Monday, March 21, 2011
Atlanta Nike SPARQ combine recap
By Brian Stumpf ESPN RISE
ATLANTA -- The 2011 Nike SPARQ combine tour rolled into the Atlanta metro area on Sunday, hosting over 1,000 athletes at Hallford Stadium.
For the second straight week, the headline coming out of the Nike combine was a new SPARQ rating high for the year. While last Sunday in Orlando it was 2013 recruit Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee) setting the bar, Sunday in the Peach State it was a relatively new name to the scene out of Tennessee.
Top rising senior
Cory Batey's 4.61 40 time was just part of his record-setting performance.
Cory Batey, WR (Nashville, Tenn./Ensworth School)
A key cog on Ensworth's state title team last fall as a two-way starter, Batey seized the moment Sunday at one of the most loaded stops annually on the Nike combine tour and posted the highest SPARQ rating in the nation to date this offseason. The 6-foot, 184-pounder clocked a 4.61 40, 4.16 shuttle, threw the power ball 41.5 feet and had a 39.3-inch vertical to finish with a 125.40 rating. Batey caught 47 passes for 687 yards last fall while totaling 42 tackles, and reported scholarship offers from Kentucky and South Carolina.
Rising seniors honorable mention
Kofi Amichia, OL (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern)
Offensive linemen have been impressive throughout the Nike combine tour and Amichia took it to a new level on Sunday, setting a new OL high for the SPARQ rating at 106.26 to top the 102.18 previously established by Chris Muller (Boyertown, Pa./Boyertown Area). Amichia, an athletic 6-3, 253-pounder, who is still looking for his first offer but has attended Georgia Tech's junior day, ran a 5.08 40, a 4.41 shuttle, jumped a startling 31.9 inches in the vertical and threw the power ball 42 feet.
Caleb Azubike, DE (Nashville, Tenn./McGavock)
Batey wasn't the only standout from the Volunteer State to turn heads, as Azubike, a chiseled 6-4, 234 pounder, made the trip well worthwhile with an outstanding rating for a defensive lineman at 94.86. He was solid in each testing field, running a 4.90 40, a 4.37 shuttle, throwing the power ball 38.5 feet and jumping 30.3 inches in the vertical. Boston College and Vanderbilt are the first two offers for Azubike, who totaled 17 sacks as a junior last fall.
Kenyan Drake, RB (Powder Springs, Ga./Hillgrove)
Drake, who verbally pledged to Alabama back in mid-February, returned to the event that put his name on the map a year ago and improved his 101.31 rating from last March to 103.83. The electric 6-0, 195-pounder who could play either RB or WR for the Tide, ran one of the day's fastest 40-yard dashes at 4.53 seconds and also jumped 36.6 inches in the vertical. He ran for 1,024 yards and 12 scores, while catching 44 passes for 600 yards and another eight touchdowns last fall.
Ukeme Eligwe, LB (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stone Mountain)
A second team Class AAA all-state selection last fall after totaling 121 tackles and five sacks, Eligwe put the athletic ability that have lead to nearly double-digit early offers for him on full display. The 6-2, 208-pounder finished with a 102.96 SPARQ rating, clocking a 4.71 40, a super quick 4.22 shuttle and also impressing with marks of 37.5 feet in the power ball and 33.2 inches in the vertical. Eligwe likes Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Virginia Tech early on, and all have offered except the Noles.
Joshua Holsey, DB (Fairburn, Ga./Creekside)
Holsey opened eyes at this event a year ago with a 92.46 SPARQ rating and followed it up with a big junior season that included nine interceptions and 13 receiving touchdowns, earning him Class AAAA all-state honors and leading to early offers from the likes of Auburn, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and several others. The athletic corner posted big numbers on Sunday, clocking a 4.55 40, a 4.15 shuttle and a 33.8-inch vertical jump on the way to an impressive 101.37 SPARQ rating.
Jalen Ramsey ('13), WR (Nashville, Tenn./Ensworth School)
Just as his teammate Batey posted the top score for the Class of 2012 participants in Atlanta, Ramsey did the same for all underclassmen at 104.94. Although he didn't see much time on a senior-laden Ensworth team that won a state title last fall, Ramsey displayed good athletic ability Sunday with a 4.63 40, a 4.19 shuttle and 40.9-inch vertical jump, to be a key contributor this fall.
Underclassmen honorable mention
Reggie Carter has the potential to be the next big thing at Stephenson High School.
Reggie Carter ('13), LB/DE (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson)
The Class of 2012 is drawing a lot of attention at Stephenson, with 11 players already holding offers, but Carter is a big reason why college coaches will continue to flock to the football factory in the future. The 6-0, 211 pounder, who played mostly defensive end as a sophomore this past fall when he racked up 10.5 sacks, clocked an excellent 4.65 40 and threw the power ball 34.5 feet. Florida State has already let the rising junior know that he has an offer.
Aaron Davis ('13), DB (Locust Grove, Ga./Luella)
Davis totaled 39 tackles and thee interceptions as a sophomore and is a player that Luella coach Nic Vasilchek believes can develop into an FBS recruit. Davis certainly looked the part Sunday, measuring 5-11, 163 pounds and running 4.68 in the 40 and 4.19 in the shuttle.
Jason Hatcher ('13), DE (Louisville, Ky./Trinity)
Hatcher had 40 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks as a sophomore this past season, helping Trinity to a state title. The 6-1, 233-pounder put up very good testing numbers, running 4.85 in the 40, 4.44 in the shuttle and throwing the power ball 35.5 feet for an 86.01 SPARQ rating. He's hearing from Kentucky, Louisville, Illinois, Arkansas and Alabama early on.
D'von Isaac ('13), DL (McDonough, Ga./Union Grove)
Keep an eye on this big body as he displayed the athletic ability that coaches on the next level are looking for from their trench men on Sunday. The 6-3, 290-pounder ran a solid 5.54 40 and threw the power ball an impressive 37 feet.
Donovahn Jones ('13), DB (Hampton, Ga./Dutchtown)
An honorable mention all-region pick last fall as a sophomore at free safety, Jones has the size and range that gives him the potential to be a coveted prospect in next year's recruiting cycle. The 6-0, 174-pounder was solid in every test, running 4.74 in the 40, 4.22 in the shuttle, throwing the power ball 35 feet and jumping 34.2 inches in the vertical for a SPARQ rating of 91.80.