December 31, 2011

UA combine notebook: Big day for Switzer, Coley

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Under Armour Junior Combine was held on Saturday afternoon at the Disney Wide World of Sports. Over 150 of the nation's top prospects showcased their skills during the one-day event.

Coley puts on a show

One of the big stars of the day was Northeast (Oakland Park, Fla.) WR Stacy Coley. The 6-foot-1, 180 pounder put on a show during the one-on-one portion of the camp, consistently getting behind the opposition. He scored at least four touchdowns.

"Playing relaxed was the key for me. I didn't want to put a lot of pressure on myself, but simply just got great separation out of my breaks on the routes. I had a lot of fun because of the competition there today," Coley said. "I want to be challenged, so that's how I approached this combine."

On the recruiting front, Coley has plenty of schools in the mix.

"Florida State, Florida, Texas Tech, Oklahoma are some of the main teams," said Coley.

How does Florida State fit into his plans and what is his interest level?

"I love Coach Gran from Florida State. I actually visited FSU last year for their junior day and had a blast. The campus is beautiful, but what I liked the most when I visited was how much everyone was a family," said Coley. "I was very impressed with how much FSU spread the ball around with their wide receivers. It's an offense that let's their receivers make big plays, as they showed in the Champs Sports bowl the other night."

Switzer impresses again

Coley wasn't the only star receiver at the combine. Charleston, West Virginia's Ryan Switzer was arguably the most consistent receiver in the agility portion, where he possessed great control with his route running, but also showcased a few one handed grabs in those drills. Switzer then continued to impress during one-on-ones, missing just one catch on the day.

"I just adjust quickly to the type of defensive back I'm going against. The main thing is to just have fun with this. I know with my quickness and speed I could exploit some big plays," Switzer said. "I played with a lot of confidence, so I thought overall everything went well. My route running was good, not great but my separation from the defender was where I wanted it."

Being from West Virginia, you would think that he would focus on teams like West Virginia, Penn State or Ohio State. However, a team in Florida is the school that holds the solid edge.

"FSU has a significant edge over everyone else. I grew up loving FSU," said Switer. "I'm a fan and have always liked how they get their receivers involved in the offense. I'm looking to get back over there soon, probably at their junior day."

Switzer even tried to see Florida State in action Thursday night against Notre Dame, but his attempt was unsuccessful.

"Yeah we drove all the way over here early to try and go to the game, but we showed up and the game was sold out so we watched it from the hotel," he said. "The offense really picked things up in the second half in getting all the receivers involved. It's an offense that I think I could do well in when I'm out in space."

Bailey stands out

Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) WR Alvin Bailey was another standout that left his mark, especially in the one-on -one portion of the afternoon. He showed off great top end speed to accelerate past most of the top defensive backs covering him, including once when he blew by Vernon Hargreaves.

Bailey currently holds offers from Vanderbilt, South Florida but he's hoping for more to be on the way.

"I'm open and looking at everyone. I'm interested in Florida, FSU and Miami to see if they are going to offer," Bailey said.

Other standouts of the day

Other receivers that had their moments today was the University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) tandem of Jordan Cunningham and Dionte Taylor. Cunningham wasn't really a deep threat throughout the day, but showed good power in getting off the line of scrimmage with his strength. He did have some trouble getting that separation on the deep balls, but in the mid-range passes, he was very efficient.

Taylor was very efficient on the deep passes more than anything. This speedy receiver is comparable to Malcolm Lewis from the 2012 class with how good he is out in space.

For out of state of prospects, Shelton Gibson from Cleveland, Ohio made a strong impression in the conditioning drills. His main strength in one-on-one's was his middle range game in the quick slants and his route running skills. He gave most corners trouble in the middle of the field. Richard Benjamin from Middleton (Tampa, Fla.) was another receiver that excelled in the one-on-ones. He looked like he added ten or fifteen pounds since last summer, but didn't lose a lot with his speed.

At tight end, O'Terrius Howard showed great range and athletic ability much of the day. He tested with a vertical leap of 35 inches. He caught two touchdowns in the one-on-one portion of the camp.

Underclassmen to watch

Sophomore OL Jordan Poland of La Jolla, Calif. impressed with his footwork and explosion off the line of scrimmage in getting to that second level. Other top prospects that stood out on the offensive line were Shawn Curtis (Orlando, Fla.), Mike Sutton from Cary, North Carolina and Erick Bunte from Santa Margarita, Calif.

At running back, FSU targets A.J. Turman and Ryan Green were the ones to watch. It wasn't a great setting for Turman, who is more of a downhill runner and a power back, but he still was very solid in the position drills.

Green on the other hand stood out more with his speed and quickness out in space. He showed that if he gets a step, he's off to the races as he showed a few times in one-on-ones.

On the defensive side of the ball there were plenty of outstanding defensive tackles that stood out for most of the day and one of the biggest forces was Paul James from Dr. Krop (Miami, Fla.) and Jason Hatcher from Louisville, Ky. Hatcher was unblockable during most of the one-on-one portion of the camp. His biggest strength was how well he used his hands and the burst off the line of scrimmage. He was beating all the offensive line off the line of scrimmage. He talked to about what he thought about Florida State.

"I'm open to everyone, but FSU is certainly a school I plan on visiting for junior day," he said. "I love how well their tackles attack the line of scrimmage. Odell Haggins is one of the best defensive line coaches out there."

Other top standouts on the defensive line were Derrick Calloway from Manatee, Fla., Senat Deadrin from Immokalee, Fla.,Jaylen Miller from Gaffney, S.C. All were strong much of the day. Miller was the most impressive out of this group in the one-on-one portion because of his quickness and power. He stated that FSU is a school that he wants to check out.

As stout as the wide receivers were today, the combine also had a ton of top defensive backs. The top performers were Vernon Hargreaves, Will Likely, Sojourn Shelton and Marcell Harris. Out of this group, Hargreaves probably had the strongest day with two interceptions and showed off very solid technique in keeping all the receivers on his hip and having enough make up speed to challenge for the deep balls.

Likely might have been the biggest surprise today at cornerback. He has a very physical style of play in jamming the receivers at the line of scrimmage, but also great recovery speed.

"I just had to adjust to what the receivers were doing with their routes. Once I did that, I was very comfortable the rest of the day."

On the recruiting front, does Likely continue to have interest in the Seminoles?

"I loved what I saw from FSU in the Champs Sports Bowl. I have high interest for a while as that's the team I grew up liking a lot. I'm expecting to get an offer from them very soon," he said.

Shelton had a solid day in position drills. Harris nabbed two picks during the one-on-ones. Charles Clark from Suffolk, Va. also had a strong day in how quickly he exploded off initial contact with receivers. He was one of the best in press coverage.

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