Even with the windy city living up to its name Saturday morning, Scout's invite-only combine on the campus of Evanston Township High School had a successful turnout of more than 150 kids, most of which coming from the state of Illinois and Michigan and a good majority of them already drawing interest from Wisconsin.
Frequent Badger Nation contributor and Scout's Midwest Recruiting Analysis Allen Trieu will be pumping out content this week: giving a full combine recap, the best eight offensive and defensive players (as well as underclassmen), recruiting updates and the combine's most valuable offensive, defensive and underclassmen player.
Over the next several weeks, Badger Nation will be posting its exclusive interviews with some of the combine's most impressive players and those that are being eyed by Wisconsin. To give you a preview of some of those players, Badger Nation brings you some of its standout performances from today's combine.
Most Impressive: Junior Mylan Hicks – Renaissance (Mich.) Cornerback
There's a reason people call him ‘Clamps,' as Hicks, the 18th-ranked cornerback in the nation by Scout, was impressive during individual drills. Despite his 5-11 size and giving up a few inches to his competitors, Hicks (who was clocked at a 4.49 40-yard dash) was one of the most aggressive cornerbacks on the field, especially with his work on Blake Blackwell (2011 Cass Tech wide receiver).
In one of the more entertaining matchups, the two got into a holding match and went sprawling to the turf. After yelling for holding penalties on the other to the position coaches, the two went for a rematch. Although Blackwell made a solid move off the line to get a step, Hicks successfully recovered with a minor forearm to the chest and ran stride for stride. The end result is to be determined, as the attended pass went high over head.
Hicks, who recently received offers from Minnesota and Syracuse, has got Big Ten offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and the Badgers. Hicks likes UW and assistant coach DelVaughn Alexander, but it's undetermined if he's coming to UW for a camp or a visit.
Most Disappointing: Junior Kyle Prater - Proviso West (Ill.) Wide Receiver
Prater is the top wide receiver and the third-best player in the nation. The two reasons he was disappointing was – 1) Prater suffered an injury earlier in the week that kept him from working out on Saturday and 2) he apparently couldn't get a ride up to the combine.
Prater has over 20 scholarship offers, including one from Wisconsin, and he is planning on narrowing down his offer list to 10 by the end of the month.
Best ‘Wow' Factor: Sophomore Devaris Daniels - Vernon Hills (Ill.) Wide Receiver
Since moving up to the varsity squad midway through his freshman season, Devaris Daniels has quickly become one of the top targets in the Class of 2011. There is little doubt that he will be one of if not the top wide receiver in next year's class and schools are already lining up to pursue him.
In an interview with Badger Nation, Daniels (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) said most of his interest was coming from SEC schools (a conference he grew up loving), Pac 10 schools and Midwest schools like Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
Although he didn't know his stats off hand, all you have to do is watch his highlight film to see that this kid is for real and has gotten use to the speed of the varsity game. Daniels has got good blood lines, as his dad is former University of Georgia standout and current Washington Redskin defensive end Phillip Daniels.
He said he would prefer to play in the SEC because he has a lot of family in the south and grew up a fan of the conference, but said he's keeping an open mind and looking for the best fit.
Best Battles: One-on-One Linemen Drills
Talking to a number of coaches and Scout members that had attended the eight previous 2009 Scout Combines, this was, without question, the most competitive group of linemen thus far. When the drill was over, the on-site medical staff had already set up a makeshift camp in the end zone, handing out ice packs and applying gauze and Band-Aids. Shirts were torn, bodies were bruised and other player's ‘manliness' was being challenged. Needless to say, it was aggressive, impressive and three players caught the eye.
The first was offensive tackle junior Fabbian Ebbele, a 6-foot-7, 280-pound standout from Simeon Vocational H.S. in Chicago. His skills are still a little raw and his footwork his dicey at times but when he gets a good first step, his length keeps defenders at bay and away from the quarterback.
The second was junior Andrew Schofield, another offensive tackle from Carl Sandburg H.S. (Orland Park, Ill.). At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Sandburg admitted he did OK during the drills, but said it was hard without pads to grab onto. His OK looked pretty good, as he showed solid footwork coming out of his stance and has quick hands. Sandburg's been getting looks from Illinois (his early favorite), Indiana, Wisconsin, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.
Last, but certainly not least, was Willow Run (Mich.) defensive tackle junior Garret Davis. Davis looked as though he'd been through a couple of street fights with rips and tears all over his shirt and deep scratches on his shoulder. A team captain and first-team all-conference player, Davis' biggest attribute is his strength, as he maxes out on the bench at 315 pounds and the squat at 450 pounds. Davis played both sides of the ball in Ypsilanti, registering 70+ tackles (13 in a game) and 60+ pancakes (13 in a game), and could play either side at the next level. The big thing Davis needs to do is focus on one sport, as he plays basketball, baseball and football, but he certainly has toughness. After rolling his ankle early in drills, Davis put some ice on it, retied his shoes and got back in the rotation.
Avondale (Mich.) junior outside linebacker D.J. Lynch ran a 4.69 40. Lynch has been to Michigan and Michigan State and is also hearing from Illinois and Wisconsin.
Sophomore DeAnthony Arnett (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) set the early mark to beat with his 4.51 40. Reportedly grabbing 40 receptions, 700-plus yards and eight touchdowns, Arnett has been getting heavy interest from Michigan and Michigan State, as well as in school visits from Buffalo, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
But the unofficial mark of the day belonged to wide receiver Greg Hayes (5-foot-11, 175 pounds from Saginaw H.S. (Mich.)), as the junior flew down the line in 4.48 seconds. Hayes has no scholarship offer yet, but when interested schools Ball State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin get wind of his 40-time, an offer may be soon on its way.