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April 30, 2006
The Jersey giants
The third annual Elite College Combine is on tap for Monday evening and is a great way to kick off the month of May for recruiting. Talent from more than 10 different states will flock to the Indoor Sports Pavillion in Randolph, N.J. for the four-hour event. And where recruiting talent goes, coaches follow.
Many of the Rivals100 will be on hand including Virginia quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Pennsylvania stud Pat Bostick, North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little, New Jersey wideout Duval Kamara, Washington, D.C. defensive tackle Marvin Austin, Jersey offensive tackle Anthony Davis, Georgia running back Jonathan Dwyer and others.
Taylor is out to prove he's among the nation's best passers. The dual-threat quarterback from Hampton, Va. has been mislabeled by some as an athlete who can pass rather than a passer who is athletic. He looks to come away with the top quarterback award but will have stiff competition from Bostick, a big signal-caller with great touch and a strong arm from Lancaster, Pa.
Perhaps no one wants to show the college coaches that he's the best than Little, who is making the long trip from Durham, N.C. on a day's rest off the Athens, Ga. NIKE Camp. Little told Rivals.com he wants to emerge as the nation's top wide receiver. Kamara, a local from Hoboken, N.J., would also like to make the same claim and has the size and athletic ability to do so. The Elite is where wide receiver Vidal Hazelton emerged as a five-star prospect and Little and Kamara have similar goals.
If the field is shaking on Monday night it could be when Austin, from D.C., and Davis, from Piscataway, N.J., meet in the one-on-ones. Austin enters the combine as the nation's top defensive tackle and has been talking about going against Davis for months. Davis, a 6-foot-6, 305-pounder, is not as talkative but you can bet he's heard of Austin's plans. This should be the best one-on-one matchup in the trenches since Eugene Monroe had to face Callahan Bright and Melvin Alaeze at the Elite two years ago.
Last year it was a Georgia propsect who surprised many and took home the top running back award when Mario Fannin came out of nowhere. This year it could be Dwyer, although the Marietta, Ga. speedster is more well known heading in.
Wide receiver Lansford Watson from Brooklyn, N.Y. and safety Evan Rodriguez from North Bergen, N.J. are also on the Rivals100 and are expected to attend. Camden, N.J. tight end Mike Ragone will be in attendance but will not work out due to recent knee surgery. Bristol, Conn. tight end Aaron Hernandez was unsure of his attendance as of Sunday.
Aside from the Rivals100 stars, there are a slew of other top players looking to make their way onto the list. Among the ones to watch for are Jersey linebackers Will Thompson and Manny Abreu as well as running back Malcolm Harris and athlete Tony Logan (both also from N.J.), Pennsylvania defensive end Derrick Morgan, D.C. studs Tony Tucker and Joe Haden, Pennsylvania offensive linemen Richard Muldrow and Gino Gradkowski as well as wide receiver Toney Clemons and quarterback Chris Whitney (both also from Pa.).
Players will be timed in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle and in the long jump and vertical jump. Following some warmup reps and drills, the one-on-ones will be where the action is as players go head-to-head for more than an hour. The event is closed to the general public.
As usual, Nick Lubischer and Chris Melvin have done an outstanding job in attracting players to the event. Both have been with the Elite since it's start. For the first time, the Elite has given exclusive online coverage rights to one company and Rivals.com will bring you all the action including articles, rankings, photos and video.
The event runs from 6-10PM EST on Monday evening and more than 200 college coaches will be in attendance. Head coaches such as Charlie Weis, Urban Meyer, Ron Zook, Jim Bunting, Greg Schiano and many others are expected to be in attendance.