Monday, March 8, 2010
Philadelphia Nike combine stars
By Brian Stumpf ESPN RISE
PHILADELPHIA -- With a recorded 40-yard dash time as fast as 4.38 already on record from this January's U.S. Army National combine in San Antonio, athlete Damiere Byrd (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) entered Sunday's Nike Combine in Philadelphia with a reputation for speed.
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Over the next week, ESPN RISE will have several items pertaining to the NIKE Ohio and Philadelphia Combines. For complete coverage of the event be sure to check ESPN RISE daily.
That reputation may grow to legend after his performance at NovaCare Center on Sunday morning, as Byrd blazed the fastest time ever recorded at a Nike combine on SPARQ digital timing, going 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
It was an awe-inspiring run by an already well-regarded prospect, as the 5-foot-9, 155 pound Byrd, who will likely play wide receiver in college, already has double-digit scholarship offers from the likes of Iowa, South Carolina, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Stanford and others.
The rest of his day included a 4.18 shuttle time, which also was amongst the combine's fastest, as well as 34.6-inch vertical jump.
While Byrd's 40 time was the big story, two other speedy New Jersey athletes also put their best feet forward in Paul VI's Chris Hutton and Long Branch's Miles Shuler.
Shuler, a 5-foot-10, 166 pounder with several scholarship offers already in tow, had a huge day that included a 4.48 40 and a combine-best 41.6-inch vertical jump on his way to a 116.82 SPARQ Rating.
He was just bested by his fellow Garden Stater Hutton in the race for the top rating however, as the 5-foot-9, 177-pound WR/DB had a 4.64 40, 4.00 shuttle, 34.9-inch vertical and a 40-foot power ball throw on his way to a 117.27 SPARQ Rating.
Some other standout performers in Philadelphia included speedy 5-foot-9, 192-pound Whitehall (Whitehall, Pa.) running back Eric Fiore, who ran a 4.45 40 on his way to 116.58 SPARQ Rating, big 6-foot-1, 222-pound athlete Brandon Cottom of Council Rock North (Newtown, Pa.), who posted a 106.17 rating and has the versatility to play several positions in college; Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.) wide receiver Dexter Bridge who had a 99.45 rating; Maika Polamalu of Pottsgrove (Pottstown, Pa.), the cousin of Steeler Troy Polamalu, who went 95.55 and standout Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) RB Charles Davis, who ran 4.64 and finished with a 90.90 SPARQ Rating.
Philadelphia Nike Combine Workout Warriors 40-yard dash 1. Damiere Byrd - Timber Creek (Sicklerville, N.J.), 4.26 Breakdown: 5-9, 155 pound athlete totaled over 600 yards both rushing and receiving last fall.
2. Eric Fiore - Whitehall (Whitehall, Pa.), 4.45 Breakdown: 5-9, 192 pound running back ran for 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior.
3. (tie) De'andre Long - Orange (Orange, N.J.), 4.48 Breakdown: Intriguing athlete with good size (5-11, 185) for a wide receiver/strong safety prospect.
3. (tie) Miles Shuler - Long Branch (Long Branch, N.J.), 4.48 Breakdown: Talented athlete has nine offers already, the latest coming from West Virginia.
Vertical jump 1. Miles Shuler - Long Branch (Long Branch, N.J.), 41.6 inches Breakdown: Top vertical jump of the day was part of big outing for Shuler that resulted in a 116.82 SPARQ Rating.
2. Nkemjika Rajis - Central Dauphin (Harrisburg, Pa.), 36.8 inches Breakdown: 5-9, 198 pound 'backer had second solid Nike Combine of the spring, finishing with an 87.99 rating.
3. Gabriel Myers - University City (Philadelphia, Pa.), 36.6 inches Breakdown: 5-11, 170 pound defensive back also ran a 4.95 40-yard dash.
Shuttle run 1. Chris Hutton - Paul VI (Haddonfield, N.J.), 4.00 Breakdown: Speedy 5-9, 177 pound WR/DB showed all the physical tools of a DI prospect Sunday, finishing with the top rating at 117.27.
2. Dexter Bridge - Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.), 4.06 Breakdown: Big-play wideout with offers from NC State and Illinois showed great quickness in the shuttle.
3. Donovan Butler - Paul VI (Haddonfield, N.J.), 4.09 Breakdown: Smallish corner had big-time day, also clocking a 4.60 40 and jumping 34.8 inches in the vertical.
Power Ball throw 1. Hugh Gallagher - Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.), 45 feet Breakdown: 6-1, 214 pounder could play fullback, tight end or on the defensive side in college.
2. Brandon Cope - Pennridge (Perkasie, Pa.), 42-5 feet Breakdown: Sturdy linebacker finished with a 95.13 SPARQ Rating and also earned AAAA honorable mention all-state honors last fall.
3. (tie) Eddie Pavalko - North Schuykill (Ashland, Pa.), 42 feet Breakdown: 5-11, 230 pounder earned Class AA second team all-state honors last year at fullback.
3. (tie) George Thompson - Academy Park (Sharon Hill, Pa.), 42 feet Breakdown: 6-2, 229 pound d-tackle was a Class AAA honorable mention all-state selection as a junior.
Editors Note: All results should be considered unofficial until full results are posted later in the week. Over the next week, ESPN RISE will have several items pertaining to the Philadelphia Nike Football Combine. For complete coverage of the event be sure to check ESPN RISE daily.
At the conclusion of the Nike Football Combine tour, the top 20 SPARQ Rated athletes will be invited out to Portland (Ore.) for a SPARQ Rating National Championship competition to be held July 7-9.
A quick explanation of the events: The SPARQ Rating is a scoring system designed to measure football-specific athleticism by combining results in the four combine tests: 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and power ball throw.
The 40-yard dash at Nike Football Combines is timed using SPARQ digital timing. Not all players choose to test, and some have their marks scratched in individual events.
The shuttle run at the Nike Football Combine is timed with stopwatches, and players must touch the lines with their hand. Not all players choose to test, and some have their marks scratched in individual events.
The vertical jump at the Nike Football Combine is measured on jump pads in inches. Not all players choose to test, and some have their marks scratched in individual events.
*The kneeling power-ball throw is a test of upper-body and core strength and is measured in feet to the nearest half-foot. Not all players choose to test, and some have their marks scratched in individual events.
ESPN RISE will have much more from the Philadelphia Nike Combine throughout the week, including top testing results from each event, more standout performances, the recruiting buzz from the combine, an all-combine team and complete results by the end of the week.