day Saturday – I agreed. He had never performed the broad jump or cone drill, but did much better than most. He was second fiddle at Henry County this past year, but that won't be the case in the fall. His goal is to exceed 1,600 receiving yards in a season. The way Henry County spreads it out he's got a shot at that mark… if they can get a round or two into the playoffs.
Patterson is going to take a look at South Carolina and Florida State over the next few weekends. He will also travel to Wake Forest to take in their situation. Patterson told me Willie Martinez was by Henry County the other day to pick up his transcripts – a sign the Bulldogs are increasing their interest in him.
Typically wide receivers are not overwhelmingly physical specimens. I don't think you can say Patterson is a huge prospect – he's slender with a frame to add more size in the future – but he does not have a bird chest. I would have liked to see Patterson catch a ball or work against an opponent. I may get that change this spring during football practices. Patterson is also a track guy.
Troy Davis – Berkmar – Linebacker
I've you've not heard of Troy Davis that's ok. You've heard of him now. Davis looks the part for sure. He had a heck of a day. So far only Richmond and Virginia have offered… that will change very soon. He's a linebacker with a 38-inch vertical – that's prettty explosive for a linebacker?
Brock Sanders – Northview – Tight End
I like the way Brock Sanders can move. There is nothing wrong with being a little undersized if you can shake it a little, and for a guy who will quite obviously get bigger (see his father) having the feet to go with it is a good thing. Sanders needs to spend some quality time pounding out the weights. Even as a tight end he's too small right now for college. But that's ok. He's got a great frame to add some serious weight. I would love to see him add about 25-35 pounds. Of the players over 200 pounds only Sanders and Troy Davis had a 40 time below 4.65
Eric McDaniel – Calhoun – Defensive Tackle
The best big man in the class of 2009 was Calhoun's Eric McDaniel. Big boy did well running a five flat 40-yard dash. No one over 255 pounds had a better L-cone score and only one player had a better broad jump number than him. McDaniel was an impressive big man to watch Saturday.
Here are a few players I would keep track of for the coming years. James Vaughters looks like the next big thing coming from Tucker. He does not look like a 9th grader, but the 6-0, 202 linebacker will get his chance to shine next season for the Tigers. Jeffery Whitaker, from Warner Robbins, looked ready to put a college practice jersey on, but the 2010 prospect will have to wait two more seasons for that chance. Just a hair under 300 pounds and standing 6-3, Whitaker more than holds his own in the rough and tumble 1-AAAAA. He had respectable numbers for a 300-pound guy, placing no worse than second among that group in the L-cone and the other running drills. Whitaker was significantly better than his hefty competition in explosion drills, however, turning in a 27-inch vertical and a 96-inch broad jump.