Several shine at Orlando Nike Combine
Big back Henry posts elite SPARQ Rating on his way to The Opening
Henry grabs Opening invite in Orlando
WINTER GARDEN, Fla. -- The Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour traveled to West Orange High just outside of Orlando on Sunday, as more than 1,400 student-athletes showed up to test and compete. After a strong showing in Miami on Saturday that saw the first official invite to The Opening earned, another SPARQ star netted a berth to the elite event on Sunday.
Star Yulee (Fla.) tailback Derrick Henry came in as the odds-on favorite to contend for the top SPARQ Rating and didn't disappoint. After all, the chiseled 6-foot-3, 241-pounder was one of only three underclassmen invited to the inaugural event in 2011 and finished third out of 150 of the nation's top prospects in the SPARQ Rating National Championship with a 138.51 rating this past July.
After a big junior campaign that saw the Georgia commit total 2,610 yards and 33 scores, Henry went right back to training with former NFL linebacker Lonnie Marts in the offseason. The hard work clearly paid off on Sunday, as Henry outclassed the other 1,400 participants by a full 20 points, finishing with a 138.01 SPARQ Rating on the strength of a 42-foot power ball toss and a 40.3-inch vertical jump.
Shortly after his testing was completed, Henry was rewarded with the second invitation to this year's The Opening.
"I want to thank my coaches and teammates," said Henry. "We've been working hard this offseason and this is a blessing."
On the recruiting front, while he made an early pledge to Georgia shortly after returning home from "The Opening" this past summer, Henry said he is going to take official visits to USC and Alabama this fall.
Top Class of 2013 Performer
Derrick Henry, RB, Yulee (Fla.)
Henry continues to impress, as he's packed 10 pounds of muscle on his frame since last year's Orlando Nike Combine and lowered his shuttle time from 4.38 to 4.15. The prolific back has rushed for 7,866 yards and 94 touchdowns in his first three varsity seasons.
Class of 2013 Honorable Mention Performers
Reggie Davis, WR, Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Lincoln seems loaded with Division I talent every year and Davis, an ESPNU Watch List prospect, could be the Trojans' best in the Class of 2013. A dynamic wideout and kick returner who earned honorable mention Class 7A All-State honors as a junior, Davis measured in at 6-foot, 158-pounds and ran a 4.55 40-yard dash on what was a cool and wet day. Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Miami, Oregon and many more have already offered.
Adam Lane, RB, Winter Haven (Fla.)
This ESPNU Watch List prospect was one player we were looking forward to seeing Sunday and the Florida-bound back didn't disappoint, finishing with the day's sixth-best SPARQ Rating. Coming back from a broken leg that caused him to miss nearly all of his junior year, the 5-foot-8, 216-pound stout back showed he was nearly all the way back, registering a 4.72 40, 4.32 shuttle, 38.5 feet in the power ball toss and a 33.6-inch vertical jump.
Another Florida commit in attendance on Sunday, Powell showed the quickness and strength that made him a terror off the edge last fall at Mainland that earned him Class 6A second team all-state honors. The 6-foot-2, 187-pounder ran a 4.28 shuttle and threw the power ball 38 feet on the way to a very solid 93.09 SPARQ Rating.
Matt Milano, DB, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)
This 6-foot, 193-pound safety had a big season on the field this past fall, earning Class 8A third team all-state honors, and displayed that he has the athletic ability to be a BCS-level recruit. Milano finished with the combine's fourth-highest SPARQ Rating at 104.52, clocking in at 4.64 in the 40, 4.25 in the shuttle, throwing the power ball 38 feet and jumping 34.3 inches in the vertical.
Keanu Neal, DB, South Sumter (Bushnell, Fla.)
Neal recently committed to Florida over offers from South Carolina, Auburn, Clemson and showed the athleticism of a prototype safety on Sunday; checking in at 6-foot-1, 200-pounds and clocking a 4.67 40, a 4.34 shuttle and jumping 33.8 inches in the vertical on his way to a 90.72 SPARQ Rating. Neal recorded 140 tackles and three interceptions this past fall to earn Class 4A All-State honors.
Top Underclass Performer
Keyon Brown ('14), DE, Hardee County (Wauchula, Fla.) The 6-foot-2, 227-pounder ran a superb 4.77 40 and threw the power ball 38.5 feet on his way to a 94.74 SPARQ Rating. Brown ran for seven scores and had five sacks as a sophomore.
Other underclassmen who impressed
DB Dominique Brown ('14), 5-11, 183, Trinity Catholic (Ocala, Fla.)
QB D.J. Gillins ('14), 6-3, 185, Eagle's View Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.)
WR Alex Gomez ('14), 5-11, 168, Olympia (Orlando (Fla.)
WR Carson Jackson ('14), 6-2, 190, Melbourne (Fla.)
RB Charles Nelson ('14), 5-8, 163, Seabreeze (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
RB Deonshay Wells ('14), 5-8, 160, Madison County (Madison, Fla.)
Below is a list of top five performers from each testing category. Stay tuned to ESPNHS.com and the Nike Football SPARQ Combine homepage the rest of the week for more coverage from the Orlando Nike Combine.
Orlando Nike Combine Top Fives
1. Derrick Henry, RB, 6-3, 241, Yulee (Fla.) -- 138.03
2. Jordan Reus, WR, 5-10, 162, St. Cloud (Fla.) -- 119.28
3. Samolu Jallah, DB, 5-9, 183, Wekiva (Ocoee, Fla.) -- 105.78
4. Matt Milano, DB, 6-0, 193, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) -- 104.52
5. Carson Jackson ('14), WR, 6-2, 190, Melbourne (Fla.) -- 104.19
1. William Johnson, RB, 5-8, 150, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) -- 4.54
1. Kenric Young ('14), WR, 6-0.5, 166, Gainesville (Fla.) -- 4.54
3. Reggie Davis, WR, 6-0, 158, Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) -- 4.55
4. Eddie Burgos, DB, 5-11, 178, Sunlake (Land O'Lakes, Fla.) -- 4.55
5. Alex Gomez ('14), WR, 5-11, 168, Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) -- 4.55
1. Jordan Reus, WR, 5-10, 162, St. Cloud (Fla.) -- 3.90
2. Chaston Carter, DB, 5-7, 142, Baker (Cape Coral, Fla.) -- 4.00
2 Alex Gomez, ('14) WR, 5-11, 168, Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) -- 4.00
3. Skyler Humphrey, RB, 5-7, 157, Ridgeview (Orange Park, Fla.) -- 4.04
4. Stephen Bridges ('14), RB, 5-6, 149, Lakewood (Fla.) -- 4.09
Kneeling Power Ball toss
1. Jacques Bryant, LB, 6-0, 176, FAMU High (Tallahassee, Fla.) -- 43 feet
2. Derrick Henry, RB, 6-3, 241, Yulee (Fla.) -- 42 feet
3. D.J. Gillins ('14), QB, 6-3, 185, Eagle's View Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) -- 40.5 feet
4. Darius Chapes, LB, 5-11.5, 197, Citrus (Floral City, Fla) -- 40 feet
4. Hunter Laffin, LB, 6-3, 206, Winter Haven (Fla.) -- 40 feet
4. Todd Macon, RB, 5-9 197, Admiral Farragut (St. Petersburg, Fla.) -- 40 feet
4. Clyde Newton, RB, 6-1, 201, Charlotte (Punta Gorda, Fla.) -- 40 feet
1. Samolu Jallah, DB, 5-9, 183, Wekiva (Ocoee, Fla.) -- 42.0 inches
2. Roody Clerisier, DB, 5-9.5, 141, Central (Fort Pierce, Fla.) -- 40.6 inches
3. Derrick Henry, RB, 6-3, 241, Yulee (Fla.) -- 40.3 inches
4. Ryan Cooper, DB, 5-7, 156, Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.) -- 38.9 inches
4. Antwan Washington, QB, 6-1, 198, Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.) -- 38.9 inches