While the National Underclassmen Combine in Ohio may have had the best overall talent so far, the afternoon session was where the cream really rose to the top. There were a number of players that have the potential to become major D-1 recruits, so picking an Overall MVP was not an easy one. That honor finally went to sophomore tight end Matt Milner, who made the trip up from Cardinal Gibbons High School in North Carolina.
Milner, 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, is one of the best athletes to ever attend the National Underclassmen Combine. During 1-on-1's, he managed to get open continuously, he has very good hands, and he is strong. He could be a 20-offer kid down the road. During the combine events, he had a 32-inch vertical, 9'8 ½" broad, 4.56 shuttle, 4.85 40, and 22 reps at 150-pounds.
Winning the WR/TE MVP was Kraig Appleton of East St. Louis High School in Illinois. Appleton, 6-foot-3 and 190-pounds, was one of the best receivers we have ever seen and the best receiver to date at the National Underclassmen Combine. He is big, strong, fast, and smooth, and just as with Milner, he is destined to become a 20-offer kid down the road. He also had a 29-inch vertical, 8'11" broad, 4.57 shuttle, and 4.66 40.
Just as with the morning session, the Fastest Man Award went to a freshman. Dan Lombardo of Lima Central Catholic in Ohio ran a blazing 4.37 40, which is the 2nd fastest all-time at the National Underclassmen Combine. At 5-foot-9 and 150-pounds, he also had a 30-inch vertical, 4.46 shuttle, and 8'8" broad. This freshman is definitely an athlete to watch in the future.
East St. Louis High School won their second MVP of the afternoon when RB Anthony Purson picked up the Freshman award. Purson, 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, said it best when he told us, "I can run and make people miss." He definitely did that and more during the 1-on-1's, plus he had a 4.49 40, 4.63 shuttle, 8'8" broad, and 36-inch vertical. Also deserving special mention was freshman ATH Ray Vinopal of Cardinal Mooney in Ohio. At 5-foot-10 and 178 pounds, he had a 29-inch vertical, 9-foot broad, 4.45 shuttle, 4.56 40, and 30 reps at 135-pounds.
Two other running backs also stood out during the afternoon, including the Running Back MVP sophomore Deone Patterson of EE Smith High School in North Carolina. Patterson, 6-foot-1 and 200-pounds, is a big back with great athleticism, hands, speed, and strength. We came to the Midwest expecting to find a fast, strong, and athletic I-Formation back, and the Midwest delivered, except for the fact that Patterson is from the South. During the combine events, he had a 30-inch vertical, 9'6 ½" broad, 4.72 40, 4.33 shuttle, and 23 reps at 150-pounds. Also deserving special mention is sophomore Tim Philips of Louisville Trinity High School in Kentucky. Despite having a small frame, 5-foot-5 and 158 pounds, the kid is built like Hercules, and he can run, jump, and make people miss. He finished with a 34-inch vertical, 9'1" broad, 4.60 40, 4.36 shuttle, and 21 reps on 150-pounds.
As with the running backs, two quarterbacks also stood out during the afternoon session. Winning the MVP was sophomore Matt Muncy of Tazewell High School in Virginia. Muncy, 6-foot-3 ½ and 201-pounds, was impressive during every phase of the session. He throws a fantastic ball, seems to make the right pass every time, and has great athleticism. He really is the prototypical drop-back passer and seems destined to be a D-1 quarterback. During the combine events he also had a 28-inch vertical, 8'5 ½" broad, 4.78 40, and 26 reps at 150-pounds. Also deserving a special mention is sophomore Craig Crawford of Huntington High School in West Virginia. Crawford, 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, is a fluid athlete who was great in drills and will become a potent threat as both a runner and passer. He also reminded many in attendance of a younger Tyrod Taylor, who is now bound for Virginia Tech. He also had a 32-inch vertical, 9'4 ½" broad, 4.71 40, and 15 reps at 150-pounds
The Offensive Line MVP went to freshman Anthony Render of Trotwood Madison High School in Ohio. Render, 6-foot-1 and 313 pounds, is a raw talent, but athletic and quick for his size and age. He finished with a 5.3 shuttle and 14 reps at 150 pounds.
One of the top performers on the defensive side of the ball was Linebacker MVP sophomore Jordan Whiting of Trinity High School in Kentucky. Whiting, 6-0 and 220 pounds, was dominant during 1-on-1's and runs like a defensive back, while also being as strong and physical as a defensive lineman. The sophomore had 30-reps at 150-pounds, a 27-inch vertical, 9-foot broad, and 4.71 40.
Two defensive back's battled it out until the end for the MVP, with the winner being sophomore Nick Driskill of Southwood High School in Indiana. Driskill, 5-foot-8 and 172 pounds, was great during 1-on-1's, breaking up several passes and being step for step with every receiver. He had 23 reps at 150-pounds, a 31-inch vertical, 9'2" broad, 4.67 40, and 4.54 shuttle. Just missing out on the MVP award was sophomore Troy Meyers of Greenfield Central High School in Indiana. Meyers, 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, is a natural safety who performed very well during drills and combine testing. He had 30 reps at 150 pounds, a 34-inch vertical, 9'1 ½" broad, 4.49 shuttle, and 4.80 40.
The last MVP in Ohio went to defensive lineman Ferrell McCord, a freshman from Bayview High School in Wisconsin. McCord, 5-foot-11 and 285 pounds, showcased his strength during drills and 1-on-1's and has a very bright future. He had 34 reps at 150-pounds, a 5.24 shuttle, and a 5.8 40.
Mike Farrell is the National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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