All-American RB Toney Baker, TE/DE Jonathan Hannah, FB/LB Cedric Hickman, QB Jarrett Dunston and OL Chris Degeare were a few of the headliners while some other notables- LB Derek Nicholson, DB's Antonio Wardlow, Van Eskridge and James Arnold were not in attendance.
One person who did make the trip up was Florida State recruiting coordinator John Lilly and he made it a point to get in the line of sight of Mr. Baker. Once Baker began testing, it became apparent why schools from around the nation will be flocking to Ragsdale High School over the next nine months.
At 5-10, 217 pounds, Baker ripped off consecutive 40-yard dashes of 4.4 and 4.38-seconds. He proved he's not all about speed when he bench pressed 205 pounds 23 times. Baker also had an impressive vertical leap of 32-inches. Perhaps just as impressive as his physical attributes is his casual demeanor and unassuming manner. StateFans spoke with Baker for quite a bit and you would never know this was one of the nation's premier prospects simply by talking to him.
|Jamestown (NC) Ragsdale's Toney Baker was the top prospect in attendance, showcasing his speed here as he turns in a 4.37 40 mark.|
While Baker may have been the most impressive of the skill players, TE/DE Jonathan Hannah (6-4 254)of South View High School in Hope Mills, NC was arguably the top big man in attendance. He logged an impressive 4.76-second 40-yard dash and 27-inch vertical leap. Hannah has the great size, explosive start and long arms that could make him a force at a number of positions. Once he gets into a full-time strength and conditioning program- look out.
FB/LB Cedric Hickman (6-1 224) of N. Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, NC certainly passed the look test and may have been the most imposing physical presence on hand. He ran respectable 40-yard dashes of 4.62 and 4.69-seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 7 times.
One of the more impressive OL in attendance was Kyle Daye (6-0 319) from Jordan High School in Durham, NC. He ran a very respectable 5.12-second 40-yard dash, had a vertical leap of 22-inches and bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times.
Perhaps the funniest line of the day came when StateFans Editor James Henderson asked Ragsdale DB Simeon Platt (5-10 179) what he felt he did best on the football field. A teammate playfully chimed in, "play on the same team as Toney Baker." However, Platt put up some rather impressive numbers of his own- ripping off back to back 40-yard dashes of 4.34 and 4.41-seconds. Platt's brother, Andreas, signed with Duke this past February.
Every combine will yield a few surprises and Saturday's event did just that. One prospect that turned more than a few heads was LB Jimmy Martin (5-11 229) of TW Andrews High School in High Point, NC. Martin checked in at 6-0, 220 pounds and ripped off a 4.60-second 40-yard dash. One of the Shrine Bowl coaches was overheard asking Martin after his run, "Hey, big man, do you always run that fast?" Martin also posted a 27-inch vertical jump and bench pressed 225 pounds 16 times- one of the best numbers for anyone at the event. Martin is currently being recruited by all of the schools in the Big South Conference as well as UNC, Duke and Maryland. Expect the number of interested parties to increase if Martin can build on this performance. He currently favors NC State, Duke, Tennessee and Florida.
One player to potentially keep in mind for next year was Channing Powell of Salisbury (NC) High School. The rising junior ripped off a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and backed that up with a 31-inch vertical jump. If Powell can build on those accomplishments, he can expect a flood of recruiting letters next September.
Those were just some of the prospects who boosted their stock while doing workouts at the Ragsdale Shrine Bowl Combine this past weekend. The combines continue their tour of North Carolina this Saturday as prospects from the northeastern part of the state will attend the Greene Central Combine on March 8th at Greene Central High School.