April 18, 2007

Ariz. athlete leads L.A. Underclassmen Combine

The NationalUnderclassmen.com Showcase hit the Los Angeles area on Easter and the morning session drew 190 athletes, a single session high for the Combine. Leading the charge in the morning session was sophomore athlete Shane McCullen, who was named the Overall MVP and also received the Fastest Man Award.

"We had a great turnout in Los Angeles even though the event had to be moved to Easter," said NationalUnderclassmen.com Showcase founder Dave Schuman (www.nationalunderclassmen.com). "The morning session had a few of the best offensive linemen we've seen and the one-on-ones were great and Shane was impressive. He showed a great deal of improvement since last year."

McCullen, 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds, who is from Apache Junction High School in Arizona, was also a participant at the Ultimate 100 Camp as a freshman. Throughout the event he showcased his fantastic athleticism and impressive stature, and he proved all of this during the combine events with a 35-inch vertical, 4.47 40, 4.44 shuttle, and 22 reps at 150 pounds. He also had an amazing 10'3.5" broad jump, which was a Combine record until it was broken in the afternoon session.

McCullen wasn't the only running back who stood out during the morning. In fact, the race for the Running Back MVP was so close that Co-MVP's were named. First was sophomore Nick Williams of Monte Vista High School in California. Williams, 5-foot-9 and 166-pounds, had a 9'3" broad, 14 reps at 150-pounds, 4.61 40, and 4.32 shuttle, while performing very well in both individual drills and 1-on-1's. Joining Williams as co-MVP was sophomore Vincent Minor of Etiwanda High School in California. Minor, 5-foot-9 and 164 pounds, was one of the most dominant players of the day during 1-on-1's and individual drills, plus he had a 29-inch vertical, 4.68 40, and 13 reps at 150-pounds.

The Quarterback MVP went to sophomore Nicholas Lenhart of Bishop Amat in California. Lenhart, 5-foot-11 and 170-pounds, is a dual-threat quarterback who was athletic, fast, had great delivery of the ball, and showed poise and command in the pocket. During the combine events he finished with a 31.5-inch vertical, 8'11" broad, 4.86 40, and 4.50 shuttle.

The Freshman MVP went to another quarterback, Nate Scola of Apache Junction of Arizona. Scola, 5-foot-9 and 185-pounds, was a true leader on the field, as he took command of the receivers and ran the passing routes with precision. He has a bright future as a dual-threat quarterback. He also had a 4.60 shuttle, 28-inch vertical, 8'7.5" broad, and 26 reps at 135-pounds during the combine events.

Two wide receivers stood out during the morning session, but sophomore Darid Quiroga of Ayala High School in California came away with the MVP. Quiroga, 6-foot-0 and 194-pounds, has great size, to go along with fabulous hands and route running ability. He was equally impressive during the combine events, with a 4.33 shuttle, 8'11.5" broad, 30-inch vertical, and 18 reps at 150-pounds. Also worth mentioning was sophomore Samuel Treat of Desert Ridge High School in Arizona. Treat, 6-foot-3 and 178-pounds, already has the frame of a big time receiver, plus he showcased smooth route running and exceptional receiver skills throughout the morning. During the combine events he finished with a 9'10" broad, 4.62 shuttle, 4.77 40, and 12 reps at 150-pounds.

As with the wide receiver position, two offensive linemen stood out during the morning session. Leading the way was sophomore Steve Trujillo of Cathedral High School in California. Trujillo, 6-foot-4 and 300-pounds, has the potential to be one of the top linemen in the Class of 2009, and he left no doubt of that during the morning. He was dominant during 1-on-1's, plus he ran a 5.31 40, 5.19 shuttle, had 22 reps at 185-pounds, and a 22-inch vertical. Also from Cathedral High School was sophomore Christopher Jimenez, who at 6-foot-3 and 355-pounds, was undefeated during 1-on-1's and displayed great footwork despite his size. He also had 24 reps at 185-pounds and a 5.6 shuttle. Overall, the group of offensive linemen during the morning session was arguably the best group ever assembled at the NationalUnderclassmen.com Showcase.

The defensive side of the ball also had a number of impressive performances, such as Defensive Back MVP sophomore Ketwaun Frank of Elk Grove High School in California. Frank, 5-foot-6 and 150-pounds, did not have any experience in the combine events, but displayed lockdown abilities during 1-on-1's. With most players, combine results are important, but with Frank they proved unnecessary as the kid can flat out play. His two interceptions and four pass break up's proved to everyone that he was the best defensive back during the morning session.

The Defensive Line MVP went to sophomore Rex Meikal of Yucaipa High School in California. Meikal, 6-foot-1 and 260-pounds, had good combine numbers, 21 reps at 185-pounds, 4.96 shuttle, 23-inch vertical, and 5.44 40, but he was especially impressive during both individual drills and 1-on-1's.

The last MVP of the morning session went to sophomore linebacker Robert Franco of San Pedro High School in California. Franco, 5-foot-11 and 206-pounds, shined during the combine events, with a 4.64 40, 4.37 shuttle, 32 reps at 150-pounds, 8'7" broad, and 29-inch vertical. Franco was dominant physically and athletically in all phases.

Finally we'd like to give a special mention to sophomore linebacker Andrew Meredith, who gained the nickname "Hollywood" during the recent New Jersey combine, and continued his solid play during the morning session. Meredith came to Los Angeles from Green River, Wyoming and put up even more impressive than his previous combine in New Jersey. Meredith, 6-foot-0 and 175-pounds, had a 29.5 vertical, 9'6" broad, 4.56 40, 15 reps at 150-pounds, and a shuttle time of 4.18, which was the best of the day.

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