The Scout.com combine series makes its annual stop in Cincinnati this weekend. Last year, the Queen City lived up to its royal nickname, as it was one of the best stops on the tour. With several big time prospects on the list for this year, a repeat performance appears to be inevitable.
Blue Chippers Galore
Ohio is always one of the top talent producing states. This year, several of the country's elite recruits hail from the Buckeye State and quite a few will be in Cincinnati on Sunday. Two five-star prospects from Ohio will be on hand. Cincinnati Anderson offensive tackle Andrew Norwell and Lakota West linebacker Jordan Hicks lead the way. Norwell, an Ohio State commitment, is the 2 nd ranked offensive tackle in the country and the speedy, hard hitting Hicks has offers from nearly all of the nation's top programs.
This year, the combine will be held at Princeton High School and it just so happens, one of the top recruits in the state hails from there. Quarterback/athlete Spencer Ware could excel at several positions at the next level. Fellow Ohioans Alex Smith (Lakota West) and Jibreel Black (Wyomin g) both have their share of BCS conference offers and should be among the top performers on Sunday. Lexington cornerback Courtney Avery was one of the best cover men at the Pittsburgh combine and will be in Cincinnati looking to prove that was no fluke. Johnstown Monroe offensive lineman Skyler Schofner has offers from the Big Ten, SEC and ACC.
Of course, the other surrounding states are sending their best as well. Michigan will be well represented as several of the state's top talents will be on hand. William Gholston (Detroit Southeastern), Devin Gardner (Inkster), Austin White (Livonia Stevenson), Dior Mathis (Detroit Cass Tech) are all four-star prospects with multiple BCS offers. Gardner, a Michigan commitment, is the only one of the group who has chosen a school. Cass Tech safety Daniel Easterly, Southeastern quarterback Edward Thomas and teammate Jonathan Hankins also come in holding FBS offers.
Indiana provided some of the camp's top performances a year ago and it should be more of the same this year. Fort Wayne Harding running back Roderick Smith is a 6'3, 220-lb thoroughbred who holds offers from Ohio State, Michigan State and others. Indianapolis Pike wide receiver Dyjuan Lewis has double digit offers and had a fine performance as a sophomore a year ago. Southport linebacker Joe Gilliam is an impressive athlete who holds several offers. Indianapolis Cathedral quarterback/athlete Kofi Hughes recently received an Indiana offer and is one of the top athletes in the state. Warren Central safety James Manuel was a top performer a year ago and returns this year with several offers in hand.
With Kentucky being right across the border, the Bluegrass State will naturally send several of its best. Highlands product Austin Collinsworth is a great athlete who could play wide receiver or defensive back in college. Speedy wide receiver Stephan Robinson (Louisville Central) is one of the state's fastest players and has a handful of offers to show for it.
The combine will also have two of the top quarterbacking prospects in the 2011 class in attendance. Huber Heights Wayne's Braxton Miller already has a handful of verbal offers and has started since his freshman season on the varsity. Louisville Seneca's DaMarcus Smith has a few verbal offers himself and passed for 3,470 yards and 36 touchdowns as a sophomore.
Position by Position preview
QB: Mitchell Faine (Ada), Jay Bucher (Bellbrook) and are a pair of Ohio kids who both can slin g it. Bishop Dwenger (Ind.) senior Wade Markley is a 6'4, 200-lber who is on the rise. Another top 2011 signal caller, Badin's (Ohio) Patrick Coyne will have one of the strongest arms at the combine. Fishers (Ind.) Alex Hines is smart, accurate and has a handful of schools showing interest.
RB: Potosi (Mo.) product Brandon Bourbon is a big, fast kid who recently picked up a Missouri offer. Indianapolis Broad Ripple's Martell Baker is a 6'2, 220-lb bruiser with speed. He showed he could play in space at the recent 7-7 event and is ready to do it again here. Two of the Hoosier state's best young running backs, Steven Espinoza (Homestead) and Remound Wright (Bishop Dwenger) are speedy and should do well in 1-1s. Inkster (Mich) twins Daniel and Nathan Lindsey are versatile can play defensive back as well. Warren Central's Shakir Bell is not the biggest guy, but he is well put together and tough to deal with in the open field.
WR/TE: Indianapolis Pike's Anthony McClung proved at the Columbus 7-7 that he was a player worth watching over this next year. Another good performance here and he'll really shed his sleeper tag. Louisville Seneca's duo of Aaron Nance and Jordan Jacobs combined for over 20 touchdowns and both averaged over 20 yards a reception last season. Fishers' Rod Hauser and Detroit Cass Tech's Blake Blackwell are two sophomores with a lot of talent and could deliver breakthrough performances.
OL: Lakewood St. Edwards' Jake Schwertner is a talented kid on the verge of his first offers. Ethan Belasic is a 6'5, 290-lb sophomore coming up from Tennessee to compete. Edgewood (Ohio) product Taylor Miller and Indianapolis Pike's Patrick Robinson are a couple of athletic kids on the college radar. Bishop Dwenger's 6'8 sophomore Tony Springmann is another big time potential.
DL: Wayne's Terry Talbott and Warren Central's Kris Harley lead the way on the interior. There are some sleeper ends who have intriguing tools. Westerville Central's Davonte Butler (6'5, 240), Pike's Evan Moncrief (6'3, 235) and Inkster's Romeiro Williams (6'4, 240) are three kids with size and athleticism who we will watch closely. Warren Central's sophomore Kiaro Holts (6'4, 230) is one of the youngsters with a chance to make his mark.
LB: Zac Rosenbauer (Shawnee) has a few offers and is a nice looking prospect, the same goes for Wayne's Josh Harrison, who recently scored a Wisconsin offer. Roger Bacon's Solomon Tentman is another local kid with some talent. Detroit Southeastern's Calen Spencer is a good athlete who is starting to receive more college interest. Zionsville (Ind.) bruiser Jack Denton has one FBS offer and more should be on the way.
DB: Wayne's Terrence Talbott was one of the top underclassmen in Cincy a year a go and has earned himself a few scholarship offers since. Detroit Cass Tech's Delonte Hollowell is on the verge of his first offer and is one of the top cover men in Michigan. Warren Central's Nate White and Fishers' Brian Sutton are two Indiana products who put themselves on the map at the Columbus 7-7. Fort Wayne Southside's Greg Johnson is a great athlete who has mostly played quarterback, but is ready to show that he is a college defensive back this weekend. Inkster (Mich) cornerback Vo Zanders can play on both sides of the ball, but is a quick cover man. The underclassmen we will watch closely include Fort Wayne Bishop Luers' speedy Kenny Mullen and Inkster (Mich) center fielder Donovan Lindsay.
Stay tuned to Scout.com for complete coverage of the Cincinnati combine