RANDOLPH, N.J. - The third annual Elite College Combine was held in Randolph, N.J. on Monday night and the talent didn't disappoint. While there were plenty of standout performances at the skill positions, it was the big men led by defensive tackle Marvin Austin and offensive tackle Anthony Davis who stole the show.
Austin, from Washington (D.C.) Coolidge, and Davis, from Piscataway, N.J., took home the defensive and offensive MVP awards at the event as well as their positional MVP titles. Austin wowed the coaches in attendance with a 4.69-second 40-yard dash and a 4.34-second shuttle at 300 pounds. But when it came to the one-on-ones, Davis held the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle at bay with his long arms and excellent balance. The soft-spoken Davis and the oft-spoken Austin earned a great deal of respect for each other.
Austin looked slimmed down and super quick as always, screaming loudly when he ran under 4.7 seconds in the 40. Davis looked very similar to former New Jersey stud offensive tackle Eugene Monroe with his massive frame and strong lower body. Their one-on-one matchups were the highlight of the combine.
Other big men who impressed included Austin's teammate, offensive tackle Lamar Milstead, Trenton (N.J.) Trenton Central tackle Keith Newell, Wilmington (Del.) Howard rush end Devon Still, Washington (D.C.) St. John's College defensive end Tony Tucker, Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's Belfield defensive end Brian Linthicum and defensive tackle Nick Jenkins from Damascus (Md.) Good Counsel.
Other award winners at their respective positions were Durham (N.C.) Hillside wide receiver Greg Little, Morristown (N.J.) Lawrenceville School linebacker Ben Pooler and Wayne (N.J.) Depaul Catholic defensive back Chaz Cervino.
Little fought the ball at first but settled in and was excellent in the one-on-ones. The Rivals100 member ran away from many defenders and showed explosiveness. Other wideouts who impressed included Greensburg (Pa.) Central Catholic star Nick Sukay, who was the most polished receiver, and Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln stud Lansford Watson who was the most physically dominant. New Kensington (Pa.) Valley wideout Toney Clemons also flashed superior quickness while Winslow Township, N.J. sleeper Julian Talley made many notice.
Tight ends Rob Gronkowski from Williamsville (N.Y.) Williamsville North, Devonte Campbell from Forestville, Md. and Zach Smith also made some nice grabs from their tight end positions.
Pooler led the linebackers with his quickness and ability to cover, but others also impressed. Manasquan, N.J. 'backer Mike Mele ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and jumped more than 10 feet in the broad jump. Newark (N.J.) Weequahic linebacker Amara Kamara also showed excellent athleticism and Manalapan, N.J. sleeper Billy Dokouslis looked solid as well.
Cervino was this year's version of Anthony Ferla, who took last year's defensive back honors. What he lacked in size he more than made up for with physical play and all-out hustle. Other defensive backs also impressed in man-to-man coverage including Maury, Va. cornerback James Butts and North Bergen, N.J. safety Evan Rodriguez.
Two players shocked everyone at the event by stealing away the MVP award at their respective positions. Greenwich (Conn.) Brunswick quarterback Kevin Decker beat out bigger names like Tyrod Taylor from Hampton, Va. and Pat Bostick from Lancaster (Pa.) Manheim Township. Decker, who hails from New York, showed excellent mechanics and pinpoint accuracy for most of the event. Taylor impressed with his strong arm and fast release while Bostick threw the deep ball as well as anyone.
Greensburg (Pa.) Central Catholic quarterback Cody Catalina was also very accurate, Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly signal-caller Joe Haden showed a strong arm, Brooklyn (N.Y.) South Shore quarterback David Legree threw an accurate, strong ball and Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph's Prep gunslinger Chris Whitney made all the throws as well.
Sparta (N.J.) Pope John running back Jeremy Tucker surprised as well by running a 4.36-second 40-yard dash and taking home running back MVP honors. Tucker was joined by Red Bank (N.J.) Lawrenceville Prep running back Devon Ramsay and Plainfield, N.J. scat back Reggie Dixon, only a sophomore, as the best in the offensive backfield. Dixon won the fastest player away with his 4.32-second 40-yard dash while Ramsey ran a 4.69 at nearly 250 pounds.
Numerous head coaches made the trip to New Jersey to check out the action including Notre Dame's Charlie Weis, North Carolina's John Bunting, Syracuse's Greg Robinson and Illinois head coach Ron Zook. More than 150 college coaches attended the event.
Rivals.com will have more coverage of the Elite College Combine all week.