Several Impress at Shrine Bowl Combine

MATTHEWS, N.C. --- The Shrine Bowl Combine tour kicked off Saturday at Butler High School with Stephone Anthony, Christian Russell, Jamison Crowder, and Justus Pickett among the impressive performers.

The 120-plus recruits in attendance participated in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump, and 185-pound bench press, plus position and one-on-one drills. The 40-yard dash was run on Butler's track, while the shuttle was conducted on a concrete surface.

Stephone Anthony
Anson County

After clocking a 4.55-second 40-yard dash on his first run, Anthony, who checked in at 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds, somehow found a way to run a better time – 4.49 seconds – surprising all in attendance.

"Right now I'm running track, so I'm getting faster," Anthony said. "I wanted to run well today and I felt like I could."

Anthony also registered impressive marks in the vertical jump (33.2 inches) and 20-yard shuttle (4.47 seconds). But he was disappointed in his 18 bench reps of 185 pounds.

"I just didn't bench like I wanted to," Anthony said. "I'm not trying to make excuses, but I'm sore from lifting at school."

After recently visiting Florida, Anthony crowned the Gators his leader. He says, though, that he won't make a verbal commitment until the football season and is also strongly considering Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Oklahoma, and Virginia Tech.

Anthony has made two visits to UNC within the past month. The most recent visit was for the Tar Heels' Spring Game.

"It was good to see the defense and see how they split the teams up," Anthony said.

Christian Russell
Hoke County

Even in the crowd of participants, it was hard not to notice Russell and his imposing 5-foot-11, 221-pound frame. Because of his length and impressive build, he actually appears much taller and drew admiration from fellow participants and onlookers.

Russell's 40-yard dash times (4.63 and 4.65 seconds) may not seem all that impressive until you consider the fact that he ran the event on a track in football cleats.

"I didn't have my spikes, so I could have done better [in the 40-yard dash]," Russell said. "I probably would have ran a 4.48 [with spikes], because the last combine I went to I ran a 4.48."

In the bench press, Russell pushed 185 pounds 25 times.

Eight schools have offered Russell a scholarship offer – Alabama, Duke, Georgia, Miami, UNC, NC State, UCLA, and Wake Forest. However, he says UNC remains his leader.

Jamison Crowder

Crowder said UNC had questioned his speed. He answered that question Saturday with 40-yard dash runs of 4.40 and 4.41 seconds.

"My forty time surprised me," Crowder said. "I thought I'd be a 4.5, but I ran [a 4.4] twice, so I think it's official.

Crowder, who checked in at 5-foot-8 and 163 pounds, also vertically jumped 34.6 inches and had a 4.32-second 20-yard shuttle.

Although he's being recruited as both a wide receiver and defensive back, Crowder worked out with the wide receivers.

"My Coach, he's one of the Shrine Bowl coaches and he wanted me to work with him with the wide receivers," Crowder said. "I wanted to mix it up, but I didn't really get a chance to go DB."

Duke and UNC are the only schools to offer Crowder a scholarship and are his co-leaders.

"They're neck and neck right now," Crowder said. "I've got interest in a few other schools like Clemson and Illinois.

"[I like Duke and UNC], because they've offered and I also like Duke and Carolina. And they're both close to home so if my parents wanted to come to a game, they wouldn't have to go too far to travel."

Crowder attended UNC's Spring Game a week ago.

"I liked it a lot," Crowder said. "The crowd, the atmosphere, how the fans were, how Carolina played – I liked it."

Brandon Ellerbe
Anson County

Ellerbe described his performance as "average" in Saturday's combine events.

"I felt like I could do better in my forty," Ellerbe said. "My regular time is a 4.5."

Ellerbe registered a 4.63-second time in the 40-yard dash. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder did lead all defensive backs with 19 bench reps of 185 pounds.

During one-on-one drills, Ellerbe was one of the most impressive defensive backs. He regularly locked down his opponent and even had an interception.

Although he remains a Clemson verbal commitment, Ellerbe admits two recent visits to UNC have him rethinking his pledge.

"Right now it's a hard decision," Ellerbe said. "During my senior season, I'll make my final decision."

Justus Pickett
Charlotte Ardrey Kell

Pickett continued his dominance on the circuit at the Shrine Bowl Combine. After checking in at 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds, he ran the combine's top 40-yard dash time (4.32 seconds). He also recorded a 4.25-second 20-yard shuttle, a 32.4-inch vertical, and benched 185 pounds 16 times.

Pickett, who claims scholarship offers from Duke, East Carolina, South Carolina, Stanford, and Vanderbilt, worked out at running back and also shined during one-on-one drills.

Other Notes: There were at least two other combines going on simultaneously in the Charlotte area, which depleted the turnout of the Shrine Bowl Combine and thus lowered the talent level… The Shrine Bowl coaches raved about kicker Trevor Austin (Shelby Crest). He converted 8-of-9 field goals with his lone miss being a 40-yarder that barely missed. He also booted two of his kickoffs five yards into the end zone and averaged 43.8 yards on five punts with a long of 52.

Participant Pos High School Ht Wt Fty Sh VJ Reps
Damarrell Alexander RB Indian Trail Porter Ridge 5-8 153 4.38 4.47 35.6 5
Stephone Anthony LB Anson County 6-2 221 4.49 4.47 33.2 18
Danny Book TE Hickory Ridge 6-5 231 4.98 4.51 23.6 9
Mark Bridges DB Matthews Butler 6-0 196 4.61 4.40 34.7 16
Jamison Crowder WR Monroe 5-8 163 4.40 4.32 34.6 4
Brandon Ellerbe DB Anson County 5-11 200 4.63 4.41 28.7 19
Nyjee Fleming RB Charlotte Independence 5-8 193 4.49 4.41 33.8 15
Devin Flowers OL Charlotte Mallard Creek 6-2 282 5.47 4.84 25.5 DNP
Jamal Forney DB Central Davidson 5-8 164 4.63 4.46 38.3 11
Trey Forte LB Shelby 5-11 204 4.65 5.15 35.0 11
Britton Grier DE West Charlotte 6-0 206 4.51 4.57 27.9 21
Josh Halkins RB Kernersville Glenn 5-9 165 4.57 4.33 36.9 13
Javon Hargrave DE North Rowan 6-1 262 4.83 4.64 32.1 27
Calvin Hunter DB Charlotte Vance 5-10 166 4.42 4.31 35.9 14
David Jackson RB Kennedy Charter 5-9 206 4.49 4.41 34.1 17
Marcus Leak WR Monroe Parkwood 5-11 195 4.35 4.68 37.4 26
Colin Parsons DE Matthews Butler 6-3 229 4.94 4.70 26.4 14
Justus Pickett RB Charlotte Ardrey Kell 5-9 172 4.32 4.25 37.4 16
Shermon Ragland WR Southern Durham 6-0 180 4.51 4.34 36.4 19
Christian Russell LB Hoke County 5-11 221 4.63 4.52 30.7 25
Osvaldo Sombo LB Matthews Butler 6-0 198 4.64 4.14 28.1 16
Deion Walker RB Matthews Butler 5-9 183 4.47 4.60 32.4 14
Kendall Whitehead DB Raleigh Millbrook 5-9 159 4.43 4.26 32.4 4
T.J. Wilson WR Gastonia Hunter Huss 6-1 192 4.48 4.55 34.4 7

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