Midwest Sports Combine

Tomorrow's Midwest Sports Combine, held at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin, will give in-state football players a unique opportunity to show their stuff in front of college coaches.

Outside of the handful of prospects lucky enough to have offers from the Wisconsin football program, it's sometimes difficult for state talent to get noticed for their abilities. Their tapes often get lost in the shuffle, and phone calls and visits from college programs are few and far between.

But tomorrow morning, a ray of opportunity is available for all of the top athletes in the Badger state, with the second annual Midwest High School Combine at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin.

As mentioned in a previous Badger Nation update, Antonio Freeman hopes to turn some heads on Saturday with an electric 40-time. But while Freeman already has a Division I scholarship offer (Wisconsin), the event will help less publicized athletes make a name for themselves. Coaches from all over the region will be in attendance, including Northern Illinois Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada, Valparaiso Head Coach Tom Horne and Dayton Head Coach Mike Kelly.

Bob Kieckbusch, the combine's founder and director, said the event is designed to assist Wisconsin high school athletes in making contact with college programs.

"It was started to help get exposure for under-recruited athletes," Kieckbusch said. "Since Wisconsin only has one university offering football scholarships, there is a ton of state talent waiting to be discovered. Our goal is to get attention for as many of those kids as possible."

Kieckbusch said the combine's objectives are to provide college coaches with unbiased results, and allow players to test their abilities against other players at their positions. It gives each athlete an honest look at how they stack up against the competition.

The players will be run through a gamut of tests, including the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, bench press, shuttle, three-cone drill, broad jump and anthropometric measurements (height, weight, chest, bicep, thigh, calf, neck).

High school players and coaches are notorious for fudging on their numbers when reporting them to recruiters. The Midwest High School Combine is one way for coaches to get accurate information.

"When an athlete tells me he runs a 4.8, that tells me it's a 5-flat," said UW-Stevens Point Coach John Miech. "I think this is very helpful because it helps the athlete get on the right team…for example, if a wide receiver runs a 4.9 and is tested that way, he shouldn't be walking on with the Badgers or at Northwestern. He should be looking at a smaller school so he can be successful. If a kid runs a 4.4 and he's not getting a Division I offer, he can say, `Please Division I or II, take a look at me.'"

Tomorrow's events are open to the public, with check-in beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the events starting at 9:15 a.m. For more information regarding the event, please visit MidwestSports.org

Some of the notable athletes joining Freeman at the Combine include the following standouts:

William Carter, OL Columbus West (OH)
Mike DuFrane, WR Hortonville
Dan Fruend, QB Kenosha St. Joes
Dustin Hass, QB Oconto
Andy Heller, WR Kenosha St. Joes
Dustin Lynch, RB Kenosha St. Joes
Kevin Miles, RB Howards Grove
David Paradeise, OL Apple Valley (MN)
Luke Radke, K Kettle Moraine

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