Small Came Up Large At U.S. Army Combine

If his performance in the U.S. Army National Combine is any indication the transition to defense full-time next season is a welcome challenge for Ray Small of Cleveland Glenville High School. Small was a top receiver/slot back, for the most part, this past season and will continue in that role, but defensive back is where he hopes to establish himself next season.

One top Ohio prospect for the class of 2006 that may have exceeded his expectations at the U.S. Army National Combine sponsored by Reebok was Ray Small, another of Cleveland Glenville High School's top players to watch next season. Small not only posted excellent times at the combine, he also excelled during his individual drills with the defensive backs.

"It was a little hectic but the weekend went pretty well. I came down pretty confident in myself and it went real good for me and my teammates," Small said. "From a scale of 1 to 10 I would grade myself at about an 8. I ran a pretty good 40, I did good in my drills and I didn't get a ball caught on me so I did pretty well. I felt real good about what I did."

With blazing speed as his forte, Small was actually a bigger part of the offense at Glenville last year than he was of the defense, but both starting cornerbacks have graduated and Small will have an increased role on the defensive side of the ball at cornerback in his senior year.

"This (combine) helps me fill my confidence up on defense now. I know that nobody can't just run past me," he said. "I'm pretty good on offense but I feel that I'm better on the defensive side of the ball because I'm faster than most people and I feel that I can cover real good because I have good hips."

Small came to Glenville as a running back in time for his sophomore season after transferring there from St. Edward. But most of Small's big plays on offense this past season came as a slot receiver and that will likely remain his main position on offense this year.

"You know I love running back but at 6-0, 170 it's not really going to make it," he said. "So I figured I would just switch to like a slot receiver/running back. But mostly I'll be at corner now. No matter what position I'm playing, I just need to continue to work harder but I feel pretty confident in what I do."

As far as his future at the next level is concerned, Small has two early favorites that he's hoping to hear a lot from in the months ahead.

"My two biggest schools are Ohio State and USC (Southern Cal)," Small said. "I love USC, I don't know why. I love it because it's hot down there and they're fast. I always felt like I want to be fast like them and I could fit in. But I love Ohio State just as much as USC so it's real tough."

Upon returning home from San Antonio, Small immediately got back to his routine of training for his track season in the spring where he likely will be a mainstay in the open 400 meters, the 4X400 relay and the 4X200 for Glenville, the two-time defending state champion in Ohio.

"I'm back to track practice and training three or four times a week. I'm training pretty hard every day pretty much. I'm striving to be the best," Small said. "Then I'll focus on football."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories