Brown Impresses at First Shrine Bowl Combine

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- The 2007 Shrine Bowl combines kicked off this weekend on the campus of Richmond County High School and several big-time prospects impressed throughout the event.

The combine consisted of four events: vertical jump, bench press (185 pounds), pro shuttle, and the 40-yard dash. The 40-yard dash was completed on the practice football field with athletes running in cleats. After testing the players completed individual drills with the coaches.

Hope Mills (NC) Gray's Creek super athlete Marquan Brown stole the show. Measuring it at just under 5'7 (barefoot) and 148 pounds, Brown isn't the biggest of players but his combination of strength, speed, and agility is nearly unmatched.

Brown completed 13 reps of 185 pounds on the bench, and he also ripped off a 34.2-inch vertical and a blistering 3.98 pro shuttle. He caught the attention of everyone when, on his first run in the 40-yard dash, Brown ran a 4.19 and a 4.17 on the official watches, with others having him at 4.11 and 4.21. Officially, his time was recorded at 4.19 and he was instructed to run his final attempt with all six watches timing him.

On his final run, Brown's time was officially recorded at 4.23, with four of the watches having him below 4.25.

"I thought I'd do good in the 40, but I didn't expect the bench reps," said Brown. "I haven't been in the weightroom at all because of track. I've done way more reps before, but I haven't been lifting."

Expect college coaches to turn up the heat on Brown if he continues to post strong combine numbers because on the field he is as productive as any player in the state. As a junior, he rushed for 1,510 yards and 17 touchdowns on just 119 carries (12.7 yards per carry). He added 20 receptions for 631 yards five more scores, averaging an astounding 31.6 yards per catch. Brown also made his mark defensively, as he tallied seven interceptions.

East Carolina has made him a priority early on.

"ECU has been paying a lot of attention," said Brown. "Coach Junior Smith, I like him a lot. He's just like me in that he was small, and he played running back also. I can relate to him a lot. I feel real comfortable around him because he knows where I come from."

NC State, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Florida State are expressing heavy interest. Brown, who grew up a Wolfpack fan, feels NC State might be close to firming up an earlier offer.

"State offered me a full ride, but that was under the old coaching staff," he said. "They said they are going to start thinking about offering me again. I like them a lot. That's my first team, but I'm keeping my options open.

"I'm going to wait a little. I'll have my decision before the end of the summer because I want to know where I'm going before my year starts."

Some may knock Brown because of his size, but he is one of the state's elite players. A few years back, recruiting analyst Miller Safrit stated that Jawarski Pollack wasn't too small to play in the ACC, and that he would be a very good player.

Pollack, who was listed at 5-foot-7 throughout his career, did more than that. He finished his career as North Carolina's all-time receptions leader. Brown, according to Safrit, is much more explosive than Pollack was as a high schooler.

Two other running backs performed well and drew praise from position coaches. Mt. Gilead (NC) West Montgomery's Vince Jordan and West Columbus athlete Travis Leggett had strong days.

Jordan checked in at 5'9.5 and 197 pounds and tallied 24 reps on the bench. He also ripped off a 35.9-inch vertical jump and a 4.06 pro shuttle to go along with his 4.35 40-yard dash time.

"I think I did alright," said Jordan. "There were a few things I could improve on... probably bench and I still want to work on my 40 and vertical."

Jordan plans on camping at NC State, Auburn and Wake Forest this summer as he is still searching for his first offer. We'll have film up on Jordan later this week.

As a junior, Jordan totaled 167 carries for 1,269 yards with 15 touchdowns. Seven of his touchdown runs were longer than 33 yards, and he added two kickoff returns for scores. Defensively, Jordan tallied 115 tackles with 20 tackles for a loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Leggett, who sports a 4.0 GPA, excelled in one-on-one drills and at the various stations. He measured in 5'11.5 and 199 pounds and finished with 23 reps on the bench. He also posted a 32-inch vertical, 4.33 pro shuttle, and a 4.54 40-yard dash time.

"I feel good about the bench and the 40," said Leggett. "I didn't think I'd do that many reps, and my second time in the 40 was pretty good."

Leggett stated that his early top two was Virginia Tech and NC State.

Despite playing out of position in 2006, Leggett still managed to tally 1,320 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns while averaging nearly seven yards per carry. That came on the heels of an impressive junior campaign that saw him rush for better than 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Leggett proved to be equally effective at defensive back- registering 50 tackles and six interceptions as a junior. He finished the season will all-conference, all-area and all-region honors.

The two best linemen at the event were Wilmington natives, as Hoggard OL Jonathan Cooper and New Hanover OL Nick Becton both impressed.

Cooper is very polished fundamentally and physically ready to play. A stout 6'3 and 285 pounds, Cooper had a 24-inch vertical, and he benched 185 pounds 27 times. He also ran a 5.24 40-yard dash, one of the best times among the linemen.

Becton has plenty of upside, and physically you might not find a better offensive line prospect. Becton measured in at 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, but ripped off a 5.15 40-yard dash, the fastest time among the offensive linemen. His 4.68 in the pro shuttle also stood out, as did his 28.3-inch vertical jump, both strong numbers for an offensive lineman. Becton ended the day by repping 185 pounds 16 times, a number he will improve on as he stays in the weightroom.

During drills, Becton's inexperience as an offensive lineman was evident. He just completed his first season on the gridiron, and he has a lot of room for improvement, but Becton has all the measurables to be a quality offensive lineman on the next level. Also, his 4.9 GPA isn't too shabby, as Becton, who holds offers from ECU and NC State, hopes to major in business.

Laurinburg (NC) Scotland linebacker Terrell Manning was a late arrival, and he continued his push to be the state's top prospect with a strong performance.

Physically, Manning screams outside linebacker as he checked in at 6'3.75 and 201 pounds with a frame that can easily add 30-40 pounds.

"Schools are saying to not worry about my weight right now, and the reason I'm losing it is because I'm running track," said Manning.

Manning tallied 16 reps on the bench and a 33-inch vertical jump. Because he was nursing a sprained ankle, he chose to not attempt the pro shuttle, and nearly sat out the 40 before his competitive side took over.

On his first attempt, Manning recorded a 4.89 and topped that with a 4.74 on his second attempt.

Manning stated that he is starting to focus on recruiting as he hopes to have a decision late this summer or at the end of his senior season at the latest. He plans on enrolling early so he can gain some weight and compete for a starting position in 2008.

There are leaders, but Manning didn't want to go public with them.

"I have favorites, but I'm not going to put them out right now," he said. "I don't want to put out that information."

We'll have more from Manning later this week.

  • Next Saturday the Shrine Bowl tour will continue as the coaching staff heads to Matthews, North Carolina where Butler High School will host the second combine of the year. Pack Pride will be on hand for the event so stay tuned!

  • Pack Pride Top Stories