Mother nature brought a premature end to the Scout combine held at Bank of America stadium on Saturday but not before several of the east coast's top prospects had a chance to strut their stuff with eye-popping numbers.
Perhaps the show-stealer was Shelby RB Larry Raper. Just a sophomore currently, Raper ripped off a 4.31-second 40-yard dash on his first attempt. He then stated he'd get a 4.2 on his second run and he didn't miss it by far- recording a blistering time of 4.24-seconds. Just to make sure of his times, Scout asked him to run a third 40 and Raper proved he was legit- logging a 4.3. After totaling nearly 1,200 all purpose yards this past year and 20 touchdowns, look for this kid to be a hot commodity when his recruiting begins in earnest in September.
Another player that has established himself as one of North Carolina's fastest is AC Reynold's Darius Spencer. At 5-9, 174 pounds, he ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and had an equally impressive vertical jump of 39.1-inches. Previously a Tennessee lean, Spencer said he is currently favoring East Carolina.
Not much has been said about Olympic OL Andrew Wallace but after a solid showing on Saturday, expect to hear much more about this rising senior. He had one of the best times of any offensive lineman, logging a 4.76-second 40-yard dash. Wallace has picked up scholarship offers from Buffalo, Miami, Maryland and Illinois but watch out for NC State.
RJ Mattes from Jay M Robinson High School is the state's most highly-regarded offensive lineman currently as he approaches 10 scholarship offers. He looked solid in individual drills and 6-6, 260 pounds, ran a respectable 40-yard dash of 5.16-seconds. Equally impressive was his short shuttle of 4.61-seconds which accentuated his mobility. Mattes is open but NC State, UNC, Clemson and Virginia appear to lead the way with NC State currently recruiting the hardest.
Official times weren't immediately available for Rockingham County's OL Justin Ward but he more than held his own in individual drills. After picking up his first offer (Marshall), Ward will be looking for more as he begins his camp tour of numerous schools over the summer. East Carolina, in particular, has built a solid relationship with Ward so far.
Perhaps the most impressive offensive lineman we observed was South Carolina (Aynor) standout TJ Johnson. At 6-4, 275 pounds, Johnson has a super frame and showed a nasty streak during individual workouts. Like Mattes, Johnson has close to 10 offers and, after a recent visit to NC State, says the Pack is one of the schools that will definitely make his cut. He ran a 5.25-second 40-yard dash.
NC State commit Mario Carter attended the combine on Saturday but chose not to test. He measured in at 6-4, 218 pounds.
RB Bobby Morrison from West Iredell is another sleeper name to keep an eye on. He has a solid build and ran a fast 4.44-second 40-yard dash.
DE Baird Godley from NW Guilford has attracted quite a bit of recruiting attention, particularly from UNC, NC State and East Carolina. After battling the flu, Godley showed up having lost eight pounds and decided against any further testing.
LB Kevin Reddick from New Bern High School recently picked up an offer from NC State and he had another standout combine performance. At 6-1 ½ and 208 pounds, Reddick ran a 4.67-second 40-yard dash. UNC appears to have the upper hand for Reddick currently.
You may not have heard much about QB William Brown from Greene Central but it's likely he'll emerge as a player to watch over the coming months. At 6-2, 204 pounds, Brown ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and 4.34-second short shuttle. He also logged an impressive 35.1-inch vertical jump. He has a sister currently attending UNC and the Heels are his top school currently but he plans to camp at NC State and East Carolina is in the mix as well after making a couple of unofficial trips to Greenville.
One of the most physically impressive prospects on hand was New Hanover's OL Nick Becton. At 6-5 ½, 290 pounds, Becton ran a 5.24-second 40-yard dash. He also had a 27.5-inch vertical jump and 4.72-second short shuttle. Although he has shied away from naming particular favorites, NC State may quietly be the team to beat.
OL Jonathan Cooper from Hoggard High School has one of the best personalities of any player you'll meet. But when it's time to get after it in drills, Cooper was a different person altogether. He was nasty in individual workouts and more than held his own against several prospects more highly rated. East Carolina is likely the team to beat for Cooper as things stand now.
Conway (SC) QB Dakota Derrick has been a player of significance to NC State fans of late. Physically, he is almost identical to QB Braden Hanson. He has the frame to certainly fill out and you could see him playing in the 210-215 pound range down the road. Considered a pure, drop-back QB, Derrick also showed he can move by running a 4.67-second 40-yard dash. In drills he displayed almost textbook throwing form with a perfect, over the top delivery. He will make numerous camp stops over the summer in the hopes of grabbing some D-1 offers.
One high school coach told us he thought Butler's QB Jacob Charest was the state's top QB. While that's certainly debatable, he and Charlotte Latin's Braden Hanson are the two most-highly regarded in-state signal callers. In our opinion, Hanson appears to be the more polished of the two at this point. Many consider UNC to have a slight lead for him currently. Charest still has NC State under heavy consideration and he said he will camp at State this summer in the hopes of earning a Wolfpack scholarship. He will also be at the adidas camp at State next weekend.
OL Justin Lewis didn't put up spectacular numbers Saturday but he certainly didn't disappoint in individual drills. After running a 5.61-second 40-yard dash, he showed solid fundamentals and great foot work when going up against opposing linemen. South Carolina, NC State and Clemson currently lead the way and he will camp at NC State this summer.
Another OL that certainly passed the look test was Libert Christian (Va) Bobbie Massie. Although several schools like him on the offensive side of the ball, he told us he prefers defensive tackle. He's hard at work improving his academic standing and, if he does, will earn his fair share of offers this year. East Carolina made his early top five list.