Combine: Pittsburgh Defensive Recap
Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald
Regional Recruiting Manager
Posted Mar 19, 2009
Bob Lichtenfels

PITTSBURGH, PA –The combines kicked off in the Northeast at the UPMC Indoor Sports Complex on Sunday. The combine featured a number of star players who were expected to shine and a number of prospects who put their names on the map.

Defensive Line:

We knew Penn Hills defensive tackle Aaron Donald was good, but he put an explanation point on it for us. He measured in at 6-foot-0 and weighed 258-pounds. He ran a (1.88) 10-yard split in the forty-yard dash. He had an (8-5) broad jump and a 31-inch vertical, but it was not the testing that impressed us with Donald it was the drills and the one-on-ones. Donald showed outstanding foot word and incredible hand speed. Donald is very explosive off the snap. In the one-on-ones Donald beat every interior offensive lineman that he went against. Donald moved over with the group of defensive ends and offensive tackles and he still shined. Donald has early offers from Toledo and Pittsburgh.

Hampton defensive end Jordan Paskorz continues to impress the more we see him and he may be the most athletic defensive end in the state this year. He checked in at 6-foot-4 and 222-pounds. He had a (1.71) 10-yard split and a (4.80) forty-yard dash. Paskorz had a (10-0) broad jump and a (33-5) vertical. Paskorz also had a (78.5) wingspan. Paskorz dominated with technique, power and speed in the one-on-ones. He got everyone’s attention when he hit on offensive lineman in the chest and the player flew through the air and landing on the quarterback dummy. Paskorz holds an offer from Pittsburgh, but more should be coming his way. A few years ago when we put on our first combine in the region it was held at Akron and we saw a long, lean freshman defender who competed and didn’t look the best, but you could see there was something about him that was special. That player was Shayne Hale from Gateway who blossomed into a U.S. Army All-American and is a red shirt defensive end for Pittsburgh. Class of 2011 prospect Saucha Craig also from Gateway looks just like a young Hale. He has a lot to learn, but we were impressed just by how he competed against the bigger and older prospects.

You don’t get any further from the radar than Williamsport’s Thomas Burk. He rode three and a half hours in a car and was not registered for the event. Since he drove so far he was allowed to compete and he did not disappoint. Burk checked in at 6-foot-1 and 252-pounds. Burk showed outstanding burst and his footwork was very good in the positional drills. In the one-on-ones he was dominant and seldom lost a battle.


Ohio State commit Jamel Turner can play defensive end or linebacker, so the (Youngstown/Ohio/Ursuline) five-star prospect did a little of both. Turner checked in at 6-foot-2 and 205-pounds. He had a (1.67) 10-yard split in the forty-yard dash and a (4.61) time overall. He ran a (7.52) L-Cone, a (9-8) broad jump and he topped it off with a 32-inch vertical. He also had a 76.5-inch wingspan. Turner did his positional drills with the linebackers and was hands down the most impressive player of a fairly impressive group. He showed exceptional lateral quickness and the ability to drop and cover. During the one-on-ones, Turner decided to come down and play with the big boys. First it was Jeffrey Myers, the Luke Graham and then Tom Ricketts and he sent each one away with their head down as he blew past them for sacks. The only time Turner was really stopped is if he was tackled. Buckeye fans can expect to see lots of Big Ten quarterbacks running for their lives when Turner hits the field.

Brashear’s Manessah Garner was one of the most impressive wide receivers at this camp last year as a sophomore; Garner has filled out his frame at a solid 6-foot-2, 200-pounds and is being recruited as a linebacker. He showed great explosion in his testing with a (9-5) broad jump and a 33-inch vertical. He ran a (4.39) shuttle and a (7.21) L-Cone. Garner caught everyone’s attention with his ability to look running backs down in coverage. Of course, once he got bored he ran over with the receivers and started running routes and scorching defensive backs.

Mike Hull from Canon-McMillan gets props from me for not only coming, but he competed as well. He took wrestling season off due to various injuries and still came out and competed. He had a blazing (1.60) 10-yard split in the forty-yard dash and ran a (4.56) at 6-foot-1 and 209-pounds. Hull looked like a young kid last season, this year he is a chiseled linebacker. You can easily see he has spent some time in the weight room. Penn State is getting another great linebacker.

Bishop Canevin linebacker Jeff Dobbins also burst onto the scene in a big way. D.J. Myers and Andrew Carswell gave the big linebacker the thumbs up.

“That boy right there (Dobbins) hits like a truck Bob,” Carswell said when mentioning Dobbins. “I ain’t gonna lie, I’m not sure how good he is, but the boy can bring it.”

Dobbins checked in at a thick 6-foot-0, 213-pounds. He looked very good with his footwork and hips in the positional drills. He is someone worth keeping an eye on.

Penn Hills prospect Myles Davis worked out with the defensive ends, but he is built like a linebacker at 6-foot-0, 213-pounds. I never thought I’d see a Penn Hills linebacker as jacked as Dan Mason, but Davis is not far behind. He is a specimen.

Trinity linebacker Kenny Wilkins always passes everyone’s looks test. He looked good while participating in drills, but had to leave early due to a previous engagement.

Penn-Trafford linebacker John Stefanik tested very well. He measured in at 5-foot-10, 212-pounds, He ran a (4.76) forty-yard dash and a (7.45) L-Cone. He had an (8-7) broad jump and a 31.5-inch vertical.

Peabody linebacker Jayman Colman was repping the City-League. Colman looked very good in the drills. His footwork was very smooth as were his drops into coverage. He check in at 5-foot-10 and 225-pounds.

U>Defensive Backs

The talent pool in the secondary was very deep at this event. (Lexington/Ohio) cornerback Courtney Avery didn’t hurt his stock at all and even earned some MVP votes in the process. He measured in at 5-foot-9, 176-pounds. He ran in the (4.6) range in the forty-yard dash, (4.36) in the shuttle and (6.99) in the L-Cone. He had an incredible (10-7) broad jump and a 32-inch vertical. He was in lockdown mode all day and very rarely gave up a reception.

Penn Hills corner Cullen Christian was having a great day until he and Andrew Carswell collided. Carswell’s spikes stuck in Christian’s leg opening up a nice hole that would later require stitches. Just like a Pittsburgh kid, Christian never missed a rep. He checked in at 6-foot-0 and 176-pounds. He had a (7.18) L-Cone, (10-6) broad jump and a 35-inch vertical. Gateway features two very good corners in Orne Bey and Dayonne Nunley. Bey and Nunley took on any and all comers as we made them cover all the best wide receivers at the evnt and they were up to the task. Bey checked in at 5-foot-8 and 165-pounds. He ran a (4.56) forty-yard dash, (4.18) shuttle, (7.02) L-Cone> He had a (9-8) broad jump and an impressive 37-inch vertical. During his vertical Bey jump to the top of the Vertex machine.

Nunley checked in at 5-foot-8, 164-pounds. He ran a (4.6) forty and a (4.20) shuttle. He had a (9-0) broad jump and a 31-inch vertical.

Brandon Ifill from Penn Hills had his usual impressive performance. He checked in at 5-foot-11 and 176-pounds. He ran a (4.44) forty yard dash and a (7.40) L-Cone. He had a (9-5) broad jump and a 32.5-inch vertical. Ifill was very impressive in coverage. He covers as well as any cornerback.

Being the little brother of Jamario O’Neal will get you a look as (Lexington/Ohio) defensive back Shaquille Jefferson found out. He was impressive, but he may be a little to stiff to play corner, we think he is a very good safety prospect. He checked in at 6-foot-0 and 180-pounds. He ran a (4.68) forty-yard dash. He had a (9-8) broad jump and a 32-inch vertical.

Beaver Falls cornerback Admire Carter doesn’t possess ideal size at 5-foot-7 and 153-pounds, but he tested very well. He ran a (4.59) forty-yard dash, (4.30) shuttle and a (7.01) L-Cone. He had a (9-2) broad jump and a 36-inch vertical.

Class of 2011 prospect Doran Grant (Akron/Ohio/St. Vincent/St. Marys) may have had the best day of testing out of anyone. Grant checked in at 5-foot-10 and 169-pounds. He ran an incredible (1.56) 10-yard split on his forty. He ran a (4.43) overall. He ran a (4.20) shuttle and a (6.81) L-Cone. He had a (9-1) broad jump and a 35-inch vertical. He was in the top five in almost every event.

Cathedral Prep corner Shyquawn Pullium also tested very well. He checked in at 6-foot-1 and 169-pounds. He ran a (1.54) split and a (4.37) forty-yard dash, (4.46) shuttle and a (6.86) L-Cone. He had a (10-0) broad jump and a 31-inch vertical.


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