With better than 200 athletes in attendance, the Scout.com combine held at Duke on Saturday was loaded with numerous division one prospects. Pack Pride was on hand and breaks down many of the players that caught our eye during the day's event.
- WR Jay Smith of Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, Va proved he is definitely one of the east coast's top prospects with an eye-opening performance. He checked in at 6-2, 185 pounds and ran 40-yard dashes of 4.47 and 4.5-seconds. However, it was in one on one drills where he really stood out showing an amazing blend of size, speed, concentration and just overall knowledge of the wideout position. He is very fluid in his movements and cuts and could get physical with opposing DB's that tried to jam him at the line. Of all the wide receivers we watched, Smith was certainly the most polished. He currently has NC State atop his leader board and will make a collegiate decision over the summer.
- DT Tydreke Powell from Hertford County High School was one of the top defensive line prospects in attendance and told us he was surprised recently when he received an offer from Miami. He looked solid in one on one drills and should be a fixture in North Carolina's top ten list this year. He currently favors UNC and it appears likely he want venture too far away from home. NC State did not make his top three when we talked to him today.
- QB Peter Lalich from W Springfield (Va) High School chose not to test on Sunday but he did participate in one on one drills. He had the best mechanics of any of the QB's in attendance and reminded us of Jonathan Crompton who went to Tennessee a couple of years ago. He has a strong arm and was generally impressive all around. He made an unofficial visit to NC State on Saturday and came away impressed after spending time with coach Amato and coach Trestman. The Pack did make his top five but Virginia still holds the upper hand for him. He will make a decision in May.
- QB Rodney Cox from Harnett Central High School told us that NC State is his current leader. He ran a very impressive 4.69-second 40-yard dash. Cox looked good in drills but was clearly behind several of the others with his mechanics. Schools may look at taking him as a QB but it would certainly not surprise us to see him ultimately end up at TE or even WR.
- We did not see Ryan Houston perform in any of the drills but he certainly looked to have put on quite a bit of weight. One unconfirmed report had him weighing in at 274 pounds. In any event, it's hard to picture him staying at TB in college if he doesn't keep his weight under control.
- S Carl Brooks from E Wake High School has been high on NC State in the past and ran a 4.72-second 40-yard dash on Sunday.
- RB/DB Kevin Snelling from Harnett Central is a kid that is really put together and he impressed in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.5-seconds. If his grades are together he will likely generate a ton of recruiting interest this year. He checked in at 5-10, 182 pounds.
- RB Daronte McNeil from Northeastern High School certainly passes the look test but disappointed somewhat with a 40-yard dash of 5.09-seconds. We did not catch his second run, however which may have been better. He is hearing from the Pack but it doesn't appear State is heavily involved at this point.
- QB Quan Sturdivant from W Stanly was probably the third best QB we saw behind Lalich and Tyrod Taylor from Hampton, Va. He showed decent mechanics and arm strength and his accuracy was good as well. Sturdivant really impressed us with his 4.57-second 40-yard dash. He currently has NC State and UNC out front.
- One of the most impressive defensive ends we watched was Cliff Mathews from Cheraw, SC. He has a long, lean frame with an impressive wingspan and he excelled in one on one drills. Mathews ran a 4.81-second 40-yard dash. NC State recently offered Mathews.
- Ironically, the best defensive lineman we watched was actually supposed to be an offensive lineman, or so we thought. Quintin Richardson from Columbia, SC received an offer from NC State this past week to go along with about a dozen others and it was easy to see why in one on one drills. He has a tremendous frame and he put it to good use as he was basically unblockable during the workout. Richardson was at NC State on Saturday and the Pack made his top five after a very successful visit. We suspect South Carolina will have a lot to say about Richardson ultimately going out of state, however.
- RB Tyrell Worthington from South Central High School is another kid that impressed us with his overall athleticism, agility and physical build. He was timed at 4.69-seconds in the 40 yard dash. Worthington recently added offers from VT and UVA to go along with early offers from NC State and UNC. Although he shied away from naming favorites, we think State is looking pretty good here.
- LB Barquell Rivers, RB Michael Bowman and OL Trinton Sturdivant from Anson County were all in attendance. Rivers ran the 40 in 4.79 seconds while Bowman was timed at 4.72 seconds. We did not see Sturdivant do any testing as he has been rehabbing from an injury. Physically, Rivers reminds of us former Pack LB Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay and will likely play in the 220 pound range down the road. NC State made his cut of top schools and he was really impressed with his recent trip to State for junior day. Another school we think will figure prominently is UNC.
- ATH Danny Dembry from Hertford County recently picked up an offer from NC State to go along with one from East Carolina and those two look strong for the talented junior currently. ECU is recruiting Dembry as a QB which may give them a slight edge although Hertford County coach Greg Watford told us Dembry was really impressed with his visit to NC State.
- Justin Byers from Vance High School has been offered by NC State and the Pack is definitely on his list of favorites. Although he didn't name a leader he did tell us the fact that NC State offered first will carry a lot of weight.
- It was interesting listening to S Matt Thompson talk about his reputation as a head hunter on the field. He joked about how he's knocked himself out on a couple of big hits. He ran a respectable 4.7-second 40-yard dash and checked in at 6-1, 196 pounds. The coach running the DB drills told Pack Pride he was one of the top two defensive backs in attendance. At this point he has an offer from Georgia Tech but it would surprise us if he doesn't commit to the Pack if they offer.
- OL Desmond Roberts looked a little uncomfortable playing a tackle-type spot in one on one drills as he normally plays center in high school. His lower body is huge and he will be a mammoth player once he fills out in his upper body. He told us NC State is his current favorite.
- RB Darryl Vereen from N. Mecklenburg High School has an offer from Duke and he told us he think State is close. After blistering the field with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, he may get a closer look. Vereen told us he had just talked to coach Portee on Saturday and the Pack will be a major player should they decide to offer.
- One sleeper who may garner some looks this year is DT Jamarcus Duncan from South Granville High School. He measured in at 6-0, 313 pounds and ran the 40 in 5.34-seconds. Duncan looked good in drills, showing good burst off the line and some impressive toughness. He has been receiving mail from the Pack and was invited to a game this past season.
- The most active award may have gone to WR Greg Little from Hillside High School. Although he didn't run the 40, Little didn't shy away from one on one drills and was on the field repeatedly taking on anyone that wished to challenge him. Little is extremely well built and has unquestionable ability. However, he really strikes us as a great athlete playing wide receiver. Little isn't necessarily a natural at the position and would probably be more effective at S or LB although most schools will likely recruit him as a wideout.
Here's a few other tidbits from the combine:
The Dekoda Watson Award for player who seemingly came out of nowhere
S Chris Culliver from Garner told us he hasn't heard from any schools for football. Maybe that will change after his impressive performance Sunday. He measured in at 6-2, 190 pounds, and ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. Culliver also posted a 34-inch vertical leap. He was just as impressive in one on one drills.
One to watch for next year
OT Vinston Painter from Maury, Va is just a sophomore now but this kid looked great in one on one drills. He has a great frame, super long arms and will definitely have coaches checking him out next year.
Top performers from each position (Not all positions are listed because it was too difficult to judge RB's and LB's in this setting. Also, this is just our opinion and others may have seen things differently.)
Top Wide Reciever
Tie- Jay Smith and Mark Barnes
Top Offensive Lineman
Top Defensive Lineman