Posted On: 03/29/21 10:30 AM
A beautiful sun filled Sunday at Blackman high school in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was the setting for the second #NCEC Nashville combine of the year and this version did not disappoint, it exceeded expectations and then some.
Players ranging all the way from Massachusetts to Ohio to Georgia made their way to Middle Tennessee this weekend to perform and work at putting themselves on the recruiting map.
Here we have a quick breakdown and overall outlook from the action on Sunday
For anything to start on the offense side of the ball, it all starts with the quarterback and we had a few standouts from camp that continued to help their stock. Mt. Juliet (TN) QB Stephen Swoner Stephen Swoner 6'2" | QB Mt.Juliet | 2022 TN , McCallie (TN) QB Austin Breedlove and 2023 Hebron Christian (Ga) QB Connor Whaley were the three guys that stood out the most throughout camp.
All three had shining moments during positional drills while all three did quite solid during testing. Swoner and Breedlove sport good size and a feel for the position while Whaley is a sponge that took to coaching very well and continued to improve as the camp went on.
The lone underclassmen to stand out at quarterback was 2024 Lipscomb Academy (TN) signal caller Braden Graham Braden Graham 6'1" | QB Lipscomb Academy | 2024 TN . An accurate passer with loads of potential, Graham is a poised, football smart guy that has the makeup of a college quarterback.
The Running Back position was quite deep on Sunday with several standouts, including a few underclassmen. The top upperclassmen to know were Oakland (TN) RB Antonio Patterson Antonio Patterson 5'11" | RB Oakland | 2022 State TN , Lausanne (TN) RB Craig Cunningham II, Silverdale Academy (TN) RB Connor Delashmitt, Ravenwood (TN) RB Justin Smitherman Justin Smitherman 6'0" | RB Ravenwood | 2022 State TN , NCS (TN) RB Jamel King and Jackson North Side (TN) RB Tyrik Pirtle Tyrik Pirtle 5'10" | RB Northside High School | 2022 TN .
The youngsters stole the show however as ‘23 Maryville (TN) RB Noah Vaughn Noah Vaughn 5'10" | ATH Maryville | 2023 TN and ‘23 Father Ryan (TN) RB Stef Ponder Stef Ponder 6'0" | RB Father Ryan | 2023 TN were two of the top performers overall for their position.
One of the top overall in-state prospects, Pearl Cohn (TN) WR Barion Brown Barion Brown 6'1" | ATH Pearl-Cohn | 2022 State TN had another stand out, athletic day on the field where you could see he is cut above the rest.
The surprise of the position was Baylor School (TN) athlete Jermiah Skipworth, Jr. The Chattanooga area standout posted a 4.47 forty during testing and then proceeded to show that quickness and athleticism during positional drills. Skipworth isn’t the biggest guy but he can blaze and play a variety of roles on offense.
Two guys who had solid days but could be labeled at multiple positions were Dyer Co. (WR/DB) Adarius Liggon and ‘23 Lebanon (TN) Ath Anthony Crowell. The Blue Devils rising junior blazed a 4.4 forty during testing on Sunday and showed why he could be one of the top up and coming playmakers from the 2023 class.
Possibly the position that stood out the most on Sunday were the tight ends. We had several high quality tight end prospects show out at camp and they include ‘23 Indy (TN) TE Ty Lockwood Ty Lockwood 6'5" | TE Independence | 2023 TN , Baylor Sch. (TN) TE Carson Yates, Kingston (TN) TE Skyyler Kibler, Anderson Co. (TN) TE/DE/LB Zach Shannon Zach Shannon 6'2" | LB Anderson County | 2022 State TN and Hendersonville (TN) TE Jack Busey.
All four of these guys had shining moments throughout camp and all four should be on the college radar. Lockwood is an All-American in the making. Yates is a big time athlete that can (Clocked a 4.54 forty) and play in the open field. Kibler (6’6 225) is an under the radar guy that has the college size, traits and attitude to work himself into the next level. Shannon is a two way talent that had one of the best days overall as he displayed great hands, concentration and route running. Busey is another hidden gem that really put himself on the map with me on Sunday. He is a well built, physical guy that can move and showed excellent hands, especially in traffic.
One of the strongest position groups of the entire combine, the guys from the offensive line took over during the final session of camp and dominated. You talk about a talented group of linemen, this is who we had on Sunday: Hillsboro (OT) Jacob Hood Jacob Hood 6'8" | OL Hillsboro | 2022 State TN , Franklin (OT) Fisher Anderson Fisher Anderson 6'5" | OL Franklin | 2022 State TN , Page (OG) Owen Sacks Owen Sacks 6'2" | OL Page | 2022 State TN , Portland (OG) Garrett Smith Garrett Smith 6'3" | OL Portland High School | 2022 TN , Anderson Co. (OG/C) Sully Sexton Sully Sexton 6'3" | OL Anderson County | 2022 State TN , Summit (OG/C) Mason Richardson Mason Richardson 6'4" | OL Summit High School | 2022 TN , Pearl Cohn (OL) JaDarious Lee JaDarious Lee 6'4" | OL Pearl Cohn | 2022 State TN , FACS (OL) Luke Moore, Beech (OL) Ryan Hacker Ryan Hacker 6'4" | OL Beech High School | 2022 TN and McKinley (OH) OT/G Khalil Walker.
And that doesn’t even include the underclassmen! That group could be even more talented than the upperclassmen. Among those that attended include ‘23 Baylor Sch (OL) Brycen Sanders Brycen Sanders 6'5" | OL Baylor School | 2023 TN , ‘23 FRA (OT/G) Joe Crocker Joe Crocker 6'7" | OL FRA | 2023 TN , ‘23 Maryville (OG/C) Cal Grubbs Cal Grubbs 6'4" | OL Maryville High School | 2023 TN , ’23 Lebanon (OL) Samuel Freeman Samuel Freeman 6'5" | OL Lebanon | 2023 TN and Briarcrest Chrst. (OL) Nate Bledsoe Nate Bledsoe 6'4" | OL Briarcrest | 2023 TN .
Complimenting the beef up front on the offensive line is their counterparts, the beasts on the D-line and these guys had some bright and shining moments.
The upperclassmen had a solid day and the ones who put themselves ahead of their competition on Sunday were Beech (TN) DE/LB Austyn Keen, FRA (TN) DT Josiah Jackson Josiah Jackson 6'2" | DL FRA | 2022 State TN , Hillsboro (DE) Matthew Bell, McCallie (TN) DE Matthew Plunkett, Kibry (TN) DL David Nevels, Ensworth (TN) DT Tyrone Ford and Mt. Pleasant (TN) DT Dontavious Ellison.
Keen in particular had a really strong day showing excellent get-off and quickness around the edge, showing why he could be a really solid pass rusher on the next level.
The underclassmen on the D-line had a strong day as well and might have been even better than the older guys. Leading the way was ‘23 Knox. Catholic (DE) and recent Vanderbilt offered prospect, Trevor Duncan Trevor Duncan 6'5" | DL Knox. Catholic | 2023 TN . The 6’5 physical edge rusher had a stand out day and showed why he is a heavily recruited prospect.
Joining Duncan as standouts were ‘23 FRA (DL) Jamarr Jones Jamarr Jones 6'2" | DL FRA | 2023 TN , ‘23 Ensworth (DL) Christian Grimes, ‘23 Maryville (DE) Jason Manaker Jason Manaker 6'3" | DL Maryville | 2023 TN and ‘24 McCallie (DE/LB) Carson Gentle.
Not to be out done by the guys in the trenches, the linebacker group we had at the #NCEC Nashville Combine was quite strong as well and several guys really took that next step with their craft and recruiting stock.
Standing out among the linebackers included Ooltewah (TN) LB Blake Johnson, Maryville (TN) LB Brayden Hoy, Gatlinburg-Pittman (TN) LB Jacob Ferguson, Smyrna (TN) LB Larry Lockett, ‘23 Tabor Acad. (MA) LB Brock Mozoki, ‘23 St. George’s (TN) LB Tate Wirth Tate Wirth 6'2" | LB St. George’s | 2023 TN and ‘23 MUS (TN) LB Stryker Aitken Stryker Aitken 6'1" | LB MUS | 2023 TN .
Johnson and Hoy in particular really had big days as both move with the quickness and sudden instincts you want a ball seeking linebacker.
The best was left for last and we are talking about the defensive backs. An absolutely loaded position group, the defensive backs on Sunday stole the show in every way possible from testing to positional drills, they dominated the day.
Multiple players ran forty times that you would see at the NFL Combine and certain guys really took their stock to a whole new level and should see an increase with their recruitments very soon.
The stars of the day include Father Ryan (TN) teammates James Reed III James Reed III 5'11" | DB Father Ryan | 2022 State TN and Alex Ford Alex Ford 6'0" | DB Father Ryan | 2022 State TN , Ensworth (TN) teammates Charles Ingram IV and Roland McGhee Roland McGhee 6'0" | DB Ensworth | 2022 State TN , Marshall Co. (TN) DB LaMarion Pierce LaMarion Pierce 5'11" | DB Marshall Co. | 2022 State TN , Northeast (TN) DB Jaydon Jones and McCallie (TN) DB John McAdams.
All seven of these guys ran a 4.56 or better in their forty runs with Pierce (4.4), Jones (4.4) and McGhee (4.7) running the fastest times among the defensive backs.
Not only were these guys fast but they stood out and dominated during positional drills showing why all seven are college level prospects with a few guys already holding offers.
Not to be out done by the guys above, a few other defensive backs had solid showings as well. Among those include Overton (TN) DB P’Shon Robinson, re-classified (DB) Dante Prowell, ‘23 Owensboro (Ky) safety Zach Clark, ‘23 Blackman (TN) DB Dyson Bell, ‘23 Portland (TN) safety Braylon Dowlen Braylon Dowlen 6'0" | DB Portland | 2023 TN , ‘23 Baylor Sch (TN) DB Evan Haynie Evan Haynie 6'0" | ATH Baylor School | 2023 TN and ‘24 Lipscomb Acad. (TN) DB Kaleb Beasley.
When you look down the road at this defensive back group from Sunday’s combine, you will find more than 10 college football players on rosters and some that could take their football future’s even further.
It was an outstanding day of football where several players helped themselves a ton with recruiting and even more so, developed their games to where they can become the best players they can possibly be for themselves and their high school teams.
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