The Commercial Appeal
Football combine an idea whose time has come
Gives prep players chance to show skills
It was an idea that was long overdue.
Former Melrose High football coach Tim Thompson and TigerSportsReport.com reporter Leroy Watson had long wondered why there were no local combines for high school football players. So the two decided to take the plunge.
“I don’t even know who said it first,” said Watson. “Kids shouldn’t have to go to St. Louis or New Orleans or Florida or Texas to attend a combine. You have to pay for the travel. ... It just doesn’t work for the typical inner-city kid.”
On Saturday at Dulin’s Sports Complex in Cordova, Thompson — who coached the Golden Wildcats to two state championships in the 1990s — and Watson welcomed 80 area football players to the first Premier Sports Nation High School Football Combine.
The event featured players from grades eight through 12 and was attended by some of the area’s top prospects in the classes of 2014 and 2015, like White Station defensive back Tony Becton, Whitehaven running back Ramadi Warren, MUS offensive tackle Drew Richmond, Melrose Cameron Tewari (center) a freshman at Germantown High, runs through stepping drills during warm-ups at the Premiere Sports Nation Combine held at Dulin’s Sports Academy.
athlete Johnathon Johnson and CBHS linebacker D.J. Palmore.
The purpose of the event was to put the players through their physical paces — running through various drills while being timed and measured — while providing exposure.
“I would argue that Memphis is as much of a football town as it is a basketball town,” he said. “The players just aren’t publicized as much. We just want to give kids an outlet.”
Although there was plenty of blue-chip talent on display, the event also provided an opportunity for lesser-known players to strut their stuff. One such hopeful is White Station senior defensive back Botti Denton, who didn’t play football last year but is hoping to make a big impact for the Spartans in 2013.
“It means a lot to have this opportunity,” he said. “There’s a whole lot of football talent in this area and there’s nothing like AAU in basketball to help players get the exposure.”
Collierville senior athlete Cordarius White agreed.
“I want to show that I can compete,” he said. “I just want to be able to play football somewhere after high school. At a lot of camps, they just kind of throw you out there, but the instructors here have done a good job of pushing us.”
Watson said Saturday’s combine was the just beginning. An invitationonly event is already in the works for this spring and he and Thompson are targeting another combine for next summer.
Albeit in a different location. Not that that’s a bad thing, though.
“This year, it was important to get the Ramadi Warrens and the Drew Richmonds to show that we’re serious,” Watson said. “But I think we’ve already outgrown Dulin’s.” Jabril Malone gets instructions on how to do shuffles from Antonio Moore at the combine. The combine was the brainchild of Tim Thomas and Leroy Watson.