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December 16, 2007
Over 300 athletes from Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Florida packed the Superdome Saturday morning for the New Orleans Nike Football SPARQ Challenge. The testing event, held prior to Saturday night's Lake Ponchartlain All-Star Classic, gave an opportunity to athletes in the region to show their stuff and several talented prospects took a big advantage of the opportunity.
Diminutive but powerful running back/cornerback Kenneth Jones out of Kenner Grace King easily posted the day's top SPARQ Rating at 89.40. Jones a 5-5, 144 pound junior who topped 800 yards and 10 TDs this fall, clocked a 4.71 40, a 4.40 shuttle, benched 29 reps and had a 34.4-inch vertical jump to achieve the standout rating.
While Jones took home the day's top rating, he wasn't the only who impressed with his physical abilities. 6-5, 293 pound junior offensive tackle Chris Faulk out of Slidell (La.) Northshore was one such player. Faulk, who can be considered a strong LSU lean at this point, posted several impressive marks, including a 5.24 SPARQ-timed 40, a 27.2-inch vertical, 21 reps on the bench and a 41-foot, six-inch powerball throw, one of the day's five-best. Look for Faulk to be one of Louisiana's top recruits in the Class of 2009.
Faulk was just one of several impressive linemen to show well in the 'Dome. 6-1, 300 pound junior guard Patrick Lewis out of East St. John, who veteran ESJ coach Larry Dauterive calls "the best lineman he's ever coached," benched 25 reps of 185 and had a 42'5" powerball throw. Also keep an eye on Baton Rouge Glen Oaks defensive lineman Deon Simon. The junior has a great frame at 6-4, 267 pounds, and tested very well, with a 5.19 40, a 25.3-inch vertical jump and an unofficial event-best 32 reps on the bench.
Junior linebacker Lamin Barrow out of Marrero John Ehret had a great season this fall and showed on Saturday he has the athletic ability to be a big-time recruit. The 6-0 1/2, 207 pound 'backer posted a 71.94 SPARQ Rating on the strength of a 33-inch vertical jump and a 4.40 shuttle. Faulk's teammate from Northshore, 6-0, 194 pound junior Chris Wade, was another outstanding looking LB prospect, posting the day's fifth-best SPARQ Rating (77.25) with a 4.68 40 and a 34.7-inch vertical jump.
Junior cornerback Danzell Lockett of Hahnville posted the day's unofficial top 40 time at 4.52, and the 5-10, 160 pounder also clocked a quick 4.33 shuttle. Lockett is the younger brother of Ole Miss' Kentrell Lockett and lists the Rebels along with Mississippi State as two of his early favorites.
Taking place in early December, the event was also a great opportunity for some under-recruited senior to come out and show what they can do for recruiters one last time and players like Devin Figaro and Evan Mistich took full advantage. Figaro, a lanky but explosive 6-2, 176 pound receiver from Lafayette, had the day's top vertical jump at 38.6 inches and impressed with a 4.69 40 on his way to the day's second-best SPARQ Rating. Mistich, a 5-10 1/2, 178 pound athlete from Vanderbilt Catholic who already holds offers from Air Force and Nicholls State, benched 28 reps and had a 31.6-inch vertical jump on his way to a 79.31 SPARQ Rating, good for fourth on the day.
StudentSportsFootball.com will have much more including video, player features and official results from Saturday's event so make sure to log on and stay on!
Note: The 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle at the Nike Football SPARQ Challenge in New Orleans were timed indoors on a Fieldturf. Not all players chose to test and some had their marks scratched in individual events. The top SPARQ Ratings should be considered unofficial until all the data is entered later this week.