EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Last Wednesday's Elite College Combine at the practice bubble at Giants Stadium showcased the best of the best from New Jersey, New York, New England, Maryland and Eastern Pennsylvania. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell breaks down each position and highlights the standouts.
Quarterback There were seven quarterbacks on hand on the evening and the clear standouts were Princeton (N.J.) The Hun School senior-to-be Dom Natale and Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt sophomore Jeremy Ricker. Natale showed good touch, a strong arm (especially on out patterns and curls) and accuracy. He also showed poise and confidence, two things every quarterback needs.
Ricker has an outstanding arm, pinpoint accuracy and unlimited potential. Once he adds a couple more inches, he'll be one of the top signal-callers for 2006. Wayne Hills, N.J. quarteback Nick Worzel and Chatham (Va.) Hargrave signal-caller Chris Allison also drew praise from college recruiters.
Running back Flanders (N.J.) Mt. Olive sophomore Jaslee Rouson was named the Running Backs MVP, but many in attendance thought the award should have gone to another super soph -- Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy showed improved speed, great feet and excellent vision as well as a set of good hands. Rouson was also very impressive and has a nice burst and change of direction.
White Plains (Md.) Lackey tailback Morgan Green was a bit banged up, but still impressed during drills and testing while Sparta (N.J.) Pope John running back Jason Harper showed impressive speed.
Wide receiver Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt athlete Derrick Williams was, as usual, the showstopper on the evening and his speed had many in awe. The amazing thing is that Williams is still learning the wideout position having played quarterback much of his high school career. Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln wideout Nyan Boateng was the most polished receiver overall and hard to handle with his height and leaping ability. Boateng also showed the speed that some had questioned, positioning himself as a possible Rivals100 member.
A few other wideouts impressed as well including Red Bank, N.J. standout Rahmir Cottman (tall frame, good speed and hands), Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic wide receiver Isaiah Williams (improved burst and quickness after the catch) and Lawrenceville (N.J.) Notre Dame wideout Rich Gunnell (very good ball skills and hands, precise routes). Irvington, N.J. wideout Todd Dorcelus was also quite impressive with his combination is size, speed and quickness getting in and out of routes. The wideout position was one of the strongest overall at the combine.
Tight end No one helped themselves more than Brick, N.J., tight end Garrett Graham, who earned five offers following a very solid performance. Graham showed the route-running ability of a wideout as well as good hands and ball skills. His speed was also impressive. Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic tight end Jim Dray was the best tight end on hand, despite being around 80-percent with an ankle sprain. He posted the top 40-yard dash time at his position even with the injury and was too tall for many defensive backs in the one-on-ones.
Plainfield, N.J. offensive tackle Eugene Monroe was the best offensive lineman in a strong group, going head-to-head with the top defensive linemen all evening. Monroe is nearly impossible to beat inside and, once he adapted to the speed of his opponents, showed how well-rounded his is. Delran (N.J.) Holy Cross offensive tackle Dennis Landolt was the surprise of the combine, showing an ability on par with the best in the country. Landolt uses his long arms very well, has excellent leverage and is a mauler. He was also the quickest offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash.
Other standouts included Doylestown (Pa.) Central Bucks South tackle Dave McClain (massive, physical, great run blocker), Marshfield guard Austin Giles (very quick, great motor), Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco tackle Brian Roche (nasty, adept at both run and pass blocking), Philadelphia (Pa.) St. John Neumann tackle Marques Slocum (tall, long arms, quick feet), Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic tackle Dan Larkin (physical, strong, excellent in limited space) and Washington (D.C.) Dunbar monster Kevin Wiggins (biggest lineman, great wingspan).
Sophomore J.B. Walton from White Plains (Md.) Lackey was also very impressive, posting the best pro agility time and holding his own against older players. The offensive line was clearly the strongest position at the combine.