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May 11, 2010

Next Level Combine comes to Cleveland

With nearly 300 athletes registered for Sunday's Next Level Combine in Rocky River, a western suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, competition for camp supremacy should be off the charts.

Here's a position-by-position breakdown of some of the top registered prospects and those to keep an eye on.

QUARTERBACKS

Dublin Coffamn rising senior Cole Stoudt headlines a talented group of signal callers. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder has long been a dominant force on the camp and combine circuit and holds offers from Arizona State and Cincinnati, among other.s He was recently was named the No. 3 quarterback in Ohio Varsity's 2011 Top 10 Quarterback rankings.

Keep an Eye on:

  • Ashland rising senior Marcus Fuller headlines a talented group of signal callers. The 6-foot, 200-pounder has long been a dominant force on the camp and combine circuit. Though he awaits his first scholarship offer Fuller has drawn plenty of Division I interest and recently was named the No. 7 quarterback in Ohio Varsity's 2011 Top 10 Quarterback rankings.
  • Host school Rocky River has a talented quarterback in Robby Plagens, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder. Plagens has drawn interest from some mid-level BCS programs and plenty of mid-majors.
  • At 5-foot-10, 183-pounds, Dimitrious Davis doesn't have size going for him, but the rising junior has plenty of time to grow. Davis does have plenty of talent and could play any number of positions at the next level. Keep an eye on this up-and-coming underclassmen.

RUNNING BACKS

With 58 registered participants the running back position certainly includes a number of talented prospects and should be one of the most competitive position groups at the event. Leading the way here is Austintown Fitch rising junior William Mahone, who already holds a verbal offer from Cincinnati and has drawn interest from other major programs.

Keep an Eye on:

  • Willoughby South running back Dominique Darling packs a punch with his 5-foot-10, 189-pound frame. He doesn't possess the game breaking speed by college coaches, but don't be fooled, he's plenty quick with the ball in his hands.
  • Warren Harding's Demond Hymes turned in a strong showing at this month's Columbus NIKE Camp and he could be in a position to take home the MVP hardware for this position group if he can again perform at a high level.
  • Hilliard Bradley's Jeffie Johnson dominated the Next Level Combine in Steubenville and he's back for more. Johnson showcased his athletic ability in the testing portion of the event then went on to prove he's more than just a Combine Warrior in the one-on-ones.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

With no clear-cut favorite to take home the MVP honors, several propsects have the chance to shine. On May 1 Warren Harding's Ed Killingsworth had a strong showing at the Columbus NIKE Camp, so he'll have a bit of an edge here. But, again, the door is open for any number of the 42 registered participants to make their mark.

Keep an Eye on:

  • The third of Austintown Fitch's terrific trio, Chris Davis, was another strong performer down in Steubenville. Davis has size and speed and if the 2012 prospect performs at the top of his game he'll definitely be in consideration for MVP honors.
  • Willoughby South's Josh Federico continues to fly under the radar, but 6-foot-1, 188-pounder has size and speed and a knack for making big plays.
  • Dublin Coffman wide receiver Marcus Davis enters the competition with great lineage. He is the nephew of former Ohio State and NFL wide receiver Chris Carter. With great route running and ball skills, Davis has the potential to shine.

OFFENSIVE LINE

None of the 20 registered participants has made an early mark in recruiting, so like it is with the wide receivers/tight ends, the door is wide open for a prospect to step to the forefront.All but four registered prospects belong to the 2011 recruiting class, so it's likely a rising senior will nab top honors here.

DEFENSIVE LINE

The defensive line is another group that lacks "star power," but most definitely will provide plenty of highlights.This group consists of nine rising seniors, eight rising juniors and a pair of rising sophomores.

LINEBACKERS

Thirty four prospects make this one of the deepest position groups in the event. And with the numbers comes no shortage of prospects ready to take the lead. Look for Nordonia's Jay Velez to again turn in a strong performance, just like he did at Massillon earlier this year.

Keep an Eye on:

  • Eastlake North's Ante Lozancic was one of the top performers at the Massillon Combine in February. He's big and plays with a nasty streak. Can he overcome Velez?
  • Austintown Fitch rising senior Shane Stevens likely will work out with this group but could move to defensive back in college. He possesses terrific size and speed for a strong safety, but has been dominant in the second level at Fitch.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Regardless of the event, the top defensive back performers typically find themselves in the running for the overall event MVP award. That might not be the case in Rocky River, although 36 competitors will have something to say about that on Sunday. There's not a lot to dislike about Stow-Monroe Falls' Cody Boggs. A starter last year at St. Vincent-St. Mary, Boggs transferred back to his home school and should immediately improve the Bulldogs' defense.

Keep an Eye on:

  • Aurora's speedster Terrance Pegram. The 5-foot-9, 165-pounder has run sub-4.5 second times in the 40-yard dash and has a little pop when he makes a hit. With four interceptions and six pass break-ups in 2009, Pegram should be a monster during one-on-ones.

OVERVIEW

Again, Next Level Football has put together a heck of a roster for its combine event. Not only will participants have a chance to shine during the testing portion of the event, but they'll also be able to showcase their skills during position specific drills and one-on-ones.

Ryan Nolan and Co. always put on a great event and quickly have established their combines as the top events in the Buckeye state, and soon, the nation.

On Sunday, look for a highly competive event with 10-12 prospects having a legitimate chance to outperform the rest.

RANKING THE POSITIONS

  1. Running Back
  2. Linebacker
  3. Quarterback
  4. Defensive Back
  5. Wide Receiver/Tight End
  6. Defensive Line
  7. Offensive Line

TOP MVP CANDIDATES

  1. William Mahone, 2012, Austintown Fitch (RB)
  2. Jeffie Johnson, 2011, Hilliard Bradley (RB)
  3. Cole Stoudt, 2011, Dublin Coffman (QB)
  4. Chris Davis, 2012, Austintown Fitch (WR)
  5. Jay Velez, 2011, Nordonia (LB)

Included among the combine's participants are over 40 out-of-state participants. Those prospects were not included in this preview, not as a slight to them but because covering Ohio we just don't have the information we needed to include them in our preview. Should they perform at a high level we'll definitely include them in our post-combine coverage.

Follow all the Next Level Combine-Cleveland coverage on OhioVarsity.com by subscribing for a free 7-day trial. You'll need to be a subscriber to receive all the great coverage following the event including top performers, player features, position-by-position analysis and more. Also, recruiting is heating up, even for you underclassmen, you'll want to keep your profile up-to-date so college coaches keep seeing your name in the news.

Register by Sunday's event and receive one free month added to your subscription date.



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