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February 4, 2006The 2006 NIKE Combine tour kicked off in Miami, Florida on Saturday, with just over 900 participants, a NIKE Combine record, showing up on the campus of the Miami Hurricanes to take part in the event.
Although a driving rainstorm cut the day short just after 12:30, over 600 of the athletes made it through all four of the combine's testing stations and many showed the athletic ability that could potentially make them big-time recruits down the road and also earn them spots at the later NIKE Camp.
While many of the Sunshines State's top prospects in the Class of 2007 were in attendance, one new theme at the NIKE Combine in Miami this year was the participation of out of state players.
Prospects from the states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Maryland, New Jersey and even New York joined a large Floridian contigent that hoped to impress for later NIKE Camp consideration with strong performances.
And although the running conditions weren't ideal with a field dampenend by a strong thunderstorm the night before and swirling winds, several strong performances were put in on Saturday.
Headlining the testers was one of the out-of-staters, 5-11 1/2, 196 pound linebacker Ian Thomas, who traveled all the way to Miami from traditional powerhouse DeMatha Catholic out of Hyattsville, Maryland.
Thomas said he was below his normal performances in the 40 and 20, but more than made up for it in the weightroom, where he posted a 35.5 inch vertical jump, which should be amongst the top five jumps at the combine when all are tabulated, along with 25 reps of 185 on the bench press, which combined with his 40 and shuttle produced an unofficial combine-high 80.99 SPARQ Rating*.
Thomas' performance was no surprise, as he is coming off of a standout junior season this fall at DeMatha, recording 101 tackles and five sacks and earning all-league, all-area and honorable mention all-state honors.
Thomas was part of a five player DeMatha group that flew down Friday morning to participate in the combine, rare because DeMatha is a program that very seldomly has players participate in outside camps or combines.
"Our coach actually doesn't know we're here," said Thomas. "We just wanted to come down and compete with and against some of these Florida guys and see what the NIKE Combine is about."
The 2006 NIKE Combine tour continues tomorrow in Boca Raton on the campus of the Florida Atlantic Owls. Players who weren't able to complete their testing Saturday are welcome back Sunday and will be pushed straight through to the 40 and shuttle, they will need to bring their shirt from today's event however.
*Taking the standard measurements of the football combine, the SPARQ Rating
weighs and combines the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and bench
press into a single number that measures an athlete's overall athleticism. Thus,
football players can track the progress of their training, through occasional
tests, and compare SPARQ Ratings with teammates, training partners and
*Taking the standard measurements of the football combine, the SPARQ Rating weighs and combines the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and bench press into a single number that measures an athlete's overall athleticism. Thus, football players can track the progress of their training, through occasional tests, and compare SPARQ Ratings with teammates, training partners and competitors.
To learn more about the SPARQ Rating, go to sparqtraining.com.
Miami NIKE Combine Top 10 SPARQ Ratings
Note: Some players chose not to test or had
their times or marks scratched from the records, and approximately 250 athletes
could not complete the testing because of a large storm that moved through South
Florida in the afternoon. The 40s were timed
electronically with SPARQ Timing outdoors on grass at the Miami NIKE Combine.