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May 9, 2005

Elite College Combine standouts

Randolph, N.J. - The second annual Elite College Combine was held last Wednesday in New Jersey and was highlighted by many spectacular performances from offensive and defensive players alike. While New York wide receiver Vidal Hazelton and Maryland defensive tackle Phillip Taylor won awards on their respective sides of the football, many others like New Jersey wide receiver Kenny Britt also created quite a buzz with their performances. As usual, Rivals.com was there and we rank them in order from 1-10.

1) WR Vidal Hazelton - Staten Island (N.Y.) Moore Catholic - Hazelton was impressive enough at the NIKE Camp at Penn State on April 30th, but he took things to a different level at the Elite College Combine. There aren't really any flaws in Hazelton's game right now and he's the most polished wide receiver I've seen this year. He has good size, is very strong, runs precise and crisp routes, gains separation and has terrific ball skills. Hazelton didn't drop one catchable football on the evening and beat some very good cornerbacks. His performance dominated the post-combine coaching discussions.

2) DT Phillip Taylor - Clinton (Md.) Gwynn Park - Last year was one of the best recruiting years for defensive tackles in recent memory, but with players like Taylor emerging this could be another banner year. Taylor's testing results are impressive enough (5.16-second 40-yard dash and 4.97-second shuttle at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds), but it's during the one-on-ones where he makes his statement. He dominated everyone on the offensive side of the ball with a combination of size, strength and surprising quickness. With a well-developed set of pass rushing moves, offensive linemen didn't know what to expect at each turn.

3) WR Kenny Britt - Bayonne, N.J. - Britt didn't take home any awards, but he is sure to land double digit offers based on his performance and cemented himself as the best wide receiver in Jersey this year. Britt is still raw and needs to tighten up his routes, but he's so big and strong with big hands that he won every jump ball. He also changes direction well and adjusts to the ball in the air. He reminds me of a less polished version of Patrick Turner, USC's prize wide receiver recruit from 2005. The sky is the limit when it comes to Britt's potential.

4) RB LeSean McCoy - Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt - Running backs don't get as much attention at combines mainly because they go against slower linebackers in one-on-ones, but McCoy stands out wherever he goes. His hands are very impressive for a running back and his cutting ability is simply amazing. McCoy also has incredible balance and is very confident. The one-on-one drills at the Elite were more physical than at NIKE the weekend before, but McCoy adjusted well.

5) LB Jeremiha Hunter - Manheim (Pa.) Manheim Central - Hunter participated at the combine despite a broken arm that hadn't healed properly and follow-up surgery set for the next day. While his testing was average by his own admission, his performance in the one-on-one drills was very impressive. He was the only one who covered McCoy downfield and was able to make a play on the ball and his ability to drop and turn his hips while avoiding a false step is a big reason why he has so many offers.

6) RB Mario Fannin - Lovejoy, Ga. - Fannin made the trip up from Georgia to show what he could do in front of 200+ college coaches and it paid off. His testing was beyond impressive, especially on the slippery field turf (4.34-second 40-yard dash, 4.28-second shuttle). While Fannin doesn't cut as well as McCoy in the open field, he has some shake to him for a 200-pound back. He's also a good receiver and raised his stock quite a bit at the Elite.

7) DT/OT Jared Odrick - Lebanon, Pa. - When a 303-pounder is upset by his "slow" shuttle time of 4.34-second shuttle time, you know you're talking about a physical freak. Odrick didn't fare as well in the one-on-ones as he did at NIKE a few days before, but he was still outstanding. His combination of size and agility is rare and he continues to rise up the charts after each performance.

8) LB Akeem Hebron - Gaithersburg (Pa.) Good Counsel - Hebron could play linebacker or safety at the next level because he's so good in coverage and moves so well. He tested as well as any other linebacker in the 40-yard dash and showed his athleticism in drills and one-on-ones. His long arms and speed allow him to be one of the top linebackers when it comes to closing on receivers.

9) DB Aaron Berry - Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt - While his 40-yard dash times were slow for Berry (he seemed to be in the slowest-timed lane), he was very impressive in the one-on-one drills as both a defensive back and wide receiver. Berry wanted as many reps as he could get and wanted to go against the best. On offense, he showed great ball skills and on defense his was physical and closed well. He was better at NIKE a few days beforehand, but he still had the best combination of everything at cornerback at the Elite.

10) DB Antwine Perez - Camden (N.J.) Woodrow Wilson - Perez didn't test as well as he would have liked at the combine, but his efforts in coverage were excellent, especially since he was one of just a few pure safeties covering the wide outs. Perez started in one group but was moved to the second because he needed more of a challenge. He did get beat once when he missed a jam at the line of scrimmage, but his ability to close and blanket wide outs with his big frame was very impressive.

For testing results from the combine, go to EliteRecruits.com.


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