Elite Combine: Top Defensive Players

This past Monday evening, coaches from almost every major conference were gathered in Randolph, New Jersey to take in the 3rd Annual Elite College Combine. This may have been "the wideout combine" with Greg Little and Toney Clemons in attendance, but there were several impressive defensive players as well.

With May Evaluation Period upon us, college coaches are scouring the country in an attempt to further evaluate prospective recruits.  A major component of their task is attending spring practices and combines so they can gauge a prospect's ability first hand.  On Monday evening, coaches from almost every major conference were gathered in Randolph, New Jersey to take in the 3rd Annual Elite College Combine.  This combine is quickly emerging as the best of its kind, to host "Elite" talent, and Monday was no different.  The big names didn't disappoint, and there was also a group of lesser known prospects who turned in great performances.

Washington D.C. defensive tackle Marvin Austin was the best defensive player on hand, and possibly the best player overall.  Austin's speed and quickness was to much for anybody to handle, as he dominated everyone he went up against, except for Piscataway N.J. offensive tackle Anthony Davis.  It was also easy to see why Austin is a fan favorite at events like this, as he's never short for words, and he's always willing to tell anyone who listens about how good he is.

Other defensive linemen who stood out were: Lamar Middleton from Shabazz HS in NY, Devon Still of Howard HS in Delaware, and Tony Tucker of St. Johns in Maryland.  Still may have the most upside of the group -- if he can put on another 20 pounds (at 6-5, 250) and keep his quickness, he will be a problem for offensive coordinators.  The 6-3, 255 pound Tucker may be a bit undersized for DE, but he makes up for it with his athleticsm and non-stop motor.  Middleton posses great strength, and he is an ideal prospect for any team that runs a 3-4 defense since, at 6-3, 220, he could also excel as a stand- up backer.

While nobody really stood out at linebacker, the talent at defensive back did more than make up for it.

Although Philly CB Darryl Robinson didn't show up until halfway through the combine, that didn't stop the West Virginia commit from shutting down every reciver he faced.  He even had a memorable encounter with Toney Clemons, jamming him up at the line and rerouting the silky smooth wideout.  Clemons later had a rematch with Robinson where he had him beat deep although the QB was unable to deliver the ball accurately.  Nevertheless, Robinson was outstanding, he has great coverage skills, and his burst in out of his backpedal is outstanding. 

Four other defensive backs that impressed were:  Chaz Cervino of Depaul HS in New Jersey, Evan Rodriquez of North Bergen HS in New Jersey, Max Suter of Greensburg Central Catholic HS in PA, and Jehovan Livingston of Bergen Catholic in New Jersey. 

Cervino came in as an unknown but made it a point to open up the eyes of college coaches by targeting Greg Little as the guy he would make his name off of.  Cervino did a great job on Little, staying right with him the wideout through his double moves and knocking the ball away several times -- marking himself as a physical corner who's not afraid to take chances.  Rodriquez is a big safety (6-3, 200) with great closing speed -- if he puts on another 10 pounds, he will be recruited as a linebacker.  The 5-10, 180 pound Suter was very impressive, and showed great athletic ability and technique.  The 5-11, 170 pound Livingston was all over the place, using his great speed to close on in on recievers and knock the ball down.


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