Among the most highly-regarded was defensive back Mike Beckford, an athletic cover player out of Albemarle High in Virginia. Penn State, Virginia and Maryland have shown interest, and Virginia and West Virginia have visited. Beckford ran a 4.8 40 in Morgantown, but said he ran 4.4 before breaking the big toe on his right foot. It is expected to fully heal.
He also returned punts and kicks for Albemarle despite playing just six games last year. Beckford, originally from Palm Beach, moved to Virginia last fall. There was an error in his transcripts, however, and he didn't become eligible until midseason. Beckford's cousin, Randy Phillips, played for Miami as a true freshman last year and Beckford lists the Hurricanes as his top choice. Miami has not shown any interest, however, allowing Penn State and West Virginia to emerge as possibilities.
The best pure athlete was junior-to-be Lonnie Liggins, a running back out of Hereford High in Maryland. The scat-type back ran an electronically-timed 4.74 40, and logged a 35-inch vertical jump, a 4.18-second shuttle and a 7.22-second three-cone (or L drill). Though his 40 time was slow today (he ran faster times last week in Charleston, W.Va. and at the New Jersey-based National Underclassmen combine), Liggins' north-south quickness and his ability to change direction were solid. He does not yet have any offers.
Wendell Bacon, a junior from Woodrow Wilson High in D.C., lists himself as a defensive lineman, a secondary player and as a tight end. At 6-3, 240 pounds, he projects best as a tight end or linebacker in college. Bacon, whose cousin, Waine Bacon, played for the Indianapolis Colts last year, has a 27 inch vertical and moves well for an line player, but won't be large enough to man the that spot for WVU. He has West Virginia, Maryland and Penn State as favorites, but also is awaiting word from Florida State or Miami.
Yough Senior High (PA) wideout Tom Burkett is a possession-type receiver. He already plays in a 4-wide offense, and said that his downfield blocking skills are better-honed than most high school players. Burkett, a centerfielder on the baseball team, ran a 4.72 40 and posted a 37-inch vertical. He lists Temple, Ohio State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt and Georgia Tech as favorites.
Quarterback Jeremy Prophet, from James Hubert Blake in Silver Spring, Md., is a light, quick right-hander who has received interest from Temple, Princeton and Ball State. He ran a 4.9 40 and had a 29-inch vertical. Prophet said he would attend Maryland's camp, and possibly Temple's as well, to improve his stock.
State native Eric Smith, an outside linebacker from Mount View, W.Va., was also at the combine, along with a handful of other in-state players. Noticeably absent was Morgantown High defensive back Derek Long and highly-regarded Pittsburgh prospects Brandon Lindsey (Aliquippa) and Myles Caragein (Keystone Oaks). Lindsey, a 6-2, 220 pound linebacker/running back, was all-WPIAL as a junior when he ran for 1,234 yards and 19 scores. He also recorded 92 tackles, 11 sacks, three fumble recoveries, one interception and one defensive touchdown. He runs a 6.54 40 and has offers from Ohio State, Pitt, UConn and West Virginia. He also lists Penn State, Michigan and Georgia Tech as interests.
Caragein, a 6-3, 260 pound defensive end, has offers from Pitt, Indiana, N.C. State, Northwestern and Toledo. He recorded 68 tackles, 14 for loss, eight sacks, and 10 QB hurries. On offense, he caught 28 passes for 331 yards and had 54 pancakes.