Wheeler at TheInsiders/MSL Combine. From Left, Richie Rich, Revas Nichols, Boyd Coleman, Mam Nyang.
After all of the rain on Saturday and Sunday the conditions for doing anything outside were ideal on a bright and sunny Tuesday afternoon. Boyd Coleman and Richie Rich were the two players that were ready to be timed.
Rich and Coleman
"Richie and I have been looking forward to you coming," said
Coleman. "We've been practicing our whole lives for this. We've been racing
against each other since we were little."
I've been to college camps all across the south, and they test their kids on several different surfaces. I've seen it done on grass, sprint turf, and on the track. We went down to the track and measured out 40 yards, and we turned them loose.
The first time each of them ran, they ran one at a time. I had a watch on them, and assistant coach Matt Burleson had a watch on them.
Rich ran first: 4.55. He turned around after his run, and said "That was slow wasn't it. It felt slow." After being told of his time he vowed to do better.
Coleman was up next. Same time 4.55.
Then they asked if they could run together. I didn't have any problem with that. We had two watches, and I'd been to several college camps where they let the kids race against one another to get their times for their camps.
They ran together again, this time while the track coach was watching. Coleman nipped Rich for a 4.54 to a 4.55. Coleman was ahead by just a body lean. The track coach was already yelling at them from where they started telling them both why they lost so much time in their start.
Burleson looked up and said, "This next one could be special. Richie is going to be ticked that he lost."
After stretching out one more time, and getting some last minute instruction from their coach, they took off one more time. They were neck and neck the whole way and Rich edged Coleman at the end. I looked down at my watch, and then I looked over to Burleson as if to ask, "What did you get?" He looked across the two lanes at me with the same expression on his face.
I had 4.39 on my watch, and Coleman was the one in my lane. Burleson showed me his watch and it said 4.407. Richie turned and asked, "How can my time be slower when I finished first?" I told him I watched him finish first, I have no problem giving him the 4.39 that I had on my watch.
Needless to say, the boys from Wheeler turned it up a notch as the competition started getting fierce. I've loaded several film clips of Rich in action from his junior year, and I was happy with the 4.55. That time is plenty fast for a player with his type of balance, quickness, and vision. Rich can run a 4.5 doing zig zags.
Richie Rich Video
I'm not scouting for a track team, I'm scouting football players, and the way Rich can play football, 4.55 was fast enough for me. He turned it up a notch though, and I have a feeling 4.39 hand timed on a track is going to be fast enough for a lot more schools. He already as offers from
Rich in the Gauntlet
North Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina State, Duke, and Wake Forest.
North Carolina, Maryland, and MTSU were all in attendance for practice (though
they missed the timing on the track).
I haven't watched as much of Coleman yet, but he opened up some eyes yesterday on the track and in practice. He is definitely a player to watch for.
Rich and Coleman weren't the only players that competed yesterday. Revas Nichols was an All-County nose guard last year. Coach Goddard of Wheeler showed me some film of him before we went out, and he is lighting fast off the ball. He is undersized for defensive tackle on the division one level right now, but he is a player that some other schools should definitely take a look at because of his burst.
Watching Nichols on film, I said to coach Goddard, "He may not be a forty guy, but I bet he has a great ten yard burst." When I mentioned that to some of the other assistant coaches I was told that he had beaten Rich at ten yards before.
Knowing that Nichols didn't need to shine in the forty yard dash, we set up three cones on the game field and put him through a 20 yard shuttle drill. After getting the right shoes on, he turned in an outstanding time of 4.57. He also had a vertical jump of 30 inches at TheInsiders/MSL Combine.
The two most physically imposing players on the Wildcat team did not test. Mam Nyang is one of the top defensive linemen I have seen in the
state of Georgia this year. At 6-2 and some change, Nyang checks in at 250
pounds. He plays end for Wheeler, and he is incredibly quick off the ball. Once
more colleges get a look at him this spring and summer, he is going to have a
lot of choices.
Maybe the best looking player by site on the Wheeler team is Duranty Pitts. At 6-3 and 220 pounds, Pitts plays safety for Wheeler, but he will be a linebacker on the college level. He has all of the tools, the coaches are just waiting for the light to come on for Pitts. If it does, look out.
It was an excellent day at Wheeler to test, and to watch practice. I wanted to thank Coach Goddard and his staff for such great access to the program yesterday. Wheeler made a lot of strides last year, and they have a lot of talent returning this year including arguably the best player in the county in Rich. After going 5-5 last season, the Wildcats should challenge for the region crown this year.
Next Up: Peach County