TUALITAN, Ore. - The National Underclassmen Combine rolled into Tualatin, Oregon last weekend, giving Northwest members of the Class of 2010 and 2011 a chance to test their skills and show they are committed to becoming better football players.
There were approximately 100 players in attendance at the well-structured combine. All campers tested in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, high jump, broad jump and bench press. Additionally, there were workouts broken out by position and 3-on-3's to round out the event.
It was a chilly day and the temperature inside the facility was not much warmer than the outside air. Cold days can sometimes lead to slower times and tighter muscles, but a 4.55 second 40 was clocked, along with a 9'4" standing broad jump.
So who stood out and who should the recruitniks keep an eye on the next few years?
From the lineman group, Patrick Lindsly, a 6-foot-4, 236-pound T/TE/DE out of Bellevue (Wash.) Interlake clocked in at a 5.1-second 40 and a 4.77 shuttle. He started on varsity as a freshman and is definitely one to watch.
Joe Lopez, a 5-foot-11, 233-pound sophomore DE/C out of Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic ran a 4.96 40. He prefers defense and will be a force to be reckoned with in his final two years with the Rams.
One of the biggest athletes on the field was sophomore James Atoe, a 6-foot-5, 323-pound T/DT out of The Dalles (Ore.). He already has the size and bloodlines (brother Ryan played college ball with Idaho and in the NFL with Arizona and New England), and now just needs to work hard on the technical aspects of the sport.
Another impressively-sized player was Zach Banner, a 6-foot-6 eighth grader from Tacoma (Wash.) Tacoma Lakes. He's got a few years to work on his speed and agility, but you can't teach his size.
Linebackers that stood out include Jason Walker, a 5-foot-9.5, 209-pound freshman from Tacoma (Wash.) Curtis. He's a solid looking player who should only improve as he matures.
Colt Lyela, a 6-foot-2, 189-pound freshman TE/LB out of Hillsboro, Ore., showed some nice spring with a 9'4" broad jump.
On the skill side, several players made an impression.
From the running back group, Larry Dixon, a 6-foot, 200-pound sophomore from Bremerton (Wash.) Olympic looks like someone that could immediately step onto a Division I football field and fit right in. He displayed speed, power and agility in the individual drills and definitely looked the part of someone who helped lead his Olympic team to their first league title since 1986.
Other running backs that stood out included Jonathon Krishner from Bellevue (Wash.) Interlake, Nathaniel Penoranda from Camas (Wash.) Union and Drew Chung from Abbotsford (BC) W.J. Mouat.
It was a smaller QB group but one player stood out from a next-level perspective. Sophomore Joshua Milhollin, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound gunslinger from Medford (Ore.) South Medford, has a solid arm to go along with the height that Division I recruiters look for. His production over the next two years could tell the story in how far he will go.