April 26, 2007

Ohio boasts underclass talent in session I

The Ohio area has long been known as a top region for college level talent, so it should come as no surprise that the two sessions recently held by the NationalUnderclassmen.com Showcase in the Buckeye State produced some of the best skill talent that has been seen during the Combine's history.

"There's a great tradition of high school football in Ohio and this session lived up to that," said Showcase founder Dave Schuman (www.nationalunderclassmen.com). "The defense especially stood out."

Headlining the morning session was Overall MVP Brad Rogers of Toledo Central Catholic in Ohio. The sophomore linebacker, who measured in at 5-foot-9 and 214 pounds, was dominant during 1-on-1's, had a 4.65 40, 4.68 shuttle, 27-inch vertical, and 23 reps at 150-pounds. Another dominating linebacker was sophomore Deshawn Morton of Mifflin High School in Ohio. Mifflin, who won the Linebacker MVP, had 23 reps at 150-pounds and a 4.81 shuttle, but the testing does not tell the whole story with Morton. At 5-foot-8 and 210-pounds, he was completely dominant during 1-on-1's, as he stopped 8 of the 10 running backs he faced by simply manhandling them physically.

Just as with the linebackers, two defensive backs also stood out during the morning session. Winning the Defensive Back MVP was sophomore Nil Richards of Lee's Summit West High School in Missouri. Richards, 5-foot-10 and 182-pounds, was a shut down defensive back during 1-on-1's even though his natural position is at safety. He is physical and plays great bump-and-run coverage. He also had a 32-inch vertical, 8'9 " broad, 4.40 shuttle, and 22 reps at 150-pounds. The defensive back who deserves special mention is freshman Karrington Griffin of Cardinal Mooney in Ohio. Griffin, 5-foot-6 and 170-pounds, had a 31-inch vertical, 8'6 " broad, 4.34 shuttle, and 4.78 40, plus he was excellent during 1-on-1's.

The Fastest Man Award during the morning went to another defensive back, freshman Ruben Benjamin of East Tech in Ohio. Benjamin, 5-foot-5 and 170 pounds, ran a 4.51 40, which sealed the deal for him during the morning session.

The top defensive lineman during the morning was sophomore Trae Tiller of Harvest Prep in Ohio. Tiller, 6-foot-1 and 234 pounds, was dominant during 1-on-1's, and had a 23 inch vertical, 4.98 40, and 13 reps at 185 pounds.

The offensive line was anchored by sophomore Sam Longo of Bellbrook High School in Ohio. Longo, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, was explosive and dominant during 1-on-1's and individual drills. He finished with a 4.94 40, 4.88 shuttle, 8'5 " broad, 28-inch vertical, and 21 reps at 185 pounds.

The quarterback position was dominated by two freshmen in the morning session. The Quarterback MVP went to Caleb Watkins of Middletown High School in Ohio, who was tremendous in passing drills and 1-on-1's. Watkins, 6-foot-2 and 171 pounds, had a 25-inch vertical, 4.93 40, 4.52 shuttle, and 22 reps at 135 pounds. The Freshman MVP went to Derek Rolack of Waverly High School in Ohio. Rolack has the size, 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, and the talent to be a top level dual-threat quarterback. During the combine events he finished with a 28-inch vertical, 8'4" broad, 4.55 shuttle, 4.75 40, and 16 reps at 135 pounds.

A number of running backs left their mark during the morning session, but the MVP went to sophomore Marcus Fox of St. Alban's High School in West Virginia. He was phenomenal during 1-on-1's and showed tremendous explosion, hips, and hands for a running back. At 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds, he had a 31-inch vertical, 8'11" broad, 4.85 40, 4.62 shuttle, and 21 reps. Two other sophomore running backs also deserve special mention. First, Darrell Edmonson, 5-foot-7 and 178 pounds, of Dwight Eisenhower High School in Illinois, had a 30-inch vertical, 9'4 " broad, 4.70 shuttle, 4.85 40, and 19 reps at 150-pounds, while David Brown, 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, of Shelbyville High School in Indiana excelled during the combine events and is built like Tarzan. If he continues to improve his hips and all-around skills, he could develop into a tremendous D-1 prospect. He finished with a 36-inch vertical, 9'7" broad, 4.65 40, and 33 reps at 150-pounds.

The Wide Receiver MVP went to sophomore Antwan Robinson of Southfield High School in Michigan. Robinson, 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, caught our eye during the 1-on-1's, where he caught all eight catchable passes, many in spectacular fashion. He also had a 28-inch vertical and 4.92 40. Special mention is also given to sophomore tight end Danny Carlso of Triad High School in Illinois. At 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, he is very athletic for a tight end, and had 20 reps at 150-pounds, a 4.84 40, and an 8'8 " broad.

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