Top prospects came out in full force for the Elite Scouting Services Combine held at Jefferson high school over the weekend. After putting on several combines in South Florida, ESS put on one of the most talent rich events ever hosted on the west coast of Florida. Over 200 recruits made up of the top local athletes and beyond participated in the first ESS combine In Tampa on Saturday.
The event featured former Heisman Trophy winner and FSU standout Chris Weinke, director of the IMG Madden Football Academy, and former FSU star and assistant coach Dexter Carter, who both worked one-on-one with the athletes. Special coaches like Earl Lane, who coached the defensive lines at USF and LSU, and Frank Davis (who played OL for USF, Detroit Lions, and the UFL) were brought in to teach technique and work with the players during one-on-ones.
The athletes were tested in several combine-style drills including, bench press, the 40, L-Cone and Short Shuttle, and also worked out in one-on-one position drills. As expected there were big performances from top players like Andre Davis of Jefferson, Nature Coast's Ja'Juan Story, and Freedoms' Keith Lewis, but it was also a stage for several breakout performances from players whose names will be known by this spring.
Even though athletes came from all over, the majority came from the greater Tampa Bay area, and the event was rich with Tampa talent where the players all know each other. This was most evident in the one-on ones where there was plenty of talk between the local athletes who all came out to compete. Besides talking the talk, these athletes were able to walk the walk and back it up.
Notes and Observations
The event also drew two of the top prospects in Hillsborough County in RB/LB James Wilder II (Plant), and DT Anthony Chickillo (Plant from Alonso). Together they are two of the more highly recruited prospects in the country, with too many offers to list. Wilder was limited, but was impressive in drills and in one-on ones. Chickillo didn't participate, but had a great time while at the event.
Here were some of the standouts:
Receivers well represented in Tampa on Saturday.
Ja'Juan Story WR, Nature Coast: Story once again turned in another impressive performance on Saturday, and started early by turning in a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash. The 6'3-190 pound receiver used his size and speed to put on a show during the one on ones while going against the best defenders on the field. Story is becoming one hot recruit with over 20 offers form some of the top programs in the country.
Andre Davis WR, Jefferson: Davis showed why he is one of the top receivers in this class on Saturday, maybe it was being back on his home turf, but Davis was making play after play, including making an acrobatic one-handed catch during one on ones against Keith Lewis that drew cheers from the crowd.
Ruben Gonzalez WR/DB, Robinson: The 6'3-190 pound prospect's stock continues to improve since the Badger 7on7. He put up 19 reps of 185 and turned in a 4.65 40 yard dash, but in the one on ones is where he shined, making tough catch after catch, and showing athleticism to play on either side of the ball. Ruben picked up an offer from WKU, and more should me coming his way this spring.
Chris Moore WR, Jefferson: Moore clocked in a 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash time, and showed his crisp route running and hands during one on ones to boost his stock.
Roger Dixon WR, Seminole: The 5'9-150 pound receiver posted a 4.44 40 yard dash (second fastest), a 4.09 shuttle time, a 7.0 L-cone, and during one on ones showed that he's got hands as well.
Linebackers have solid showing
Keith Lewis LB/S, Freedom: Lewis had another outstanding showing on Saturday and didn't shy away from going against the best receivers on the field in Davis and Story, showing good movement and cover skills during one-on-ones.
Anthony Harrell LB, Freedom: Harrell has made a noticeable physical improvement from last year, and at 6'1-210 pounds looks bigger yet leaner and is looking the part of a linebacker. During one on ones he had two interceptions and was one of the better defenders on the field. Has one offer from Duke, but is getting a lot of interest and should have more very soon.
Ramik Wilson LB/TE, Jefferson: Was first projected as a tight end, but is now is being more focused at linebacker. At 6'3-220 pounds, has good size and moved well in drills.
Other notable performances:
Josh Grady QB, Armwood: A Grady plays QB, but has been getting interest as a safety and WR since the 7on 7's, and looked good while doing so. Also turned in a 4.05 shuttle and a 4.51 40. He can play QB and has several offers to do so, but looks good on both sides of the ball and has also been offered as an athlete as well.
Frankie Williams WR, Robinson: He put up 19 reps of 185 and turned in a 6.97 L-cone and a 4.44-second shuttle.
Isaac Bailey, DB Nature Coast: Showed great cover skills during one on ones
Perman Wilson DB, Lakeland: Turned in a 4.42-40, and a 4.5 shuttle
JJ Hubbard RB, Robinson: He's an explosive receiver that can make something happen every time he touches the ball.
Best of the Big Men
Zach DaBell OL, Tarpon Springs: The 6'6.5, 260 pound offensive tackle continues to impress at every event he attends. He was one of the bigger linemen out there, and continues to get better. He put up 20 reps of 185, and turned in a 4.56 40 yard dash and a 4.73 L-cone. He has over 13 offers now.
Giovani Francois DL, Bradenton Southeast: At 6'3, 245 pounds he has the size to play inside or out, and was one of the better d-linemen out there, showing good speed and ability to get by linemen during one on ones.
Tyler Pierson OL, Countryside: at 6-4, 278-pounds, Pierson was one of the better offensive linemen at the event, and even though his teammate Tyler Moore gets all the accolades, Pierson showed he's one to watch. He's got two offers from Kansas and Colorado State, but more are on the way.
Broderick Lee DT, Tarpon Springs: Lee was one of the bigger defensive linemen out there, but also showed good burst and speed in one on ones.
Drakkar Wilson DT, Manatee: at 5'11-260 lacks the ideal size but made up for it with a great motor, and tenacity.
William Alderman DE, Hernando 6'3-230, good motor, but needs to get stronger
A look ahead:
Matt Jones RB Armwood: (2012) At 6'3-220 pounds and running a 4.53 40 yard dash, Jones showed great agility and hands for a back of his size during one-on ones.
Dante Fowler DE, Lakewood: (2012) Fowler continues to impress at every event he attends, and on Saturday was no different as the rising junior was one of the top performers.
Tyriq McCord, DE/TE Jefferson: (2012) McCord was a player I never heard about, but at 6'3-230, he has an impressive looking build and speed, and is a name to remember.