Md. star takes Combine MVP
SAN ANTONIO - Though it was held in Texas, the U.S. Army All-American National Combine had a definite East Coast feel to it. The state of Maryland was especially represented as several of its top juniors and sophomores made the trek to participate in the elite event.
While The Old Line State saw quite a few top performers, the best was Olney (Md.) Good Counsel wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The 6-foot, 160-pound junior tested well, running one of the better 40-yard dash times of the day and showing an impressive vertical leap. However, it was his performance in one-on-one drills that cemented his place as the Rivals.com Most Outstanding Performer.
Diggs, who can also play cornerback, was nearly impossible for defensive backs to cover. He continually showed not only the ability to get open but to make incredible catches as well. He says it all comes sort of naturally.
"I just wanted to go out and show what I could do at receiver," Diggs said. "I knew what I could do and I wanted to show the people down here the same thing. I feel that I represented myself well."
Diggs came into the combine with another reason to put on a solid performance. He has already been selected to play in next year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl, one of only a select few juniors to have already received invitations.
"The U.S. Army has invited me to play in the game and that's a huge honor," he said. "There are not many of us yet who have been selected so I know it means something special. I felt like I had a bull's eye on my chest a little bit. I had to go out there and perform to show them that they made a good decision.
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell was certainly impressed with what he saw from the athletic junior.
"Diggs is explosive off the line of scrimmage," Farrell said. "He's quick in and out of his breaks, gets great separation and is fluid in everything he does.
"He has sure hands, sells routes well and is a flashy dynamic receiver who loves to show off. He reminds me of a young DeSean Jackson."
With the class of 2011 is close to being complete at most schools, Diggs is receiving plenty of interest on the recruiting trail as well. He lists early offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Pitt, Rutgers, Virginia and Virginia Tech with heavy interest from plenty of other programs.
"Right now, I'm kind of looking at Miami a little bit," he said, "but I'm actually looking at Virginia Tech and some others that I actually have don't offers from…Florida State and South Carolina, those are two big ones on my list.
"A lot of schools (are interested) - LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, everybody, I'm really trying to look away. I'm trying to see everybody I can and just look at them, look at the school, the tradition."
-Gregg Peterson contributed to this report.
OFFENSIVE MVP: APB BRIAN KIMBROW
5-9/165, Memphis (Tenn.) East
Though he claims offers from double-digit schools, Kimbrow still came into the combine as a bit of an unknown. That changed as he posted a blistering 40 time as well as a top shuttle. He also showed good explosiveness in the vertical jump. Over the course of testing, the speedster left observers in awe quite often.
While a lot of prospects that test off the charts fall short when it comes time to translate to actual football skills, it was not the case here. Playing running back, Kimbrow proved to be no match for linebackers in one-on-one drills. He is natural catching the ball out of the backfield and could even end up as a slot receiver at the next level.
Early in the recruiting process Kimbrow say he is high on Alabama and Auburn as well as in-state schools Memphis and Tennessee.
DEFENSIVE MVP: DT NICK JAMES
6-5/335, Long Beach (Miss.)
James is built like a bull and plays like one as well. In one-on-one drills, he simply had his way with opposing offensive linemen. He has excellent lower body strength and was able to use it to muscle his way to the quarterback.
The big defender moves very well for his size too. He was able to use his quickness to beat some smaller linemen off the edge and used spin moves when playing on the interior. James also showed the fire that is needed to play along the defensive line, challenging every top offensive lineman there.
On the recruiting side of the things, he has picked up offers from Ole Miss and Tennessee and says that Alabama, LSU, Florida State and Texas are also showing interest. He lists the Crimson Tide as the early favorite.