Top Talent on Display

CHARLOTTE --- Approximately 25 North Carolina recruits were among the nearly 200 participants at the Armour Combine held Saturday at the Carolina Panthers' practice facility.

The 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, and L-cone drill were conducted on the Carolina Panthers' notoriously slow practice field turf.

Justin Dixon
LB, Smithfield (N.C.) Smithfield-Selma

Dixon had his third consecutive outstanding combine performance Saturday. More importantly, though, he turned a lot of non-believers into believers.

"They said I wasn't going to run under a 4.6 [second 40-yard dash] and I went out and ran a 4.5," Dixon said. "Coach [Chris Martin] helped me prepare to run a good time."

Before scoring a 4.5-second time, Dixon, who measured in at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, registered a 4.75-second run.

In other drills, Dixon recorded a 4.62-second 20-yard shuttle, 9-foot-6 broad jump, and 7.78-second L-cone.

Dixon isn't just a workout warrior and he proved that during position specific drills and one-on-one passing drills.

On a play in which Dixon was asked to cover a tight end, Dixon quickly sent his opponent back into the line-of-scrimmage drawing praise from the crowd and the combine staff.

With such an impressive performance during a national combine tour, Dixon should expect to see changes to his recruiting stock. Regardless, he says there are "absolutely not" any circumstances that could effect his verbal commitment to UNC.

"I'm a Tar Heel," Dixon said. "I've made my decision – I'm a Tar Heel."

Ray Ray Davis
WR, Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley

Davis had a crowd pleasing moment of his own during one-on-one passing drills. Against South Carolina pledge Chris Payne, he swam through a jam, lost the future Gamecock, and made a fingertip catch.

"He got a good jam in at first, so I swam off it, and used my strength to get by him," Davis said.

However, Davis' day would end shortly thereafter. On his next play, Davis beat yet another opponent, this time on an in route. In sore loser fashion, the defensive back attempted to tackle Davis after the catch, twisting his ankle in the process.

"It's good - it's just a little sprained," Davis said following the combine while walking with a limp and a taped ankle.

In combine drills, Davis, who checked in at 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds, the 20-yard shuttle in 4.47 seconds, and the L-cone in 7.56 seconds. He also broad jumped 8-foot-5.

D.J. Bunn
DB, Smithfield (N.C.) Smithfield-Selma

Bunn pulled his hamstring during a recent track meet. Smithfield-Selma and UNC coaches advised him not to participate in the combine.

"This is the last combine that I'll ever do," Bunn said. "I just wanted to go out and compete."

Considering the injury, Bunn had a solid outing. At 5-foot-11 ½ and 185 pounds, he posted a 4.84-second 40-yard dash, 4.44-second 20-yard shuttle, 7.91-second L-cone, and 9-foot-2 broad jump.

Justin Jackson
LB, Rockingham (N.C.) Richmond County

Jackson had arguably the best performance Saturday. After measuring in a 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Jackson clocked a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, 4.35-second 20-yard shuttle, and a 7.32-second L-cone drill. He also broad jumped 10-foot-8.

Brandon Thomas
OL, Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman

At 6-foot-4 and 274 pounds, Thomas and his long-limbed frame recorded a 40-yard dash of 4.69. Prior to that run, he clocked a 4.88-second time.

Thomas was also impressive during position specific drills.

"I think I was up there with the best," Thomas said. "Our coaches at our school prepared us for this. [They] prepared our footwork and where we put our hands."

In the 20-yard shuttle, Thomas registered a 5.03-second time. He also broad jumped 8-feet and ran a 8.41-second in the L-cone.

Thomas received his sixth scholarship offer on Friday. NC State is the latest school to throw its hat into the ring.

Thomas recently established a leader and could be close to making a verbal commitment.

"Clemson is on the top of my list – that's all I'm saying," Thomas said. "Location. It's an hour away and my mom wants to see me play."

Although Thomas says he still likes UNC, Chapel Hill's proximity to his home might be too much for John Blake, his primary recruiter, to overcome.

Travis Bond
OT, Windsor (N.C.) Bertie County

Nearly as impressive as Thomas' 40-yard dash time was Bond's 5.28-second time, at 6-foot-7 and 323 pounds.

"I play basketball a lot, so I guess that helps with my mobility," Bond said. "I think it helps out a lot."

Bond also recorded a 5.19-second 20-yard shuttle, 7-foot-3 broad jump, and a 8.55-second L-cone.

In position specific drills, Bond was among the standouts of the offensive linemen.

"I don't know [how I stack up against the other lineman]," Bond said. "I did want to do one-on-ones today, but they wouldn't let us."

Bond says he's hearing from more schools, but hasn't received any additional scholarship offers. He still claims to be completely open and isn't sure when he'll have a favorites list.

Devonte Holloman
S, Charlotte (N.C.) Independence's No. 2-ranked safety, Holloman was in attendance but limited his participation to position and one-on-one passing drills.

"I'm just saving my 40 for another day, a better setting," Holloman said. "The guy I'm training with told me not to run the forty because of the turf – it would make me run a slower time.

"I can't run a slow time, because then they'll really be talking about linebacker. I'm trying to keep my 40 time low so that I can stay a safety in college."

Holloman says schools recruiting him for linebacker aren't necessarily out, but it definitely wouldn't help that school's chances.

Currently, Holloman is working on narrowing his list of options to five schools. He says UNC is a strong candidate to make the cut.

"I went down to Carolina last Friday and talked to Hakeem Nicks about Carolina," Holloman said. "He likes it there. I could see myself being a safety for them."

Holloman is a physically impressive defensive back – he has a tall, broad, athletic frame.

Perry James, a UNC cornerback target from Mocksville (N.C.) Davie County also sat on the sidelines Saturday, as he recently had shoulder surgery.

Saturday's combine marked one of the first combine looks at some of the top members from the 2010 class, including several UNC targets.

Leading the way is Ryan Ayers, an athlete from Douglasville (Ga.) South Paulding, who claims to have a verbal scholarship offer from UNC already. Ayers checked in at 5-foot-10 and 178 pounds and ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and a 4.78-second 20-yard shuttle, and broad jumped 9-foot-3.

One of the more physically impressive 2010 participants was 6-foot-5, 230-pound Gabe King from Greensboro (N.C.) Page. King clocked a 4.91-second 40-yard dash, a 4.75-second 20-yard shuttle, and an 8.31-second L-cone. He also broad jumped 9-foot-3.

Rising junior Chas Dodd elected to only participate in position specific drills and one-on-ones after being weighed and measured (5-foot-11 and 181 pounds). However, Dodd, a product of Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes, went to put on arguably the top quarterback performance of the combine.

Everett Golson, one of the top 2011 quarterback prospects, was also on hand. Like Dodd, Golson chose to sit out of combine drills. The Myrtle Beach gunslinger checked in at 5-foot-11 and 161 pounds.

Other Players of Note
Participant Pos High School Ht Wt Fty Sh LC BJ
Hawatha Bell LB Matthews Butler 6'1" 227 4.72 4.59 8.13 9'1"
Byron Best CB Greenwood 5'9" 180 4.37 4.63 8.47 9'10"
Anthony Boone* QB Weddington 6'0 ½" 216 5.00 4.88 8.38 8'6"
Kyle Bryant WR Weddington 5'9" 170 4.44 4.40 7.29 10'0"
Marlin Butler WR Greenville Southside 6'1" 185 4.54 4.53 7.82 9'4"
Curtis Dunbar WR Columbia 6'1 ½" 183 4.75 4.09 7.97 8'1"
Tariq Edwards LB Marlboro Co. 6'3" 217 4.75 4.63 7.65 10'1"
Dylan Farrington CB Chapel Hill 5'11" 175 4.66 4.31 7.16 9'10"
Malliciah Goodman DE West Florence 6'3 ½" 250 4.55 4.53 8.10 9'6"
Damario Jeffrey S Columbia 6'4" DNP 4.63 4.28 7.10 9'4"
Brian Johnson DE Myers Park 6'3 ½" 212 4.81 4.34 7.54 9'4"
Jared McAdoo DT Chapel Hill 6'3" 289 5.06 5.00 7.94 8'10"
Lamar McLendon LB Fayetteville 71st 6'0 ½" 198 4.56 4.54 7.75 9'4"
Kevin Parks* RB West Rown 5'6" 187 4.83 4.32 7.85 8'10"
Chris Payne DB Columbia 5'10 ½" 173 4.57 4.12 7.12 9'1"
Tavaras Pinckney RB Battery Creek 5'8 ½" 170 4.47 4.40 7.25 8'8"
Kevin Rojas WR Raleigh Wakefield 6'3" 194 4.53 4.16 7.22 9'5"
Terry Shankle CB South Stanly 5'11" 170 4.68 4.69 8.16 9'8"
Prince Shembo* LB Charlotte Ardrey Kell DNP DNP 4.72 4.84 7.91 9'0"
Will Simmons OL Hertford Co. 6'5 ½" 318 5.75 5.28 8.60 8'7"
Kaytree Simpson S Charlotte Myers Park 6'2" 202 4.56 4.40 7.84 9'5"
Quin Smith S Hibriten DNP DNP 4.81 4.57 8.28 9'5"
Damonte Terry RB Scotland Co. 6'1" 187 4.50 4.37 7.65 10'2"
Breon Thornton CB Independence 5'10 ½" 165 4.56 4.69 7.85 10'5"
Jamere Valentine WR Myrtle Beach 6'1" 197 4.68 4.53 7.16 9'1"
T.J. Williams RB Christchurch DNP 177 4.53 4.37 7.25 9'11"

Inside Carolina Top Stories