NCF On The Trail: 2013 SPARQ Atlanta

Atlanta SPARQ All-Combine team

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
1:30
PM ET
videoATLANTA -- More than 1,730 athletes gathered Saturday, March 2, at Lakewood Stadium for the Atlanta stop of the Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour, making it the largest Nike combine in history despite the freezing temperatures. Here is a look at the 25 standout performers who make up the Atlanta All-Combine team.

Note: Selections are based upon combine performance as well as past and projected on-field performance. Athletes must have completed two of the four combine tests to be eligible for selection. Athletes are in the Class of 2014 unless otherwise noted.

OFFENSE

QB: Penny Smith, 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Knoxville (Tenn.) Fulton
Results: 4.64 40-yard dash, 4.03 shuttle, 35-foot power ball throw, 33.2-inch vertical jump, 100.89 SPARQ Rating
Breakdown: Passed for 1,494 yards and 22 scores as a junior.

RB: Nick Chubb, 5-11, 216, Cedartown (Ga.) High
Results: 4.10 shuttle, 34’ PB, 37.1” VJ
Breakdown: More than 15 offers already have come in for this ESPN Watch List prospect, who ran for over 2,700 yards as a junior.

RB: C.J. Fuller, 5-9 , 204, Easley (S.C.) High
Results: 4.69 40, 4.31 shuttle, 33’ PB, 32.6” VJ, 91.02 SPARQ
Breakdown: Ran for 2,040 yards and 22 TDs as a junior. Clemson, North Carolina and NC State have offered.

[+] EnlargeNick Chubb
Scott Fink for Student SportsWatch List running back Nick Chubb ran a 4.10 shuttle at the Atlanta SPARQ Combine.
RB: Taj Griffin (2015), Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern
Results: 4.43 40, 4.15 shuttle, 28.5’ PB, 40.0” VJ, 105.42 SPARQ
Breakdown: Rising junior reports early offers from UCLA and UNC.

RB: Daryl Rollins, 5-8, 163, Fulton (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Results: 4.41 40, 4.00 shuttle, 32.5’ PB, 35.3” VJ, 111.21 SPARQ
Breakdown: 2012 Class 4A All-Tennessee pick finished with the event’s top 40-yard dash and shuttle run times and best SPARQ Rating.

RB: Racean Thomas, 5-10, 202, Oxford (Ala.) High
Results: 4.62 40, 4.50 shuttle, 31’ PB, 33.7” VJ, 84.87 SPARQ
Breakdown: Oregon, Alabama, USC and Auburn are among the offers for this ESPN Watch List prospect.

WR: Omar Black, 6-1 , 183, Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove
Results: 4.57 40, 4.40 shuttle, 36’ PB, 31.7” VJ, 91.65 SPARQ
Breakdown: Caught 19 passes for 279 yards and three scores last fall.

TE: Luke Lewallen, 6-2, 205, Marietta (Ga.) Dominion Christian
Results: 4.76 40, 4.25 shuttle, 37’ PB, 32.4” VJ, 97.71 SPARQ
Breakdown: Small-school standout had 1,100 yards and 12 receiving TDs as a junior.

OL: Chuma Edoga (2015), 6-4, 275, Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern
Results: 5.04 40, 4.85 shuttle, 32.5' PB, 26.5" VJ, 70.98 SPARQ
Breakdown: Posted the fastest 40 for an OL at the event.

OL: Christian Harris, 6-5, 275, Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill
Results: 5.08 40, 4.84 Shuttle, 34.0' PB, 26.7" VJ, 73.26 SPARQ
Breakdown: Harris has offers from North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia State and South Alabama.

OL: Tra Malloy, 6-1 , 283, Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview
Results: 5.56 40, 4.65 Shuttle, 40.5' PB, 25.7" VJ, 85.20 SPARQ
Breakdown: Posted the highest SPARQ Rating for an offensive lineman on the day and the second-longest power ball toss for the entire event.

ATH: Hanson Guice, 5-9, 169, Clayton (Ala.) Barbour County
Results: 4.53 40, 4.19 shuttle, 32’ PB, 38.9” VJ, 102.21 SPARQ
Breakdown: Had to miss junior year because of transfer, but helped get his name back on radar Saturday.

ATH: Tez Parks, 6-0, 199, Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway
Results: 4.77 40, 4.41 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 29.4” VJ, 84.60 SPARQ
Breakdown: Athletic quarterback reports offers from Georgia Tech and South Carolina.

DEFENSE

DL: Derek Barnett, 6-2 , 263, Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy
Results: 4.89 40, 4.56 shuttle, 35.5’ PB, 28.6” VJ, 86.76 SPARQ
Breakdown: FSU, Tennessee and others are among Barnett’s early offers; totaled 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks as a junior.

DL: Collin Giesey, 6-3, 261, Douglasville (Ga.) Alexander
Results: 5.17 40, 4.53 Shuttle, 42.0' PB, 25.8" VJ, 91.38 SPARQ
Breakdown: A virtual unknown after missing most of his junior season, Giesey had the top SPARQ Rating among linemen.

DL: Hunter Knight, 6-2, 272, Dothan (Ala.) Providence Christian
Results: 5.29 40, 4.72 Shuttle, 38.0' PB, 24.9" VJ, 75.66 SPARQ
Breakdown: Walker, another breakout performer, had one of the more impressive overall performances for an interior defensive lineman.

DL: D'Andre Walker (2015), 6-3, 210, Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes
Results: 4.63 40, 4.38 Shuttle, 28.0' PB, 30.9" VJ, 80.43 SPARQ
Breakdown: Coming off a 21-sack sophomore season, Walker has pulled in early offers from Georgia and North Carolina.

DL: Darian Yancey, 6-0, 213, Auburn (Ala.) High
Results: 4.79 40, 4.25 Shuttle, 32.5' PB, 31.6" VJ, 88.98 SPARQ
Breakdown: The other bookend for the Auburn High School defense had the fastest shuttle for a lineman on the day.

LB: Dillon Bates, 6-3, 213, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) High
Results: 4.79 40, 4.28 shuttle, 39’ PB, 37.0” VJ, 109.05 SPARQ
Breakdown: Son of former Dallas Cowboy Bill Bates locked up an invite to The Opening with his big day.

LB: Rashaan Evans, 6-2 , 211, Auburn (Ala.) High
Results: 4.72 40, 4.43 shuttle, 29’ PB, 33.6” VJ, 81.30 SPARQ
Breakdown: Georgia, Auburn and Alabama are among the early offers for this Watch List prospect.

LB: Petera Wilson, 6-2, 210, Memphis (Tenn.) White Station
Results: 32’ PB, 35.8” VJ
Breakdown: Class 6A all-state pick as a junior has more than 20 early offers.

DB: Khari Blasingame, 6-0, 196, New Market (Ala.) Buckhorn
Results: 4.66 40, 4.39 shuttle, 39’ PB, 37.8” VJ, 106.89 SPARQ
Breakdown: Missed most of his junior season with injury but was back in a big way Saturday.

DB: Lorenz Griggs, 5-9 , 163, Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King
Results: 4.58 40, 4.47 shuttle, 35.5’ PB, 37.5” VJ, 92.97 SPARQ
Breakdown: King is always loaded, and Griggs is a new name to watch there.

DB: Blaise Taylor, 5-7, 157, Auburn (Ala.) High
Breakdown: Auburn, Tennessee and Nebraska already have offered this dynamic athlete.

ATH: Austin Leach, 6-1, 199, Sarasota (Fla.) Cardinal Mooney
Results: 4.62 40, 4.28 shuttle, 35.5’ PB, 28.9” VJ, 92.07 SPARQ
Breakdown: Playmaker at both defensive back and receiver for Cardinal Mooney in the fall.

Versatility nets another offer for ATH 

March, 3, 2013
3/03/13
11:44
AM ET
ATLANTA -- Blaise Taylor (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) was a jack of all trades during his junior season. After having played offense all of his life, the 5-foot-7, 157-pound junior helped out on defense, with 22 tackles, four passes broken up and an interception to go along with eight rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown, 12 catches for 305 yards and five touchdowns, and 658 combined return yards with two return touchdowns.

ATLANTA -- The Rising Seniors program provides a substantial learning experience for nearly 100 of the top football players in Georgia following their junior season. The Georgia Junior Bowl, the all-star game at the end of the week, also gives the student-athletes a chance to showcase their abilities to college coaches across the country. Outside linebacker/safety Khalia Hackett (Douglasville, Ga./South Paulding) has already seen his participation pay off, and it happened with a wake-up call.


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ATLANTA -- Coming off a season in which he rushed for a regular-season record 2,721 yards and scored 38 touchdowns, ESPN Watch List running back Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) is used to putting up big numbers.


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Tennessee legacy talks Vols, UF visit 

March, 3, 2013
3/03/13
11:08
AM ET
ATLANTA -- Sometimes impressive combine numbers do not translate into on-the-field production. Such is not the case for Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Ponte Vedra), who posted a 4.79 40-yard dash, 4.28 shuttle, 39-inch power ball toss and 37-inch vertical jump in freezing weather at Saturday's Nike SPARQ Combine.

The 6-foot-3, 213-pound linebacker backed up those numbers with 103 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks during his junior season. During that time, he has racked up more than 30 offers, the most recent coming from Ole Miss, Texas and UCLA. The abundance of options has been a blessing for Bates and his family, but it has also caused him to take a more reserved approach to his recruitment.


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ATLANTA -- When Army All-American defensive end and No. 13 overall prospect Ray Drew signed with the University of Georgia in 2011, the Thomas County Central football team was left with some big shoes to fill. After a position switch last fall, the Yellow Jackets found a worthy replacement in 2015 defensive end Austin Bryant (Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County Central).

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound sophomore made 106 tackles, two forced fumbles and a pass broken up, and, looking back, the end of his competition for playing time under center looks like a blessing in disguise.


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SEC school surprises Watch List LB 

March, 3, 2013
3/03/13
10:36
AM ET
ATLANTA -- Like most prospects at Saturday's Nike SPARQ Combine, ESPN Watch List selection Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) faced the elements during testing at Lakewood Stadium.

The 6-foot-3, 211-pound linebacker ran an electronic 4.72-second 40, a 4.43-second shuttle and vertical jumped 33.6" inches. Evans was satisfied with his results, given the conditions.


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OT Harris feels more BCS offers close 

March, 3, 2013
3/03/13
10:29
AM ET
ATLANTA -- While the Atlanta Nike Combine is a great platform for skill position prospects to make a name for themselves, the event also provides an opportunity for linemen to showcase their abilities as well. At the SPARQ Combine here last year, offensive tackle Christian Harris (Suwanee, Ga./Collins Hill) arrived and displayed an impressive frame for college coaches to work with.

This year, the 6-foot-5, 275-pound prospect was able to improve his 40 time and vertical jump, despite the weather being less than optimal.


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ATLANTA -- More than 1,700 student-athletes took part Saturday in the Nike SPARQ Combine here, a record for the event. Players from across the Southeast braved freezing conditions, snow flurries and significant wind chill to compete and test their athletic ability in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and power ball throw. Below are the standouts from the event, which includes several prominent recruits and some off-the-radar prospects for the 2014 and 2015 classes.

Top SPARQ Ratings

Daryl Rollins, RB (Knoxville, Tenn./Fulton) - 111.21
Dillon Bates, LB, (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Ponte Vedra) - 109.05
Nick Chubb, ESPN Watch List RB (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) - 107.16
Khari Blasingame, DB (Huntsville, Ala./Buckhorn) - 106.89
Taj Griffin, 2015 RB (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) - 105.42

Top 40-yard dashes

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Memphis LB racks up tackles, offers 

March, 3, 2013
3/03/13
12:05
AM ET
ATLANTA -- As a junior, Petera Wilson (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) had over 100 tackles, eight sacks, six passes broken up and two blocked punts. His double-digit list of offers reads like a who’s who of college football, with Florida State, Georgia and Ohio State being his most recent scholarship options.

The coveted linebacker gave his thoughts on the newest offers.


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2015 DE almost made commitment 

March, 2, 2013
3/02/13
11:22
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Sophomore D’Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes) has made quite a name for himself already. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound defensive end tallied 105 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and a blocked punt last season while helping his team to a 10-2 record and its first playoff berth in school history.

He was rewarded with his first scholarship offer last month, which caught him completely off guard.


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2015 ATH adds SEC offers 

March, 2, 2013
3/02/13
11:14
PM ET
ATLANTA – After bursting onto the scene with one of the best performances at the Mark Richt 7-on-7 Camp last year, after which Georgia gave him his first scholarship offer, 2015 athlete Terry Godwin (Hoganville, Ga./Callaway) followed it up by making 25 tackles and four interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns.


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Watch List RB names a top two 

March, 2, 2013
3/02/13
10:55
PM ET
ATLANTA -- After rushing for 1,768 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, ESPN Watch List running back Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) had little need to come out for Saturday's Nike SPARQ Combine. His recruitment has already taken off, with offers from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and USC. With less than favorable conditions, Thomas still came out to compete with over 1,700 other recruits.


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