Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Best of the Midwest: Five stock-raisers
By Jared Shanker
INDIANAPOLIS -- Labeled as the “Best of the Midwest” combine, a large number of the region’s top players and even more eventual Division I prospects flocked to Indianapolis to compete.
Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and USC were among the schools represented on the offers lists of the talented prospects in attendance. Several names looking to catch the eye of elite programs such as those helped their stock the most at Monday’s combine.
Here are the five who helped their cause the most:
C Kirk Barron (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) One of the MVPs along the offensive line, Barron backed up a great performance at the Chicago Core 6 Showcase with an equally impressive performance at the Best of the Midwest. Barron did not lose a single one-on-one battle all afternoon. While Barron does not hold any offers, he has several BCS suitors following him and Kansas coaches told him while on a visit Saturday to expect an offer in May. He could have a few offers by then.
The play of 6-foot-4, 225-pound DE Jashon Cornell was the talk of the Best of the Midwest combine.
DE/LB Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) Cornell was the Monday equivalent of Watch List defensive end Malik McDowell (Detroit/Loyola), who was dominant at Sunday’s Ohio Core 6 Showcase. The offensive and defensive line one-on-one battles were on a separate field, but the buzz whenever someone was passing from one field to the other was how good Cornell looked. Having just wrapped up his sophomore season, Cornell is poised to be one of the Midwest’s most sough-after prospects in 2015.
ATH Jalen Embry (Detroit/Martin Luther King) It was a tough day for the receivers as those who played defensive back, like Embry, were probably the most talented group as a whole in Indianapolis on Monday. Embry, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 180 pounds, was physical throughout the afternoon, often jamming his receiver into the netting off the field and into the quickly fleeing parents along the boundary. Embry was so good at the line of scrimmage that his coaches asked him to play off the receiver so he could show off other facets of his game.
OLB Chris Frey Jr. (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) Seven programs have already offered Frey, but several of the BCS schools recruiting him are withholding judgment as they determine if he is better suited at outside linebacker or safety. The 6-foot-2, 214-pounder worked out at linebacker Monday, and he ended up winning MVP honors at the position. Frey ran a 4.62 in the 40-yard dash and showed his knack for dropping into coverage during 7-on-7 drills.
ATH Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland/Glenville) It might have been on purpose, but Lattimore was given the No. 1 jersey for the event among the estimated 200 prospects in attendance Monday. He was the biggest name in Indianapolis, holding offers from the likes of Michigan, Ohio State and USC, among others. Lattimore worked out at cornerback and looked very comfortable at the position. While the defensive backs spent most of the afternoon letting the receivers know verbally when the defense won with a little trash talk, Lattimore elected to let his play on the field to do all the talking. The soft-spoken Lattimore definitely let his actions speak for him.