Offensive Stars Shine at Combine

One of the best aspects of combines will always be the chance to see what recruiting experts consider to be the top flight prospects. What is often lost is the fact that recruits who are under the radar get a chance to shine.

On Sunday, stars and sleepers alike braved the rain to come to Piscataway, N.J., to compete in the Scout.Com All-American Combine. So many players stood out that we have to have separate offensive and defensive breakdowns.

The stars shined bright at Rutgers on Sunday, especially Brooklyn, N.Y., native Lansford Watson and Piscataway, N.J., local Anthony Davis. Watson, a highly touted wide receiver from Abraham Lincoln High put on a clinic. There have been rumors circulating that several college coaches project Watson as a tight end. Watson, 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, quickly squashed that talk. Watson posted a 4.69 forty-yard dash, 4.28 shuttle, 9-0 standing broad jump and a 35.4" vertical. He continued his impressive day by dominating the one-on-one portion of the combine. After seeing Watson it is fairly easy to see what all the early hype was about.

It's safe to say that Anthony Davis has cemented himself as the top offensive lineman in the Northeast and possibly the nation. In today's day and age it's tough to get the top kids to perform at a combine. Davis holds offers from the likes of LSU, USC, Florida State and Tennessee, but he still came to perform. Davis was challenged by the likes of Desmond Stapleton and Keith Newell, but at the end of the day he was still dominant.

Peach County, Ga., head coach Rance Gillespie who works all of the combines and coaches our quarterbacks saw a few signal callers on Sunday who caught his eye, most notably Mike Croce from Holy Cross High in Connecticut. Croce checked in at 6-0 and 183 pound, but he caught Gillespie's eye.

"There were several kids who looked very good, but when you look at fundamentals Mike Croce was the best," Gillespie said. "I wouldn't say he was the best overall, but he definitely had the best mechanics."

There were a number of quarterbacks who caught people's attention Nate Brown of Harrisburg, Pa., may have the most upside of any of the players who worked out. He measured in at 6-3 and 205 pounds. He ran a 4.79 forty-yard dash, 4.31 shuttle, 7.67 L-Cone and he posted a 8-10 standing broad jump and a 29" vertical. Testing even better than Brown was St. Joseph Prep, Pa., standout Chris Whitney, 6-2 and 205 pounds. The Philadelphia, Pa., quarterback ran a 4.84 forty-yard dash, 4.34 shuttle, 7.17 L-cone and posted a 9-6 standing broad jump and a 36" vertical. Bethlehem Liberty, Pa., quarterback Dan Persa tested well and showed tremendous touch on the ball all day. Class of 2008 prospect Tim Rommel of Henninger, N.Y., showed why he will be highly recruited next season. Rommel showed a lot of poise and confidence in the pocket.

Besides, Watson there were a number of talented wide receiver's on hand. Tim Glanton of South Paulding High in Ga., coaches the wide receivers for the combines came away impressed by Ty Bynum of Conestoga Valley, Pa. Bynum, measured in at 6-0.5 and 173 pounds. He ran a 4.66 forty-yard dash, 4.41 shuttle 7.43 L-cone and he posted an 8-11 standing broad jump and a 31.5" vertical.

"That Ty Bynum kid was very good," Glanton said. "He and the Watson kid are two of the best I have seen this year."

Dayon Arrington, Paint Branch, Md., and Kashif Moore of Burlington Township, N.J., were not far behind Watson and Bynum. Arrington plays much bigger than his 6-1.5, 186-pound frame. He ran a 4.66 forty-yard dash and had a 31" vertical. He separated himself in the one-on-one's by running very crisp routes, and using his body to shield smaller defensive backs away from making a play on the ball. Arrington showed exceptional hands all day. Moore is a sleeper prospect. He does not possess ideal size at 5-1 and 162 pounds, but the kid can flat out fly. He is very quick out of his break and when he gets a crease its game over. He has that extra gear and when he separates it's tough for a defender to close on him. He'd be a very good slot receiver and a return man.

The running backs assembled at Rutgers were also impressive. There was a talented group of 2007 prospects who already hold offers, but two class of 2008 prospects stole the show. Josh Haden, 5-8 and 188 pounds, from Friendly, Md., looks the part and tested as good as he looked. Haden ran a 4.38 forty-yard dash, a 4.10 shuttle, and a 7.25 L-cone. He posted a 9-11 standing broad jump and a 37.5" vertical. Dixon of Plainfield, N.J., is easy to spot. Just look for the kid who has oak tree's for thighs. Dixon, weighed in at 153 pounds on a 5-7 frame. He ran a combine best 4.37 forty-yard dash, 4.10 shuttle, and a 6.91 L-cone. To top it off he posted a 39" vertical. Dixon was unstoppable in the one-on-one's. Once he got around the edge, no linebacker could keep up with him. Lehighton, Pa., star Robbie Frey showed why he is one of the most prolific backs in Pennsylvania. Frey checked in at 6-0.5 and 177 pounds. He ran a 4.47 forty-yard dash, 4.19 shuttle, 6.90 L-cone and he posted a 10-3 standing broad jump. Shariff Harris of St. Peter's prep, N.J., will pass anyone's look test. Harris opened eyes when he ran a 4.59 forty-yard dash. He showed tremendous explosion by jumping 9-11 in the standing broad jump and 34.5" in the vertical. Xavier Martin of Xaverian, N.Y., is a prototype scatback. He measured in at 5-8.5 and 165 pounds. He ran a 4.41 forty-yard dash, 7.33 l-cone and jumped 9-10 in the standing broad jump and 37.5" in the vertical. Every good tailback needs a fullback, Devon Ramsay of Lawrenceville Prep in N.J., looked as good as any. He checked in at 6-2.5 and 247 pounds. He ran a 4.72 forty-yard dash, 4.40 shuttle, 7.59 L-cone, and he jumped 9-10 in the standing broad jump and 34.5" in the vertical. Keep your eye's on Christopher "Kitt" Anderson of Neshaminy, Pa., he checked in at 5-8 and 173 pounds and ran a 4.47 forty-yard dash, 4.41 shuttle and a 7.62 L-cone. He posted a 9-2 standing broad jump and a 33.5" vertical. Another player I watched who caught my eye was Ted Plunkett from The Peddie School. He ran a 4.62 forty-yard dash and had a 10-0 standing broad jump. He measured in at 5-10.5 and 181 pounds.

A pair of Eastern Pennsylvania tight ends put on a show in the one-on-one's. Class of 2008 prospect Mark Wedderburn and class of 2007 prospect Tiree Eure. Wedderburn who hails from Cardinal O'Hara looks like he is on his way to becoming one of next years top prospects. Eure, transferred from Plainfield, N.J., to Parkland. One tight end who may have been the best of the lot was Shabazz standout Lamar Middleton. Middleton did not test extremely well, but he showed his skills in the one-on-one's.

Besides, Anthony Davis there was a very talented group of big men on display at Rutgers. Tim Nolan of Jackson Memorial weighed in at 6-3 and 280 pounds. He ran a 5.25 forty-yard dash. The most impressive facet of Nolan's game is the fact that he is a warrior. He will compete against anyone and will fight you with everything that he has. John Fieger, 6-5.5 and 276 pounds, from Upper Perkiomen, Pa., is still awaiting his first offer. After watching him, your guess is as good as mine as to why he is still waiting. He has room to add 30 pounds and be a complete stud. Nick Lepak of Auburn, N.Y. is a house. The 6-3.5, 365 pound class of 2008 prospect actually looks fairly trim at 365 pounds. He is the most explosive lineman I have seen this year. Lepak already benches 400 pounds and has exceptional feet. Desmond Stapleton of Union, N.J. is a fiery competitor. He already holds a Virginia offer, but I would think more will be on the way. Keith Newell of Trenton, N.J. holds five offers, but I would tend to think he will be a national recruit before all is said and done. National Combine Director Scott Kennedy was impressed by the group of big boys who gathered at Rutgers.

"I have never seen a group of so many big kids who move so well, it's amazing," Kennedy said.


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