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December 7, 2004A small town in Southwestern Virginia was transformed into the center of the football recruiting world for about eight hours Monday.
More than 200 college coaches, including many of the top assistant coaches in the nation, descended upon Chatham (population approximately 1,300) for Hargrave Military Academy's annual combine. The chance to see over 40 Division-I recruits battle each other in a series of physical tests lured the large crowd to the nation's top post-graduate program.
The recruits were all tested in the 40-yard dash, shuttle time and vertical-leap indoors on a rubber surface before suiting up in pads and facing each other in drills on the football field.
Running back Andre Brown (6-2, 210) only ran the 40 once, but that was more than enough to leave several coaches shaking their heads belief. Brown finished in 4.32 - the lowest time of the entire field. He is firmly committed to N.C. State, but isn't academically qualified yet.
"I didn't think anyone could make running a 4.32 look easy, but Andre does it," Hargrave offensive coordinator Ryan Sulkowski said. "He doesn't really look like he is running hard and then you look at the watch and it blew my mind. A lot of coaches were looking around to see if the time was right."
Running back Curtis Brinkley (5-10, 180) and cornerback Paul Crews (5-11, 170) caused some commotion too, each running a 4.35. Brinkely was mobbed by several coaches soon afterwards and was offered scholarships by Connecticut, Ohio State and others.
The most surprising and impressive time most likely belonged to running back Chubb Small, who turned in a 4.33 on his first run. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound prospect from Winterhaven, Fla., who entered the combine without a scholarship offer from a major D-I program, was quickly asked to run again and he delivered a 4.34. Coaches from Alabama, Florida and Memphis quickly began inquiring about him.
Little-known cornerback Brandon Anderson (5-11, 160) also surprised many by turning in a 4.37. The Dublin, Va., prospect was quickly approached by coaches from Central Florida, Memphis, South Carolina and other programs.
Defensive end Fred Fairchild (6-3, 205) ran a 4.48 - a lower time than every single linebacker. He is committed firmly to Arkansas.
Monstrous offensive lineman Jared Gaither (6-9, 330) showed off remarkable speed for his size, turning in a 4.75. He is committed to Maryland.
The vertical jump title belonged to saftey Greg Hurt (5-9, 190), who reportedly jumped an unhuman like 55 inches. Cornerback Rajiv Lundy (6-0, 175) and wide receiver Bruce Francis (6-1, 170) were second and third at 53 and 51 inches.
Defensive tackle Lorenzo Washington (6-5, 275) showed off his remarkable lateral movement by beating the rest of the field in the shuttle with a time of 4.04 seconds. He is firmly committed to Alabama.
Quarterback Aubrey Norris (6-1, 180) finished in 4.07 and Crews in 4.09.
Note: This is the first in a series of articles from the Hargrave combine. Look for more soon, including pieces on what players improved their stock the most and a feature on a defensive line coaches dream about