In The Trenches

Over the next three 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 under dog, someone who wasn't on the radar who comes to the combine and puts themselves on the map.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to coach a rather large group of offensive linemen at the Durham combine. We had a fiery group, and the smack talk was great. After each combine I'll present my personal evaluation about 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 comes after a successful combine in Durham, N.C. on the campus of Duke University. After two weekends off we will hit the road again on April 15, when we arrive at Georgia Tech.

Offensive Lineman

There were two linemen on offense who I thought were outstanding, but overall Micah Carter, of Woodrow Wilson High in Beckley, W.Va., was my top dog. Carter checked in at 6-foot-1, 308 pounds, which by most people's standards is small. I challenge any coach to watch this kid and say he couldn't play on your team. He is one of those guys who doesn't test well, but get him in combat and its go time.

During the one-on-one's, I honestly cannot remember seeing Carter get beat. The only guy's who may have beaten him would be Johnny Evans or Byron Clear off the edge. Carter worked out as a tackle, but he is clearly an interior guy.

Scouting Report: Prototype interior lineman moves well and is very strong. Good lateral movement and knee bend. Explosive out of the crouch delivers a great initial punch and locks on. Shows tenacity and finishes his blocks. A very good leverage player.

Landon Walker was right there with Carter as the top two linemen on offense. Walker of East Wilkes, N.C., measured in at 6-6 and 259 pounds. He ran a 5.19 forty and a 4.78 shuttle. If I wanted to see a good defensive lineman challenged I would get Walker or Carter on them.

During the one-one's, Walker was dominant. He is a kid that seemed to be well coached and everything was natural to him.

Scouting Report: Walker has a great frame, he is the kind of kid you look at and you can easily envision him adding 30 pounds and carrying it well. Walker uses his tremendous wing span to his advantage, which is rare for a high school kid. He redirects the defenders momentum very well. Shows great knee bend and looks athletic and fluid when he moves.

Sergio Glenn of North Forsyth, N.C., makes the "In the Trenches" feature for two reasons. One is he deserves it, but the second is because he likes it. You have to reward your followers. The first thing that caught my eye about Glenn was his uncanny resemblance to Phillip Taylor of Gwynn Park, MD. Glenn ran an impressive 5.37 in the forty at 6-6, 324 pounds.

During the one-on-one's, Glenn was swatting folks away like a fly on the screen door. I honestly don't think Sergio realizes his own strength. With traps that almost touch his earlobes that is hard to believe.

Scouting Report: Glenn has a great frame, he is athletic and very strong. He has a very high ceiling at the next level. Once he puts everything together the skies the limit for him.

A future star was revealed in Durham, that star is Vinston Painter from Maury, Va. Painter, 6-5 and 315 pounds is very raw, but you can just see the potential oozing out of this prospect. He has as good of a body as you'll see in a 315-pound person.

During the one-on-one's, Painter showed flashes of brilliance and at time's he showed flashes of being the young sophomore that he is.

Scouting Report: Last year at this time we saw a sensational sophomore named Marvin Austin who we knew would be destined for greatness. While I won't say Painter is on Austin's level, I do think he'll be a high profile recruit. He has a very good frame and could easily carry even more weight. He is put together, a very strong young player. If he develops over the next two seasons like he should, he could be a very special player.

Defensive Linemen

Last year at Duke, we found DeKoda Watson who literally beat everyone in his path. Watson has since signed with Florida State. This year, there was another undersized defensive end Johnny Evans from Southern Durham who put on a show. Evans, checked in at 6-1 and 186 pounds. He ran a 4.35 shuttle and posted a 32" vertical and a 9-0 standing broad jump.

During the one-on-one's, Evans was rarely defeated. As with most combines, once someone starts getting your attention everyone wants a shot at him. Evans did earn a catchy new nickname also "New York" he wore a Yankees toboggan to help fend off the 40 degree temperatures.

Scouting Report Evans is undersized for a defensive end, probably a better fit as an outside linebacker. Evans is a tough competitor never once did he back down from anyone. He has a tremendous burst and is very explosive. He uses his hands well and is deceptively strong.

Byron Clear of Jamestown, Va., like Evans is a little undersized but productive. Clear checked in at 6-5 and 205 pounds. He ran a 4.57 forty and a 4.44 shuttle. He registered a 36" vertical and a 9-11 standing broad jump.

During the one-on-one's, Clear used his speed to beat most of the lineman off the edge.

Scouting Report Clear would be a good fit as an outside linebacker in the right system. Clear could play defensive end, but he must add some weight to his frame. Clear is an outstanding athlete as his numbers in the testing phases of the combine. He is fast and has a great burst off the edge. There's no doubt that Clear can play, it's just a matter of him being in the right scheme.

Tydreke Powell from Hertford County checked in at 6-4 and 294 pounds. Powell showed what you would hope to see from a defensive tackle at a combine. He showed good burst and he consistently got a good up field push.

During the one-on-one's, Powell showed great strength and tenacity.

Scouting Report: Powell is a great leverage player; he stays low and explodes off the ball. He needs to learn better technique, instead of relying on his strength. Strength will get you by high school but not in college. He seemed to get better as the day progressed, which shows me he is competitive.

Junius Lewis of Morgantown, W.Va., much like Powell showed all that you could be hoping to see from a defensive tackle at a combine. Lewis checked in at 6-3 and 270 pounds, he ran a 5.25 forty and posted a 29" vertical and an 8-2 standing broad jump.

During the one-on-one's, Lewis showed a lot of grit and toughness. He never quit until the whistle blew regardless if he got to the quarterback or not.

Scouting Report: Lewis is very athletic and he plays with leverage. He is very tenacious and gets after it every play. He has a non-stop motor. Lewis is a warrior he goes until the whistle blows.

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