Countess shines at UA Combine
The 2011 CB one of many players to shine during Under Armour Combine
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If his performance during Friday's National Under Armour All-American Combine is any indication, cornerback Blake Countess (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) could very well emerge as one of the top prospects at his position on the East Coast during the 2011 recruiting cycle.
Countess was outstanding in all phases of the combine, which included testing, position drills and 7-on-7 work for the skill position prospects at the event.
He ran one of the fastest 40-yard dash times at the event (4.54 seconds), ran blistering times in the short shuttle (3.94 seconds) and L-cone (6.5), had a 36.5-inch vertical leap and bench pressed 185 pounds 10 times.
Countess also was very smooth during position drills and was good in coverage during 7-on-7 work. He caught the eye of multiple coaches and scouts who were at the event.
"My father told me this morning, 'BTB,' which is be the best," Countess said. "That's what he's been telling me since I was little. That's all I really wanted to do today and I think I did a pretty good job."
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Countess had more than 20 pass breakups and 50 tackles this past season in leading his team to a league championship this past season.
"It was a pretty good season," he said. "Not as good as I would have liked, but it was a pretty good season."
At the moment, Maryland and Wisconsin are the two schools that have offered Countess a scholarship. The Terps were the first program to offer and Countess says that they will "definitely" be a big factor in his recruitment. He is in the process of sending out his junior film to colleges and expects interest in his services to pick up significantly once the tape starts circulating.
Highlights from the UA Combine
Top Florida back shines
Running back Mike Bellamy (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte) is considered by many to be one of the top backs in Florida for the 2011 class. He rushed for more than 2,000 yards last season and has a slew of early scholarship offers.
This type of setting isn't the easiest for a running back to shine, but Bellamy was impressive during the event. The 5-10, 176-pounder had one of the top times in the 40-yard dash (4.5 seconds) and had a 4.41 short shuttle.
In position drills, it was easy to see his elusiveness and why he is a difficult matchup for defenses when the pads come on.
"I am just blessed to get the opportunity to be out here," he said.
Like Countess, defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds (Washington, D.C./St. John's College) is a 2011 prospect from the Mid-Atlantic whose stock should continue to rise in the coming weeks.
The 6-3, 276-pound McReynolds ran an impressive 4.77 40-yard dash, a 4.69 short shuttle, a 7.95 L-cone and a 27-inch vertical. He also bench pressed 185 pounds 26 times, one of the higher marks at the combine.
In one-on-ones, McReynolds got the best of several of the offensive linemen at the event with his quickness off the ball. He also was a standout in position drills.
"I definitely felt good," he said. "I came down here just thinking I could compete and I did much better than I expected."
On the recruiting front, McReynolds is expecting an offer from Oregon in the coming days. North Carolina, Maryland and others have previously offered and Penn State is showing heavy attention.
Fulse on the rise
Tight end Brandon Fulse (Fort Meade, Fla./Fort Meade) had an excellent day. The 6-4, 246-pounder had multiple good catches during the 7-on-7 portion of the event and tested extremely, running a 4.84 40-yard dash, a 4.38 short shuttle and a 7.28 L-cone. He also benched 185 pounds 15 times.
It's not a surprise that he also claimed scholarship offers from Florida and Georgia, among others.
"I did excellent today," he said. "I had some good catches and did well in all of the testing.
Harvill has a strong day
The majority of talk coming out of combines centers around the fastest 40-yard dash times and shuttle times, but that was not the case on Friday. Junior defensive lineman Samuel Harvill (Springdale, Ark./Shiloh Christian) turned in a record performance on the bench press throwing up 59 repetitions of 185-pounds.
"I expected to set the record," said Harvill, whose personal best is 64 reps with 185 pounds. "I've worked hard a long time in the weight room and this isn't my first combine record. I've got all of Schuman's combine records in the bench and the Army All-American record at 55 reps. Today, my goal was to get 60 and I think I got 60."
The powerful and quick defensive tackle also impressed in agility drills recording a 4.6 in the short shuttle, 7.73 in the 3-cone drill and a 29.5-inch vertical.
College programs have had the 6-foot-1, 245-pounder on the radar for some time. He has offers from the Big 12, Mountain West and C-USA with interest from all over the SEC region.
"Kansas State, UNLV and SMU have offered me. I'm also being recruited by Arkansas, Oklahoma State, LSU and Auburn." Harvill said.
Corner Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast) was a top performer in the class of 2012 on Friday. The 5-9, 180-pound, solidly-built prospect stood out by running a 4.51 40 in poor conditions. He followed with times of 4.37 in the short shuttle and 7.08 in the 3-cone drill to go with a 29.5-vertical.
"I enjoyed myself today going against some of the best from around the country," Poole said. "I'm proud of myself and I surprised myself. Now I know what I need to work on. It was a great experience. I think I showed well,"
In-state power Florida will be tough to beat should they offer.
"Well, I like the Florida Gators. That is my team or whatever you want to say," he said. "I'm not saying that's the only school I'll go to, but they are my favorite."
• Phillip Dorsett (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) was one of several receivers to turn in an impressive performance. He checked in at 5-1¾ and 161 pounds. He posted a 35-inch vertical, ran a 4.25-short shuttle and broad jumped 9'7½ inches.
Dorsett has an offer from Ohio State.
• Junior offensive tackle and tight end Zach DeBell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./Tarpon Springs) showed of the agility and speed on his 6-5¾, 251-pound frame that has earned him an offer from Minnesota. DeBell ran the 40 with an impressive time of 4.98. He added a 4.56 20-yard shuttle and 16 repetitions of 185 pounds on the bench press.
• Houston area defensive tackle Desmond Jackson (Spring, Texas/Westfield) was one of the top jumbo athletes on hand Friday. He showed fluidity and quickness on a 6-foot-¾, 273-pound long armed frame. The ESPNU 150 Watch List member bench pressed 185 pounds 27 times, jumped 30-inches, ran a 5.13 40 and a 4.97 20-yard shuttle.
The Alabama native is one of the most heavily recruited juniors in Texas with offers from Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M, Baylor, Stanford and Houston with Texas expected to follow suite in February. Alabama is also showing serious interest. Texas and Alabama lead for the quick, aggressive tackle.
• Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills) made the trip down and had the top vertical leap at the combine with a mark of 41.5 inches and a great short shuttle of 4.28. Daniels has multiple scholarship offers, including Illinois, Iowa, Miami, Nebraska and Wisconsin. You can bet that many more will start to roll in in the near future for the 6-2, 180-pounder.
• Clemson commit DeShawn Williams (Central, S.C./Daniel) has gotten into better shape since we last saw him at a combine in Charlotte, N.C., last March. During testing, the 6-foot, 294-pounder showed off his strength with 23 reps of 185 pounds and ran an outstanding 4.69 short shuttle. Where Williams really shined, however, was during the one-on-ones where he was a handful for the offensive linemen there, using a variety of rushing techniques.
• Tight end Michael Caldwell (Crestview, Fla./Crestview) showed the ability to run good routes and good hands during the 7-on-7 portion of the event. The 6-3, 263-pounder also had some excellent testing numbers, including a 4.41 short shuttle and a broad jump of 8 feet, 1 inch. Florida International and South Alabama have offered Caldwell, but he said Troy, Clemson and Kansas State, among others, are showing attention.
Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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