April 13, 2007

NJ/NY underclassmen dominate day two

The National Underclassmen Combine began its second day in New Jersey with the home state producing five of the eight morning award winners. Leading the charge was sophomore TE Tom Bianchi of West Essex, N.J., who was named the Overall MVP, after making the Ultimate 100 Camp in 2006 as a freshman.

Bianchi, 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds, is impressive physically and was dominant during individual drills and 1-on-1's. He runs and catches like a wide receiver, yet he also has the physicality of an offensive lineman. During the combine events he finished with a 29.5 inch vertical, 8'9.5" broad, 4.51 shuttle, 4.97 40, and 25 reps at 150-pounds.

The National Underclassmen Combine is a great opportunity for a player to get their name on the recruiting landscape, which is exactly what freshman J.T. Tartacoff of Montgomery High School in New Jersey accomplished. Tarticoff came away with both the WR/TE MVP and the Fastest Man Award in the morning session. Tarticoff did start during his freshman season and developed into quite a deep threat, but his performance on Sunday morning took him to the next level. At 5-foot-11 and 164-pounds, he had a 33-inch vertical, 9'2" broad, 4.54 40, 4.29 shuttle and 27 reps at 135-pounds, plus he was fantastic during both 1-on-1's and individual drills.

Another freshman to watch is Tony Jones, 5-foot-6 and 178-pounds, of Don Bosco Prep, who is already famous for starting at running back for the state champion and nationally ranked Ironmen in 2006. Jones walked away with the Freshman MVP, as he displayed great footwork and quickness, as well as good speed and raw athleticism that will only get better once he becomes more physically mature. During the combine events, Jones had a 28-inch vertical, 8'7.5" broad, 4.78 40, and 14 reps at 135-pounds.

The RB MVP went to sophomore James Connelly, 5-foot-8 and 161-pounds, of Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania. Connelly did a nice job during both the 1-on-1's and individual drills, plus during the combine events he finished with a 31-inch vertical, 9'5" broad, 4.68 40, and 4.5 shuttle.

Coming from Western Pennsylvania power, Central Catholic, was LB MVP Evan Fuentes. This freshman has a very bright future and has the potential to grow into a big time linebacker. At 5-foot-11 and 179-pounds, he had a 33-inch vertical, 9'1/2" broad, 4.52 shuttle, and 25 reps at 135-pounds. He also displayed excellent speed and quickness during 1-on-1's, which resulted in several deflected passes.

With Pennsylvania regularly producing top offensive line prospects, it should be no surprise that the OL MVP came from the Keystone State. Sophomore Tyler Swoyer, 6-foot-1 and 284-pounds, of Schuykill Haven High School was a lock for the award and finalized everything after not allowing a single sack during 1-on-1's. He also had 23 reps at 185-pounds, a 24-inch vertical, 7'5.5" broad, 5.02 shuttle, and 5.42 40.

The last award of the morning session went to DL MVP Tim Kologrivov of Ramapo High School in New Jersey. The freshman, 5-foot-10 and 215-pounds, may be a bit undersized, but he made up for it with his tremendous speed and quickness. Kologrivov finished with a 25.5-inch vertical, 8' broad, 25 reps at 150-pounds, 4.74 shuttle, and 5.14 40.

The two day National Underclassmen Combine event in New Jersey concluded on Sunday afternoon with a number of top performances. Leading the way was sophomore RB Ayo Isijola of Sheepshead Bay High School in New York, who was named Overall MVP after excelling throughout the afternoon.

Isijola, 5-foot-9 and 175-pounds, showcased his blazing speed during the 1-on-1's and during the 40 where he ran a 4.42. It's should come as no surprise that he also ran a 10.9 100M in the 9th grade. With the rest of his combine events, he finished with a 32.5 inch vertical, 9'10" broad, and 19 reps at 150-pounds.

Aside from Isijola, there were two other impressive running back performances, one of which was from sophomore Carlton Koonce, who was named the RB MVP. Koonce, from Rancocas Valley Regional High School in New Jersey, was great during the 1-on-1's and individual drills, plus at 5-foot-7 and 152-pounds, he had a 27-inch vertical, 9'3" broad, 4.59 40, 4.53 shuttle, and 16 reps at 150-pounds. Just missing out on the RB MVP was sophomore Kaseeim Everett, 5-foot-9 and 160-pounds, of Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia. Everett had a very impressive 34.5-inch vertical and 9'2" broad, plus a 4.58 shuttle and 4.75 40.

Just as with the running backs, more than one defensive linemen stood out during the afternoon. Winning the DL MVP, however, was Christian Reed, 6-foot-1 and 210-pounds, of Notre Dame High School in New Jersey. Reed finished with a 22.5-inch vertical, 7'10" broad, 4.96 shuttle, and 12 reps at 185-pounds, but it was the 1-on-1's that he truly shined. The other defensive lineman worth mentioning was J.P. Corrigan of Pope John High School in New Jersey. Corrigan, 5-foot-11 and 270-pounds, has a future at either defensive tackle or center, as he was unbelievably athletic and quick for a player of his size. During the combine events he had a 24.5-inch vertical, 4.89 shuttle, 5.50 40, and 20 reps at 185-pounds.

One of the more imposing players of the entire weekend was LB MVP sophomore Carlo Calabrese of Verona High School in New Jersey. Calabrese, 6-foot-2 and 218-pounds, showed off his strength during 1-on-1's, as he knocked more than a few running backs to the ground, plus he excelled during the individual drills. He also showed off his strength by having 26 reps at 150-pounds, plus he ran a 4.63 shuttle, had a 26.5-inch vertical and a 8'5" broad.

Two Don Bosco Prep (NJ) players also left the afternoon session with MVP's. The Freshman MVP went to LB Ryan Cobb, 5-foot-10 and 205-pounds, who looked more like a senior than a freshman during 1-on-1's. He also finished with a 32-inch vertical, 8'1" broad, 4.71 shuttle, 4.85 40, and 26 reps at 135-pounds. The other Bosco player to walk away with an award was freshman OL Peter Meile. Similar to Cobb, he definitely didn't look like a freshman during 1-on-1's, because of his tremendous technique. Meile, 5-foot-10 and 235-pounds, also had 21 reps at 150-pounds and a 5.33 shuttle.

Joining Don Bosco Prep with multiple MVP winners in the afternoon was Notre Dame High School, as sophomore Vail Grafton was named DB MVP. Grafton, 5-foot-6 and 158-pounds, shined during 1-on-1's , where he did not allow one pass completion and had two interceptions. He also had 17 reps at 150-pounds, an 8'5" broad, and a 4.72 40.

Friendly High School in Maryland is no stranger to having D1 prospects, which bodes well for WR MVP Alex Blake. The sophomore, who measured in at 6-foot-1 and 170-pounds, was awesome during 1-on-1's, while running smooth and precise routes. The talented receiver also had a 31-inch vertical, 8'10" broad, 4.82 40, 4.53 shuttle, and 15 reps at 150-pounds.

The last award of the weekend event in New Jersey went to QB MVP Ryan McGuire of Ridge High School in New Jersey. McGuire, a sophomore who measured in at 5-foot-9 and 178-pounds, was very accurate during 1-on-1's and also showed excellent vision.

Mike Farrell is the National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mike@rivals.com

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