Thursday, February 4, 2010
Miami Nike Combine can take the heat
By Brian Stumpf
The eyes of the football world will focus on Miami, Florida this Sunday, as the Colts battle the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. Saturday the sports' future will be on display as the Nike Combine rolls into Dade County to showcase the next crop of rising stars from one of the nation's most fruitful football hotbeds.
An annual stop on the Nike Football Training Camp tour and also Nike Combine tour, Miami will host the second combine of 2010 at North Miami Stadium, where over 1,000 of the region's young aspiring talent will come out to test and show why they might be the next Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee or countless other current NFLers that have emerged from South Florida through the Nike Football events.
Last year's Nike Combine in South Florida was deep as usual, hosting Class of 2010 talent that signed Wednesday with schools from the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Conference USA, MAC, SEC and Sun Belt.
This year's event should be similarly loaded with known prospects looking to test their mettle and possibly compete for a spot in this summer's first annual SPARQ Rating National Championship and also unknowns that have been working hard to make names for themselves off-season.
One Class of 2011 prospect who did just that a year ago as an underclassman and who will be coming back for more Saturday is talented two-way lineman Giorgio Newberry of Fort Pierce Central (Fort Pierce, Fla.). Newberry, a 6-6, 250 pounder who already has collected close to two dozen scholarship offers, burst on the scene at last year's Miami Nike Combine, clocking a 5.05 40-yard dash at 249 pounds on the way to an outstanding 70.35 SPARQ Rating.
Other players to watch on Saturday include:
*WR Tacoi Sumler, Gulliver Prep (Miami, Fla.) - two-time all-Dade County pick already has double digit offers and could clock one of nation's fastest 40 times.
NIKE Combine Links
Over the next week, ESPN RISE will have several items pertaining to the NIKE Miami Combine. For complete coverage of the event be sure to check ESPN RISE daily.
*RB Dee Hart, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) - Talented back scored 20 TDs this fall and is an early lean to Michigan
*DB Jeremy Cash, Plantation (Fla.) - already a three-year starter and holds offers from Ohio State, Miami and FSU
*LB Tony Steward, Pedro Menendez (St. Augustine, Fla.) - North Florida prospect should bid for top SPARQ Rating honors after scoring 83.13 a year ago
*DT Elkino Watson, Booker T. Washington (Miami, Fla.) - One of the state's top DL prospects at one of the state's top programs
*DB Andrew Johnson, Southridge (Miami, Fla.) - Intercepted a Dade County-best six passes this fall
*WR Devin Clarke, Sebring (Fla.) - Underrated talent to this point; had over 1,100 yards receiving and will be known statewide after Saturday
*OL Marcus Jackson, Vero Beach (Fla.) - All-area selection has an early Miami offer and could be one of the 'Canes first commits in Class of 2011.
*DE Bryant Dubose, Northeast (Oakland Park, Fla.) - Physical specimen at 6-3, 244 pounds who racked up 11 sacks this fall.
*WR RaShad Greene, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) - Hopes to be the next bluechip pass-catcher out of Aquinas.
*RB Duke Johnson, Norland (Miami, Fla.) - Rising junior set Dade County on fire this fall, rushing for 1,540 yards and 24 TDs.
*DE Robert Way, Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.) - Registered an eye-popping 24 sacks this fall.