Saturday was the Arizona Football Coaches Association’s annual combine at North Canyon High School and 24-7Football.com had representatives in attendance to evaluate the 400+ kids that attended.
The event ran from 8am to 4pm and teams came in every half hour to time. Before testing, Lee Brusch from the LETS Foundation and AzFCA gave his expert advice on the realities of recruiting and options student-athletes have after high school.
Kids then tested their strength on the bench press. All were tested using 185 pounds. Also in the gym, players showed the explosiveness in the vertical jump. The jump pad was used for this event.
Players then headed to the field for speed and agility tests. All events were on grass in cleats. The forty was hand start with electric finish and the L-drill and T-test were hand timed.
Most of the time evaluating was spent on the field to see how kids moved around, not only in the testing but also in warm-ups that Elite Strength Systems put them through. ESS did the vast majority of the testing on the day.
With over 400 kids running on Saturday, it is nearly impossible to track every performance so what we did was try to find kids that stood out in each group, either sleeper players we had not heard much of or of the top performers in each group.
Group 1 Teams in Attendance: Arcadia, Arizona Lutheran, Goldwater, Central
Of the teams in this group, we thought Central had some good looking players. Linebacker Dallas Nichols, RB Jaleel Tenner and all-purpose player Hi-C Scott stood out in this group.
Both Tenner and Nichols are long kids that flashed some ability while Scott looked quick on the agility drills.
Group 2: Greenway, North Canyon, Pinnacle, Sunnyslope, Westwind Prep
This quite possibly may have been the best overall group on the day. Greenway may have been small in numbers but may have had the most “bang for their buck”. TE Tyler Bergsten definitely looked the part, looking to be in the 6-3 220 range. He is considered one of the state’s top TE prospects for a reason. He is more of an old-school TE that can block and can catch when needed. His frame will allow him to be a much bigger player in a few years and he will be a receiving threat in college with a little added speed.
No doubt that Josh Taase was the biggest kid in attendance; in fact, he may be the biggest high school player we have ever seen. He was too big for the scales but says he was last measured at 6-8 430 pounds. We have watched him over the past two years and he continues to improve. Speed and agility are never going to be this big man’s game but he is massive and will engulf his opponents. Dropping a few pounds would be great for his game.
We also liked how RB Shawn Jones and Harrison Johnson looked. Expect a breakout year for Jones.
North Canyon WR Anas Hasic arguably had one of the best performances of the day. He posted one of the fastest 40 times and was quick in all agility drills. He informed us that New Mexico State had just offered and NC head man Brian Cole thinks that could lead to schools such as Fresno State offering in the near future.
Four-year starting QB Dominic Portocarrero was there, and while he isn’t your typical big drop back QB, he is a scrappy competitor that has been great for Cole.
Keep an eye on sleeper DL prospect Brett Fouts from NC. At 6-2 230, he has a frame to be much bigger.
Pinnacle had a few good looking line prospects. Luke Dubas and Cody Yeager were both thick good sized kids that ran well. But one that intrigued our staff was junior to be Nick Ziegenbein. He measured in at a massive 6-6 and weighed 290. Now Nick hasn’t played much varsity ball and is still raw but he has the size and actually looks like with some hard work over the next few years he could be a solid player.
Group 3: Copper Canyon, Cortez, Mt. Ridge, Sunrise Mountain
Copper Canyon linebacker Tyler Rucker looked the part and ran well.
Mt. Ridge junior-to-be Jon Matter quite possibly looked the best in the agility drills of this group.
Group 4: Liberty, O’Connor, Kellis
Former Deer Valley and now Liberty lineman Travis Seefeldt looked good at the combine. At 6-2 270 pounds, Seefeldt moved well and was especially impressive in agility drills showing good feet and change of direction for a big man.
LB Kyle Steg mans the middle for Kellis but being a bit undersized a move to OLB or even safety may be in his future. He moved around well on Saturday.
6-2 250 pound Kellis junior-to-be Wes Kollar looked athletic in drills and will be a three-year starter OT for Coach Golden.
Group 5: Chandler, Dysart, Estrella Foothills, Scottsdale Christian
An interesting athlete under the radar was Chandler’s Aaron Mayo. Listed as a RB/OLB, Mayo ran well in the forty and showed decent hips and feet in drills. At 170, Mayo is very much a tweener and could be suited to play strong or free safety.
Passing the eye test from the get go was Scottsdale Christian offensive tackle Nick Dooley. The 6-7 2012 prospect actually looks skinny at 290 pounds, he has a frame that can easily handle much more weight. In the forty yard dash and in drills Dooley did not set the world on fire, but he did show some athleticism for a young man of his size. Still very raw, not having started on varsity yet but two years from now it is not a stretch to project Dooley as a tackle in the 315 pound range.
A second big man who grabbed looks was 2011 Estrella Foothills two way lineman Mike Bentley. Bentley, at 6-0 275, is on the opposite end of the size spectrum from Dooley. He started his day by popping off 44 reps at 185 pounds on the bench press. According to Bentley’s Head Coach Lamar Early, Bentley recently did 365 for a set of six. Obviously strong enough for the next level, Bentley showed some short burst in the forty and drills although he was a little tight through the hips. A two year starter at offensive tackle the past two seasons, it looks like Bentley will move inside to a more natural guard or center position.
Group 6: Apache Junction, Campo Verde, Westwood
Westwood WR/DB Valencio Grey looked good in the agility drills.
Group 7: Boulder Creek, Paradise Valley, Valley Vista
PV brought a very big group and Donnie Yantis looks like he will have some solid players in Joe Sabye and Austen Salazar.
Group 8: Mogollon, Verrado, Willow Canyon, Youngker
The star of the group was WC running back Garrick Shelton. Shelton is a squatty-body, standing in the 5-7 range but he is thick and was one of the state’s most productive runners last year, rushing for 1,800 yards. The kid shows a lot of ability, has burst, quickness and speed; his biggest obstacle is going to be getting someone to over look his height.
Keep an eye on WC LB Blaine Pinkman. He was an all-region LB last year as a sophomore and really looks the part and ran well.
Group 9: Buena, Catalina, Chino Valley, Coconino, Flagstaff
Buena had two of the better performers on the day in skill players Xavier Cooper and Darius Kelly. Cooper is a bit on unknown prospect that we would like to see more of after this performance. He had the fastest forty time and 5-10-5 time we heard called out. Kelly has been a regular and combines and camps over the past two years, so we have seen a lot of him. He looked smooth in all of the agility drills.
We would like to point out that Chino Valley and Flagstaff as a whole were well prepared. The kids were respectful and you could tell that they coaching staff took the time to coach these kids up in the combine style events.
Group 10: Cactus, Mesquite, Thunderbird, Bradshaw Mountain, Lake Havasu
As expected, the defending 4A2 champs had some good looking players. WR Guy Williams and DE Jon Moeck looked good in the agility drills. Cactus has had a run of solid RBs with Mike Brown and Allen Woods, next in line is Jarel Hull and the kid is a good looking player; had nice size and is long. Could he be the next Cobra 1,000 yard rusher?
Mesquite brought just two players but we were impressed with both Josh Bamrick and Anthony Lopez. Bamrick is a very good looking linebacker and Lopez, who plays RB, ran extremely well and was surprisingly agile for a bigger back.
Thunderbird RB Connor Hustead was a thick kid. He was an all-region player last year and has some explosion.
Group 11: Mingus, Mt. Pointe
Mingus always plays with tough undersized kids but one player that really looked the part was LB Matt Chavez. He was productive last year, recording 80 tackles and 9.5 sacks. At 6-2 200 pounds, he is long and has a frame to really bulk up.
MP brought a big group of kids, one of the biggest of the day, and one thing that really stood out to us was the kids were very coachable, respectful and prepared, a testament to what Norris Vaughan has brought to that program. RB Isaac Kartz, QB Kyle Faunce and LB Jordan Leal all ran well.
Like we mentioned previously, there were a lot of kids in attendance so we probably missed some very solid performances. We apologize ahead of time. Look for the Top 5 performances and a photo gallery courtesy of 24-7 photographer Lisa Licano soon.