The 2007 Underclassman Combine season started off in style On Sunday, March 18, as the event hit the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. Both sessions were filled with top talent, and today we'll start with a quick rundown of the top morning performances, which included sophomore cornerback Philip Gaines of Judson High School, who was named the morning session MVP.
"The event was tremendous and the talent here in Texas is very impressive," said founder Dave Schuman of www.schumanspeed.com. "This is our first event in Texas and the caliber of athlete has been high."
Gaines, 5-foot-11 and 150-pounds, had a 4.49 40, 4.15 shuttle and 9'4 broad jump, but he truly shined during the 1-on-1 portion of the event, when despite constant action; he did not allow one reception. Another defensive back who shined during the morning session was sophomore Loyd Bradley Jr. from Mansfield Summit, Texas. At 5-foot-7 and 161-pounds, his 4.02 shuttle time was the 2nd fastest ever at an Underclassman Combine event. Bradley, who was named Defensive Back MVP, also added 21 bench reps at 150-pounds, and was impressive during 1-on-1 drills.
In order to have impressive defensive back performances, the skill level at the wide receiver position must also be strong. Leading the charge for the wide receivers was freshman Kyren Watts of New Waverly Senior High School in Texas, who was named the Wide Receiver MVP. Watts, who showcased an impressive 6-foot-2, 164-pound frame, had several highlight reel receptions during the 1-on-1's, plus tested solidly with a 4.58 shuttle and 4.75 40. Competing neck and neck with Watts for the WR MVP was Josh Norton of Norman North High School in Oklahoma. Similar to Watts, Norton showed tremendous desire and attitude, while also making a few circus catches. At 5-foot-8 and 190-pounds, he also showcased a 30-inch vertical, 4.35 shuttle, and finished with 28 reps at 150-pounds. Also worth mentioning at the wide receiver position was Laray Woodard, 5-foot-11 and 152-pounds, of Summit High School in Texas, who ran a 4.48 40, 4.14 shuttle, and had a 9'7 broad jump, plus Will Adams of South Grand Prairie in Texas, who showed a tremendous amount of athletic ability and ran a 4.63 40 and 4.22 shuttle.
The wide receivers had an array of quarterbacks to choose from, but the one that definitely stood out was sophomore Jordan Najvar from Klein Oak High School in Texas. Besides his natural ability, Najvar also stood about because of his 6-foot-6, 218-pound frame. During 1-on-1's, he showed a deadly combination of arm strength and accuracy, especially for a player of his age. He also showed off his strength during the combine by doing 28 reps at 150-pounds.
The running backs were yet another position which excelled on Sunday morning. Freshman Brian Mills of Edmond Sante Fe, Oklahoma was named RB MVP, as he turned in the fastest 40 time of the morning at 4.44. He complimented that with a 4.36 shuttle, 8'10 broad jump, and an excellent performance during both individual workouts and 1-on-1's. While Kyren Watts won the WR MVP, his brother, freshman Tyren Watts, also left a very positive impression. Watts ran a blazing 4.47 40, 4.55 shuttle, and had an 8'8 broad jump.
Sophomore Alex Dunnam of Friona High in Texas was clearly the top offensive lineman on Sunday morning and walked away with the OL MVP. Dunnam, 6-foot-3 and 225-pounds, was dominant in 1-on-1's and showcased flawless technique. When he begins to fill out his frame, he has the potential to be a very impressive and athletic offensive guard.
Returning to the defensive side of the ball, we'll start with DL MVP Nathan Badger, a sophomore from Norman North in Oklahoma. As with Dunnam, Badger was dominant during 1-on-1's and at 6-foot-1 and 234-pounds, he had a 28-inch vertical, 4.57 shuttle, and 12 reps at 185-pounds. Joining Badger on the defensive line was Freshman MVP Samuel Harvill, who is actually an 8th grader. Harvill, who will be attending the famous Shiloh Christian High School in Missouri, turned in amazing combine numbers for a player of his age. At 6-foot-0 and 239-pounds, he ran a 5.13 40, 4.98 shuttle, had a 8'0 broad, 24-inch vertical and an absolutely amazing 48 reps at 150-pounds. It should come as no surprise that Harvill currently holds the U.S. age group record with a mark of 405-pounds on the bench. Another defensive lineman worth mentioning is Darius Banks of Hendrickson in Texas, who had a 5.51 40, 5.33 shuttle, and 19 reps at 185-pounds after measuring in at 6-foot-0 and 325-pounds.
Robert Lewis, 5-foot-10 and 179-pounds, a sophomore from Mesquite, Texas was named the LB MVP after an outstanding overall performance in the combine events. Lewis had 31 reps at 150-pounds, a 29-inch vertical, 8'6 broad, and ran a 4.67 40 and 4.60 shuttle. Other impressive linebacker performances were turned in by Trace Pawelek of Springtown, Texas, who ran a 4.66 40, 4.45 shuttle, and had 24 reps at 150-pounds, and Alvin Knox of West Dallas, who ran a 4.69 40, and had a 9'3 broad and 30.5 vertical.
Finally, a few special mentions from the morning session: With Brian Mills winning the RB MVP and a rule in place that allows only one award per participant, the Fastest Man Award went to Adam Smith of Covenant Christian Academy in Texas, who was the 2nd fastest man of the morning with a 4.45. Two more freshmen to keep an eye on in the coming years are Shawn Onyechi of Deer Park, Texas and Oristes Hughes Jr. of Memorial High in Texas. Onyechi had the top vertical jump of the morning with a 33.5, plus had a 9'5 broad, 4.29 shuttle, 4.67 40, and a very impressive 40 reps at 135-pounds. Hughes was equally impressive with a 4.65 40, 4.37 shuttle, 9'0 broad and 27 reps at 135-pounds.
Check back later this week as we bring you the results from the afternoon session in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell contributed to this article.
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