Scout.com All-American Combine: DEFENSE

Scout.com opened its 2006 All-American Combine tour in Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday. The combine was held at the UMPC Southside practice facilities. Over 200 of the top players from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin were in attendance.

Over 200 blue-chip athletes were tested in the 40-yard dash, standing broad jump, 3-cone drill, shuttle run and vertical leap. The final hour of the combine consisted of one-on-one testing.

There were several players in attendance that held a scholarship offer from the University of Pittsburgh. I attempted to scrutinize these players along with special emphasis on offensive and defensive linemen. Pitt Head Football Coach Dave Wannstedt continues to rejuvenate both sides of the line.

DEFENSE

Defensive Tackle

There were a handful of players that seemed to standout. Defensive tackles Cameron Holland (6-foot-3 inches, 285 pounds) from Perry Traditional Academy and Ishmaily Kitchen (6-foot-3 inches, 310 pounds) from Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, OH were impressive. Holland reminds me of a taller version of Corey Davis. At nearly 290 pounds he completed most of the drills with ease. During the one on one drills, he displayed exceptional quickness and explosion off the line. Cameron will be attending the Panthers' summer football camp. It wouldn't shock me if walks away with a scholarship offer. Kitchen is the personification of the term "wide body". His physique is "less than chiseled" but there's an athlete behind the bulk. I was shocked to watch him run through the 3-cone and shuttle drill with relative ease. During one-on-one drills, he didn't display the speed of Cameron Holland, but he seemed to compensate with shear power. He would lock up on an offensive lineman and drive them back with little effort. One on occasion, he went one on one with massive 6-foot-8 inch, 290 pound Jacob Kaiser from Greensburg Central Catholic. Ishmaily lifted him off the ground and drove him into the pylon that represented the quarterback.

It's worth noting that I was impressed with short but stout Debo Elias from St. Edwards High School in Lakewood, OH. He's roughly 5-foot-10 inches tall and 255 pounds. Although he's probably too small to play defensive tackle in college, I could easily see him moving to fullback due to his speed and power.

Defensive End / Linebackers

Tony Tucker (6-foot-3 inches, 220 pounds) from St. Johns College High School in Washington, D.C. was very impressive. He is capable of playing linebacker or defensive end on the next level. Tucker was simply impossible to block during one-on-one drills. A well-muscled physical specimen, he utilized a combination of blistering speed and strength to blow by opposing linemen. I believe he will receive an offer from the Panthers. Penn Hills High School linebacker Michael Goosby (6-foot-2 inches, 215 pounds) made a name for himself. He displayed excellent speed and technique. I was impressed with him during the agility drills. Devan Johnson (6-foot, 225 pounds) from Woodland Hills High School is another name to keep an eye one. He's not the largest linebacker but he's very athletic and aggressive.

Two local defensive end prospects that clearly have major college talent are Chris Drager (6-foot-4 inches, 230 pounds) from Thomas Jefferson High School and Joe Rash (6-foot-4 inches, 250 pounds) from Penn Hills High School. Drager prefers the tight end position, but he appears destined for the defensive side of the ball. He has the frame to carry an additional 20 to 30 pounds. I was impressed with his agility. Rash passes the "looks test". He has a long, well-muscled frame. Joe performed very well during the one-on-one drills. On one occasion, he mimicked moving to the left on big Jake Anderson (6-foot-5 inches, 285 pounds) from McDowell High School in Erie, PA and quickly shot right. He blew past Anderson and decimated the pylon (quarterback).

Defensive Backs

This was a particularly strong group. Cornerbacks Jared Williams (5-foot-10 inches, 190 pounds) from Perry Traditional Academy in Pittsburgh, PA and Jordan Mabin (5-foot-10 inches, 185 pounds) from Nordonia High School in Macedonia, OH. Both have offered scholarships by the University of Pittsburgh. I spoke with both players and they indicated they were leaning towards the Panthers. Jordan and Jared have several characteristics in common. They aren't the largest players, but they are exceptionally fast and surprisingly strong. I was impressed with them during one-on-one drills with the top receivers at the camp. They performed very well against upper echelon wide receivers like Tony Clemons, Nick Sukay and Derek Moye.

Safety Max Suter from Greensburg Central Catholic High School made a name for himself when he ran a 4.4 forty-yard dash. Diauntae Morrow (6-foot-1 inches, 185 pounds) from Glenville High School in Cleveland, OH was very impressive. A player that has already garnered offers from Wisconsin and Indiana, he performed exceptionally well in drills and displayed great speed. Diauntae seemed to engulf a number of receivers during one-on-one drills. Dom DeCicco (6-foot-3 inches, 190 pounds) from Thomas Jefferson High School has a great frame and more than adequate speed. I believe he projects as more of a safety than cornerback.

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at harrypsaros@msn.com.


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