May 7, 2009

Alabama's best come out for combine

VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. -With 18 scholarship offers under his belt, Millbrook (Ala.) Stanhope Elmore defensive back Demarcus Milliner doesn't have much to prove. Colleges know who he is, recruiting analysts know who he is and opposing coaches and players know who he is. However that didn't stop him from coming out to the Elite Action Combine this weekend in Vestavia Hills, Ala. and competing with some of the other top players in Alabama.

"When you're being highly recruited, you still gotta get out and go and show you're one of the top prospects," Milliner said. "I like doing stuff like that. You get to showcase your talent and anything you get in life you have to work for."

Milliner didn't just make an appearance at the event and he didn't just compete. He dominated. Due to extreme weather conditions, there were no one-on-ones and some of the testing was cut short but Milliner made the most of his testing opportunities.

He ran a 4.33 forty-yard dash, only to follow that up with a 4.31. Milliner also ran one of the top short shuttle times with a 4.18 and posted an impressive 36.5 inches in the vertical. All of that was done at around 6-foot-2. Add those numbers to Milliner's lock-down coverage ability and it's easy to see why he is one of the top prospects in the nation.

As good as he did, Milliner wanted more.

"I think I could've done better though," he said. "I can do better on all of it. I'd like to do it all over again."

Milliner didn't name any favorites and likely won't until he takes more visits but he did say that USC, Florida and Florida State are three schools he hopes to add offers from.

More Stanhope Elmore talent

Demarcus isn't the only Milliner that made an impression on Sunday. His little brother Pat also was in attendance and may be a name to watch in the 2011 class. At 6-foot-2 and around 175 pounds, the younger Milliner was unable to test in the 40 but did manage to squeeze in elite numbers in several other events. He ran a 4.31 short shuttle, had 32.5 inches in the vertical and logged the second highest standing broad jump out of those tested with 9-feet 11-inches.

Also from Stanhope Elmore, wide receiver Rodney Davis made an impression for the second weekend in a row. At the Athens Nike camp two weeks ago, Davis did his damage running routes and making football-specific plays. His performance won him the wide receiver MVP. This past weekend in Vestavia Hills, he added the testing numbers to support his play.

Davis ran one of the fastest forty times at the event with a 4.42. Only three other players tested better. He also ran a respectable 4.44 in the short shuttle. As schools come in to see his teammate Milliner, they would be smart to keep an eye on Davis as well.

Looking the part and more

One of the most impressive prospects at the combine physically also turned out to be one of the top performers from a testing standpoint. Gadsden (Ala.) Gaston running back Demont Buice looks more like a linebacker than a running back but he tested like somebody that can pick his position.

At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Buice ran the third fastest 40 time at the event with a 4.40. He also had a 32.5 inch vertical and a 9-foot 9-inch standing broad jump. Those are good numbers for a small cornerback, much less a big bruising tailback.

Another prospect that certainly passed the look test was Auburn commit Jake Holland. Holland weighed in at a muscular 225 pounds and he silenced any questions about his speed and athleticism with a 4.63 40 time on a wet track in the rain. Holland also ran a 4.34 short shuttle, demonstrating good change of direction.

Tight end Brandon Gottfried also stands out in a crowd. The son of former Alabama head basketball coach Mark Gottfried stands at around 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds and has added good athleticism as well.

Gottfried tested out at a solid 4.75 forty but was even more impressive in the explosive tests. He jumped 31.5 inches in the vertical and 9-foot-9 in the standing broad. He also ran a very strong 4.28 second shuttle. With those kinds of numbers, Gottfried is a very intriguing prospect at tight end.

Stock is rising

Two weeks ago at the Athens Nike Camp, Anthony Wilson emerged out of obscurity to dominate the one-on-ones, making himself nearly unblockable. His speed off of the edge, his quick get-off and his aggressive style of play were too much for linemen to handle. With Wilson's appearance at the Elite Action Combine, he did nothing but continue his rise as a legitimate college prospect.

Wilson measured in at 220 pounds and just under 6-foot-4. That is 20 pounds more than he played his junior season at but the weight is only helping him so far. Wilson posted the top short shuttle time in the entire combine with a 4.12. He also had a standing broad jump of 9.5 feet and had one of the top times of the day in the L-cone drill.

As Wilson continues to be seen at camps and combines, expect his offer list to blow up. Currently, he has not offers but the Homewood (Ala.) High School prospect should see that change very soon.

Young stars

The Elite Action Combine had several of the top 2011 players in the state as well as a few 2012 stars and a few of them went a long way to making an early name for themselves.

With offers from Alabama, Auburn and UAB already, Valley (Ala.) High School safety Enrique Florence clearly already has made an impression on several college coaches. He showed a little bit of how he made that impression Saturday by posting a 4.47 40 at around 6-1 and 180 pounds.

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Brent Calloway out of Russellville (Ala.) High School was one of the best looking prospects in attendance regardless of class year. He is a big running back in the 2011 class that added very strong testing numbers to his strong frame. He ran a 4.63 in the 40. He had a 32 inch vertical and he jumped 9.5 feet in the standing broad jump.

With that kind of ability it is easy to see how Calloway rushed for over 1,400 yards as only a sophomore.

Other standouts

  • Prattville (Ala.) High School quarterback/athlete Sam Gibson showed his versatility with a 4.55 forty and a 33.5 inch vertical.

  • After a strong performance at the Tallahassee Nike Camp, Derrick Thomas again looked good at the Elite Action Combine running a 4.58 in the 40 and a 33.5 inch vertical.

  • Cornerback Dale Trimble is keeping alive the defensive back tradition at Gadsden (Ala.) Gadsden City, running a 4.52 in the 40 and a 4.34 short shuttle.

  • High school quarterback B.J. Chitty showed that he has the athleticism to be a college wide receiver running a 4.52 40, a 4.29 shuttle and a 34 inch vertical.

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