A total of 240 prospects showed up at the Under Armour Combine at the New Orleans Saints Indoor Facility for Sunday’s event that included testing in several areas along with position drills, individual drills and some 7-on-7 work.
There was a long list of impressive prospects and while we may not hit on each one in this piece we will have much more coverage over the next several days.
Scout.com can have only one “Workout Warrior” and with Dutchtown (La.) safety Landon Collins in attendance he ran away from the competition to take home that honor.
Collins measured 5-11 ¾ and tipped the scales at 210 pounds. He looked phenomenal from a physical standpoint and if you would have never seen him on tape or workout at safety then most would label him a linebacker.
While playing linebacker may not be completely out of the picture for Collins he certainly has the skill set to stay at safety.
The four-star safety ran a 4.39 40-yard dash that was laser timed and while he may not have had the best day he ever had in man coverage drills following the testing he showed that he has very good hips and can get pretty physical with his hands in pressing guys off the line.
Add in Collins’ 36” vertical which was second and 10’9” broad jump which was the best of the day out of all the participants and it’s easy to see why he took home the top honor.
Big Man Battle
A pair of Baton Rouge products won the “Big Man Battle Award” that was handed out with defensive end Tylor Harris of Episcopal and offensive guard Blaine Poydras of Scotlandville edging out the rest of the competition.
Harris (6-2 ¾, 251, 4.81 ) has offers from Louisiana Tech, UL-Lafayette and North Texas but more should come his way during the spring evaluation period. He looks a little more explosive than he looked on tape during his junior season and it’s easy to see that having to play both ways for Episcopal took a toll on him as the season progressed, and as it should.
Poydras is still flying under the radar but he may end up being Louisiana’s top offensive linemen when all is said and done. He is listed as measuring 6-0 ¼ and weighing 320 pounds. The weight is accurate as that is what he weighed in at a combine about six weeks ago but the height is definitely an error as he measured 6-2 ½ at that same combine and he and Harris are about the same height with Harris looking a tad bit taller.
There were some good one-on-one battles with the big men and Harris showed some quickness and explosiveness while Poydras did a good job of moving his feet and holding his own in competition that is much easier for defenders to win.
Some other notable linemen who were impressive included 2013 offensive guard Chris Taylor of Zachary (6-1 ½, 299), 2012 offensive guard Dominick Billich of Archbishop Rummel (6-2, 283), 2014 offensive tackle Larry Lam of South Lafourche (6-2, 287) and 2013 offensive lineman Karl Malone, Jr. of Cedar Creek (6-2 ½, 284).
The 40-yard dash is the testing measure that seems to get the most attention from prospects and fans and it was what all of the prospects were talking about before and after they ran.
Surprisingly, six guys ran under 4.5 with three running in the 4.4 range and three others clocking in at 4.39 or lower – all defensive backs.
2013 athlete Jeryl Brazil of Loranger (La.) had the fastest time of the day at 4.35 seconds followed by another 2013 guy from the Bayou State in Richard Allen of John Curtis (4.38) and Landon Collins (4.39).
A trio of 2012 prospects was in the next group as Derrick Raymond of Metairie (La.) East Jefferson posted a 4.4 flat followed by cornerback Byerson Cockrell (4.43) of Columbus (Miss.) and wide receiver Nyck Young (4.48) of Homewood (Ala.).
In trying to pick the deepest position the defensive backs would certainly have to get a strong look as several tested very well and also excelled when the football was thrown into the mix.
Trevon Stewart of Patterson (La.) entered the day as the cornerback that most were talking about and he tied for the best short shuttle of the day (4.19) along with a pair of 2013 DB’s in Noel Ellis of New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr and Sergio Medina of Boutte (La.) Hahnville.
Stewart was also the most technically sound cover guy and he did not get beat on one play when matching up against receivers. It’s easy to see why he has early offers and expect that list to grow even more.
Ellis has some time before his recruitment will kick into gear and while he picked off eight passes as a sophomore playing a lot of Cover-2 he was not nearly as comfortable in having to play man. Ellis will only get better and the same can be said for Medina, who is a future strong safety in college at 5-10 ½, 192 pounds.
Jeryl Brazil certainly has the speed to play corner but he was the most raw in terms of technique and playing from above the waist. Right now, Brazil is a track guy playing football and he doesn’t know how to use his hands or find the ball and make plays on it.
Medina has the makings of a good strong safety for 2013 but Cyril Noland of Ruston (La.) is one college coaches are looking at for 2012. Noland performed at a combine in Fort Worth on Saturday and then made the drive down to New Orleans to compete. He didn’t test as well as he normally does but he made some nice plays matched up against a solid group of receivers.
Another couple of 2013 prospects to keep an eye on are Laron Todd of Patterson and Richard Allen.
Todd (5-8, 155, [4.58] 40) will start at free safety as a junior but when Stewart heads off the college Todd will take over his cornerback spot and that will be his future at the next level.
Allen has so much speed and was able to flip his hips and turn and run with the fastest receivers on the field. Allen needs to add some weight to his 160-pound frame but he is an exceptional athlete with a nice blend of cover skills.
Playmakers in the Passing Game
A pair of quarterbacks from Patterson (La.) stood out amongst the signal callers as Justice Jones and Denzel Johnson made some nice throws. Jones had one of the best arms showing some good zip and being able to fit the ball in tight spaces. Johnson is a year behind Jones so the 2013 prospect will have to wait his turn but Patterson’s offense will be in good hands when he takes over the reigns.
Another interesting signal caller in attendance was Kevin Fouquier II of Lafayette (La.) Comeaux. Fouquier (6-3, 207, [4.98] 40) looks to have improved his arm strength and accuracy along with his fundamentals from his sophomore season and has gone from looking like just an athlete to someone who may have a chance to play behind center at the next level. He has an offer from hometown UL-Lafayette but the Ragin’ Cajuns should have more competition in the near future.
There were plenty of talented receivers for the quarterbacks to throw to led by 2012 wide out Jaydrick Declouet of Patterson (La.) (5-9 ½, 175, [4.54] 40) and a pair of 2013 prospects from the Bayou State in Rickey Jefferson of Destrehan (5-11, 182, [4.59] 40) and Donald Gage of Baton Rouge Redemptorist (5-10, 166, [4.6] 40).
Declouet is a natural pass catcher with excellent hands as he made several fantastic catches with one being on the sideline where we extended well outside his frame and got a toe inbounds, then followed that up by plucking one up from his feet that was behind him.
Some question if Declouet will be able to handle the physical part at the next level when he is pressed by bigger defensive backs and he showed that his quickness will help him there when he beat Landon Collins easily off the line. Collins recovered nicely and broke up the pass in the end zone and that was one of the better 1-on-1 battles of the day.
Jefferson, who is the younger brother of LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, looks so natural and smooth as a young wide out. Everything he did looked effortless as he got in and out of breaks very well and ran good disciplined routes. He has good hands and got them out in front of his body on nearly every pass thrown to him except for one that he let get into his bread basket.
Gage was impressive at a combine in late February and he was just as impressive going up against better defensive backs in New Orleans. Adding weight to his frame is going to be key for Gage but he is someone who will make some noise for 2013.
Another 2013 guy to keep an eye on is Darryl Campbell of Sawyerville (Ala.) Greensboro (6-1 ½, 173, [4.74] 40). Campbell has good height and he showed that he can go up and get the ball.
A couple of sleeper prospects in Louisiana to keep an eye on for 2012 are Kavahra Holmes of Breaux Bridge (6-0 ½, 165, [4.58] 40) and Steele Merritt of Natchitoches-St. Mary’s (6-0 ½, 184, [4.78] 40). Both have flown under the radar but both proved that they could be valuable possession receivers in college at the right level.
Skinner (6-2, 208, [4.85] 40) plays mostly wide receiver right now but he needs to make the commitment to add some weight to his frame and get in tight end mode. He could be a very good tight end prospect for 2013 as he is such a natural pass catcher that he could create a lot of mismatches when he flexes out.
Harper (6-3, 235, [4.72] 40) moves well for a big guy and he is more of the typical in-line blocker as opposed to Skinner. Harper, who is in the 2012 class, does have good hands and can be an asset in the passing game.
Backs and Backers
The McComb (Miss.) product tested well and he made a couple of nice grabs when he took it to linebackers in some passing drills. He also flashed some quick feet when doing through individual drills.
While Evans was the big name with the backs, Lorenzo Phillips of Patterson (La.) attracted the most attention with the linebackers.
Phillips (6-1, 200, [4.74] 40) showed that excellent burst off the line and straight-line speed that led to so many bone-crushing hits during his junior campaign. However, he also showed that he needs some work with his lateral movement and with playing in space.