LICHTENFELS: "In The Trenches" Part Four

Over the next two months will be traveling the nation in search of the top prospects. We will have the chance to see players who will be nominated for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and underclassmen who will be the stars of tomorrow. At times, you will also see an underdog, someone who wasn't on the radar, comes to the combine, and puts himself on the map.

I personally get the chance to coach the offensive and defensive linemen at each combine. After each combine I’ll present my personal evaluation of what we saw “In the trenches”, this will focus on the big boys. The guys who don’t get the press, but they are responsible for a large amount of a team’s success. My fourth report focuses on the linemen who attended our Auburn combine. Our fourth combine was held on Saturday, April 30th at Auburn University.

Because we covered four combines in a stretch of eight days, the weekly “In the Trenches” column is slightly delayed. I will try and finish up the Mississippi State and South Florida columns as soon as possible.

Offensive Line: To this point I would have to say our Auburn combine was from top to bottom the deepest in terms of overall line talent. One player who came to camp with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove was Buford (Ga.) offensive lineman Steven Singleton, 6-2.5 and 292 pounds. Singleton single handedly beat everyone at least once, if not more during the one-on-ones. He posted a (5.02) shuttle, (23”) vertical, (8.72) 3-cone, (5.54) 40-yard dash, and an (85”) standing broad jump.

Scouting Report: I for one cannot believe this prospect does not currently hold one offer. Singleton is extremely explosive, he has very good bend at the waist. I consider him to be a technician; he is very well coached and fundamentally sound. Singleton is quick enough to handle smaller and faster opponents, yet he has a strong enough base to be a solid run blocker as well. My prognosis is someone is going to get a very solid interior lineman when they sign Steven Singleton.

Does Douglas County (Ga.) lineman Travis Watson (right) possess great size? No he doesn’t. Does he possess great measurables? No he doesn’t. Can he play the game? Most definitely. Why? Because Watson is consistent, he goes hard every single play. He posted a (4.99) shuttle, (23.5”) vertical, (9.03) 3-cone, (5.75) 40-yard dash, and an (83”) standing broad jump. During the one-on-one portion of the drill, Watson quietly defeated almost everyone he faced. Yes, Mr. Watson earned my “Silent but Violent” award for the Auburn combine.

Scouting Report: Watson did not put up any eye-popping numbers, he doesn’t possess great size either, but he can play the game. He has a small center of gravity and he stays very low. He has quick hands and often beats the defensive lineman to the punch. A very compact and powerful player

Baldwin (Ga.) native Maurice Hurt (left), 6-3.5 and 344 pounds, was the prospect who seemed to get better as the day progressed. He posted a (5.30) shuttle, (25”) vertical, (9.19) 3-cone, and a (88”) standing broad jump. Hurt will more than likely be an interior lineman, which is what he is best suited for. Hurt did an adequate job in pass protection, but you can tell with his explosiveness he’ll be a road grader for someone.

Scouting Report: If Hurt sheds 20-30 pounds he could be an unstoppable force. That’s the one deficiency I saw was a lack of conditioning. In college he will not have that problem. Hurt still moves very well for a big man, and he bends well. He delivers a nice and efficient punch and he won’t stop until the whistle blows or you eat turf. Yes, eat turf and Hurt will bury you. He showed a nice mean streak which on the field is a terrific characteristic.

Potential and projection are standard recruiting terms, and if there is a prospect who could define both it would be Haleyville (Ala.) offensive lineman Heath Batchelor (right), 6-7 and 278 pounds. This kid has a frame that any college coach in America would love to get his hands on. He could very easily carry 30 more pounds, and you may not even tell that he added it. He posted a (4.79) shuttle, (27”) vertical, (9.19) 3-cone, (5.13) 40-yard dash, and a (98”) standing broad jump. Batchelor struggled at times in the one-on-one’s with the smaller quicker players, but matched up well with bigger prospects.

Scouting Report: Batchelor is very raw; a good offensive line coach could mold him into something very special. He appears to be very athletic for his size, he moves well laterally, he has great bend, and is light on his feet. A red shirt year and a solid weight program and look out because this could be a good one.

Yes combines, are combines and numbers don’t matter. How many times do we hear that? Well to some coaches it does matter and one player stood out above all the other linemen in the testing phase and that was Irmo (S.C.) Dutch fork offensive lineman Garrett Anderson (left), 6-4 and 264 pounds. He posted a (4.69) shuttle, (28.5) vertical, (8.15) 3-cone, (4.98) 40-yard dash, and a (94”) standing broad jump.

Scouting Report: Anderson is an amazingly smooth and gifted athlete. He has all the tools to be a very good interior lineman at the next level. He has outstanding speed and quickness to reach the second level. He is very explosive and could be an outstanding pulling guard or center.

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