Notebook: Army National Combine

SAN ANTONIO - Over 600 high school prospects worked out in the Alamodome on Friday during the Army National Combine. Irish Illustrated takes a look at some standouts and those with Notre Dame interest.

SAN ANTONIO - Hundreds of underclassmen hit the Alamodome turf Friday for the Army National Combine to showcase their skills in hopes of broadening their profile.

Four-star wide receiver C.J. Cotman didn’t necessarily need to do so. Cotman already enjoys scholarship offers from several major programs — Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, TCU and Wisconsin are among those already on board.

But Cotman, who attends Central Catholic High in Clearwater, Fla., wanted to stand out in hopes of playing in next year’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He felt good about his outing.

“I’ve been working on my route running lately,” Cotman said. “I’m trying to get it as good as possible. I feel like I did good. I felt very fast, very elusive. Good routes and stuff. I got a lot of input from the coaches that I did good, so I feel good about my performance.”

Cotman could see his recruitment expand in short order.

Alabama and Ole Miss are a couple programs the 5-foot-9, 175- pound prospect believes could offer a scholarship soon. Cotman hopes to hear from Notre Dame and Stanford as well.

Although his overall knowledge on those programs is still growing, Cotman said the academic reputations of Notre Dame and Stanford stand out.

“Both schools are very good in academics,” he said. “They’re high in academics. That’s the main thing that I know about them.”

Cotman plans to take off-the-field considerations very much into account as the recruiting process pushes forward.

“I love the education,” Cotman said. “I want to study criminal justice. If it has a good criminal justice program, I feel like I could fit in there. It goes to the coaches next. I want to get my four-year degree but if it doesn’t happen, if I can play three years and go, I will.”

Another factor: Cotman sees himself leaving Florida for college.

He’s visited Florida, Florida State, Miami and South Florida but doesn’t list any of those programs among his favorites currently. Instead Cotman is “leaning on” a couple Midwest powers — Michigan and Ohio State.

Neither has hosted Cotman on a visit.

“I could see myself at Michigan and Ohio State being that player that can play both ways,” Cotman said. “I do want to start at (defensive back). But also, I can transition to offense too on some plays. I think I could fit in with their organizations.”

Cotman played both ways this season but flourished at defensive back, so either is an option.

“I always liked being a DB,” he said. “When I came into high school, coaches always saw the potential I had on offense. They never tried me on defense. This year I finally had it. I had over like 60 or 70 tackles and four interceptions. Three of them I took back.”

Webb is one to watch

In a crowd of over 680 high school football prospects all wearing sleeveless black t-shirts, four-star junior wide receiver Mark Webb found a way to stand out.
Webb, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder from Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, Pa., was one of the dominant wide receivers during the one-on-one period.
“I just came out to do work,” Webb said. “I was a little hurt but I’m alright.”
A groin injury limited Webb in the testing portion of the event but he still cleared 30 inches in the vertical jump. If the injury bothered him during one-on-ones it didn’t show.
In his first rep, he beat the defender off the line of scrimmage and used every millimeter of his fingertips to haul in the pass at the goal line.
The next defender opted to give Webb a 10-yard cushion. Webb still got a stop on the defensive back but stumbled before leaping high into the end zone for his second touchdown grab of the day. Webb was denied a third straight touchdown when the defensive back cut in front of him on an under thrown ball and swatted it away.
Boston College, North Carolina, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Wake Forest and West Virginia already have extended scholarship offers and Webb has heard from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Notre Dame.
The Irish have sent a lot of mail his way but Webb is waiting for his first personal contact.
Webb plans to visit North Carolina this spring and he hopes to see several other schools along the way.
“The first visit will be North Carolina and hopefully I’ll talk to some other schools through that time so I can make a quick little trip to those schools while I’m out there too,” he said.
He remains open to any school that offers.
“I’m just working, just working,” he said.

Around the combine

  • 2017 Tucson (Ariz.) Mountain View receiver Stan Berryhill Jr. came to the combine without an offer. Wouldn’t surprise if that changes soon. Berryhill flashed nice quickness during a one-on-one rep that resulted in an easy touchdown. He backed that up with another later.
  • File this name away: 2019 Kirkwood (Mo.) St. John Vianney wide receiver Cameron Coleman. Iowa State has already offered. Coleman was fantastic Friday with multiple catches against older competition.
  • 2017 North Little Rock (Ark.) Central Arkansas Christian wide receiver Joshua Johnson is already committed to Indiana but it looked like a matter of time before other major programs come calling. He stretched out on the sideline for a great grab with just his hands, plus flashed serious speed. Kansas, Louisiana Tech and Memphis have also offered.
  • 2017 Oklahoma City John Marshall defensive back Justin Broiles turned in some good reps on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he won with a good jam at the line of scrimmage then a nice play on the ball through the receiver’s hands. He later caught a touchdown with a nice post route that left him wide open.
  • 2017 Miami Columbus defensive back Chris Henderson is very quick. His coverage Friday was about as tight as it gets. During one rep, he stumbled while making up ground but got to the man in time to watch an overthrown ball go by. He also defended a five-yard out with ease and went hip-to-hip with a receiver all the way down the field on another.
  • 2018 Central (S.C.) D.W. Daniel linebacker Jake Venables saw the good and bad of his position in a combine setting. He ran stride for stride with a tight end on two reps, both wins. But he got matched up against 2017 running back Javin Myers once and lost decisively against quality speed. Venables, son of Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, almost visited Notre Dame during the season. Clemson, SMU and Texas Tech have offered.
  • 2017 Washington (D.C.) Archbishop Carroll cornerback Deon Jones showed why he has so many offers on a couple reps. Air tight coverage led to a pair of pass breakups. He did bite on a move later, resulting in a loss. But overall, Jones was one of the elite prospects on hand. Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan State and Ohio State are among his offers.
  • Five-star 2017 running back Najee Harris outclassed his competition most of the day. His quickness and speed are both elite to say the least. Harris could be a running back or receiver at the next level. Notre Dame has offered but Harris remains solidly committed to Alabama.
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