The 2008 National Underclassmen Combine season started off with a bang this past weekend at Apache Junction High School, in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Leading the way during the first event of the season was an outstanding performance by sophomore Justin Rodriguez of Marcos de Niza High School, who was named the Overall MVP.
Rodriguez (6 feet 1, 170 pounds) was fantastic during individual drills and unstoppable during the one-on-ones. He was equally impressive during the combine events, as he had a 31.5-inch vertical, 9'7" broad jump, 4.51 shuttle, 4.56 40, and 13 reps on 155 pounds. Another receiver who excelled in Phoenix was sophomore Deche' Milburn of Buena High School, who took home the WR MVP. The 5-foot-11, 167-pound Milburn showed a great combination of route-running ability and hands, to dominate a majority of the defensive backs in attendance. During the combine events, he finished with a 26-inch vertical, 8'6" broad, 4.43 shuttle, 4.69 40, and 10 reps on 155 pounds.
The RB MVP Patrick Browne from Tolleson Union High School. The 5-foot-7 ½, 181-pound sophomore showed great feet, athleticism and hands during the one-on-ones, plus during the combine events he had a 4.57 40, 4.50 shuttle, 29.5-inch vertical, 8'6 ½" broad, and an impressive 28 reps on 155 pounds. The top combine performance by a freshman also came at the running back position, as Buena High School RB Xavier Cooper took home the Freshman Combine King award. The 5-foot-6 ½,145-pound Cooper had a 30.5-inch vertical, 10' broad, 4.70 shuttle, 4.52 40, and 12 reps on 135 pounds.
The top overall freshman in Phoenix was Carlton Williams of Westview High School, who took home the Freshman MVP. The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Williams was unstoppable during one-on-ones, and had a 4.52 shuttle, 4.75 40, and 8'8" broad. One of the most memorable performances in Phoenix was turned in by freshman Derek Hubbard of La Joya High School. Hubbard ran a blazing 4.36 40, which not only won him the Fastest Man Award, but also made him the fastest freshman of all time at the National Underclassmen Combine. The 5-foot-5, 139-pound Hubbard also had a 29-inch vertical, 9'5" broad, and 4.62 shuttle.
The remaining awards in Phoenix all went to sophomores. Coming from host Apache Junction High School was DL MVP Cy Maughmar. The 6-foot-1, 256-pound lineman had a good combination of speed and power, plus he showcased some powerful rush techniques. With 25 reps on 185 pounds, Maughmar also took home the Strongest Man Award at the event. Along with his power numbers, he also had a 24-inch vertical, 7'8" broad, 5.01 shuttle, and 5.22 40.
The QB MVP went to Kevin Spain of Horizon High School, who at 6-foot-0 ½ and 180 pounds, showed pinpoint accuracy, great drops, and a quick release. The sophomore also had a 25-inch vertical, 8'11" broad, 4.91 shuttle, 4.91 40, and 10 reps on 155 pounds during the combine events.
Sophomore Ben Cannon (6-foot-0 ½ and 258 pounds) of Tuscon High School was the winner of the OL MVP. Cannon showed great technique and drive during the one-on-one portion of the event. He also had a 7'1" broad, 5.22 shuttle, 5.53 40, and 14 reps on 185 pounds. The LB MVP went to Austin Garday of Centennial High School, who at 5 feet 11 ½ and 198 pounds, did not give up any pass completions during one-on-ones and is a physically dominating player. He also showed that during the combine events by getting 23 reps on 155 pounds, plus an 8'2" broad, 4.54 shuttle and 4.71 40.
The last positional award of the event went to sophomore Yusef Muhammad of Chandler High School, who won the DB MVP. The 5-foot-8 ½, 145-pound Muhammad showcased his athleticism throughout the event, plus he possessed great footwork and skills in coverage which helped him break up several passes during one-on-ones. During the combine events he had a 26-inch vertical, 8'7" broad and 4.74 40.
The sophomore Combine King was LB Raymon Abreu of Marcos de Niza High School. Along with getting an incredible 37-inch vertical, 9'2" broad, 4.38 shuttle, 4.48 40, and 11 reps on 155 pounds, the 5-foot-10 ½, 164-pound Abreu was also impressive during one-on-ones.
And finally, the Leadership Award was won by sophomore QB Dain McFarland of Mountain Ridge High School. Aside from having very impressive passing skills, he also showed tremendous command over his receivers during the positional drills and one-on-ones. The 5-foot-10 ½, 166-pound McFarland also ran a 4.32 shuttle and 4.71 40.
Up next for the National Underclassmen Combine are stops in Miami/Boca Raton, Birmingham, and Las Vegas during the weekend of February 16-17.