Huff puts up eye-popping numbers
EIGHT MILE, Ala. -- It's going to be a while before running back Jordan Huff (Mobile, Ala./St. Pauls) signs a letter of intent with a college. But you may as well go ahead and put the Class of 2013 prospect on your names to remember list for the state of Alabama.
Huff showed why he was able to roll up more than 1,400 rushing yards last season during Saturday's National Underclassmen Combine at Mattie Blount High near Mobile. He quite possibly was the top overall prospect at the event and put on a dominant performance.
"I just tried to come out here and do my best and show what I can do," Huff said. "I am just looking to get better for next year. I just want to become better than I was this season. That's pretty much it."
The 5-foot-10, 177-pounder ran one of the fastest 40-yard dash times at 4.53 seconds and could not be covered during one-on-one matchups against the linebackers at the event. He displayed quick feet and good hands during all of the drills.
This summer, Huff intends to camp at several college programs.
"I am thinking about camping at Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida and probably Georgia," Huff said.
Huff was named the ninth grade running back MVP of the event.
Another tight end emergingLast week at the VTO Sports Combine in Charlotte, tight end Eric MacLain (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) had dropped around 30 pounds and put on a show during drills. This week, Michael Caldwell (Crestview, Fla./Crestview) measured two inches taller (6-5) and nine pounds lighter (239) than he did at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on New Year's Day.
"I've been working my tail off," he said.
Caldwell, who holds an offer from Florida International and is getting interest from a number of other programs like Mississippi State, ran a 4.54 shuttle and a 4.73 40. He also bench pressed 185 pounds 31 times and was named the receiver/tight end MVP for the event. He looked good in position drills and one-on-ones, catching nearly everything that was thrown his way.
Expect Caldwell's stock to rise during the forthcoming spring evaluation period. He's another emerging tight end prospect in one of the best recruiting cycles in recent memory for that position.
Georgia back shinesRunning back Zarold Wilder (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) took home overall MVP honors for Class of 2011 prospects. The 5-7, 175-pounder was unstoppable during one-on-one drills and put up good testing numbers, including a 4.17 shuttle.
"I came out here and did well against good competition," he said.
Wilder had 900 total yards last season and is getting interest from Kentucky and Virginia. He plans to camp at both schools this summer.
He could factor into the return game or play slot receiver in college if running back does not work out.
Wilder will approach next season with a heavy heart. His teammate and backfield mate, Vanderbilt signee Rajaan Bennett, was killed in mid-February in an apparent murder-suicide.
"Right now, we are just getting through it," Wilder said. "We have him in our heart and are going to play hard for him."
Samuels has potential
The nephew of former Alabama and NFL offensive tackle Chris Samuels, Kyron Samuels (Fairhope, Ala./Fairhope) is a line prospect to watch in the 2012 class. He took home overall MVP honors for the underclassmen and was impressive during drills and testing.
"I feel like I had a good day today," Samuels said. "I came out here and worked hard and there was some good talent. I feel like everybody worked hard as a group."
The 6-2, 281-pounder played most of last season on offense for his high school team, but he may get a look at defensive tackle next season and possibly in college. If not, he's an excellent guard/center prospect with tremendous strength (he said his last bench press max was at 405 pounds) and athleticism (he had a 4.91 shuttle at the combine).
• Class of 2012 defensive back Kelton Brackett (Eight Mile, Ala./Blount) had a good day in coverage during one-on-ones, with at least two outstanding interceptions. The 5-11, 175-pounder is definitely one to watch in the future. His teammate and fellow 2012 prospect, offensive tackle Travis Lockhart, was among the better offensive linemen at the event. The coaches felt he displayed great footwork and fundamentals. The 6-4, 305-pounder also is one to watch.
• Linebacker/defensive end Devaunte Sigler (Mobile, Ala./B.C. Rain) was at the event, but did not work out. The 6-4, 250-pounder took the ACT on Saturday and came to the combine to observe following the test. Sigler claims an Ole Miss offer and says that Alabama is recruiting him for its "Jack" linebacker position. He's also getting looks from Auburn and a number of other schools. Sigler had 80 tackles last season.
• Linebacker Antonio Marsh (Eight Mile, Ala./Blount) tweaked his knee and could not participate in the entire combine, but he stayed for the entire event and encouraged his teammates that were there. The 6-2, 200-pounder did say that he is getting looks from South Alabama, South Carolina and Grambling. Marsh, who has a terrific attitude, played some defensive end last season, but projects as a linebacker in college.
• Class of 2011 receiver Darien Thomas (Theodore, Ala./Theodore) was at the event observing and said Marshall has offered him and Louisville is close. He plans to take unofficial visits to Auburn and Alabama in the near future.
• Class of 2011 quarterback Dennis Robertson (Gulfport, Miss.) had his moments. The 6-4, 205-pounder has good size and a good arm. He has yet to make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse academically, but says that Southern Mississippi and other programs have been sending him letters and showing interest.
• Safety Sherman Darrington (Eight Mile, Ala./Blount) is a Class of 2011 prospect to watch. He had a good day testing (a 4.62 40-yard dash) and showed good instincts during position work and one-on-ones.
• Ledarrius Sigler (Eight Mile, Ala./Blount) had the fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine (4.52 seconds). The 5-foot-9, 150-pound defensive back is getting some attention from Southern Mississippi.
J.C. Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.