Commentary

Dante Fowler shines at UA combine

FSU commit lives up the hype, but wasn't the only standout on the field

Originally Published: January 2, 2011
By Craig Haubert, Tom Luginbill and Billy Tucker | ESPN Recruiting

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The 2011 Under Armour underclassman combine took over the practice fields on Sunday morning. It was an impressive group and here are some of the standouts.

Fowler lives up to the hype
Dante Fowler (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) lived up to his billing as one of the top defensive end prospects in Florida for 2012 with an impressive performance both during testing and one-on-ones. The tall and rangy athlete posted a 4.65 40-yard dash and displayed an impressive stride and straight-line speed. He also posted a 33-inch vertical and showed his lower-body explosiveness off the ball, which was used later during one-on-ones. Fowler was difficult to block due to his great quickness and reach to keep blockers off his body. The FSU commit projects to play D-end in its scheme, but could also play a stand-up position in a 3-4 defense.

Darby shows speed
Ronald Darby (Oxon Hill, Md./Potomac) ran some of the faster times of the day, including a blazing 4.31 40-yard dash, and had an outstanding vertical jump of 37 inches. The versatile running back/defensive back has great hips, change of direction and body control. He showed good burst out of his breaks and ideal top-end speed for a future corner. He also has deceptive body length, which is ideal for a defensive back. At this point, Darby may have better measurables than technique but looks to have the athleticism and tools to develop into an upper-tier 2012 prospect. He may get recruited as an athlete and currently has double digit offers, including Florida and Notre Dame.

Neal proves tough to cover
Durron Neal (St. Louis, Mo./DeSmet Jesuit) passed the eyeball test at a well-built 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. He also demonstrated good hands and showed a solid overall skill set. For a taller receiver, he was quick off the line and consistently got a clean release. We also liked the burst he showed out of breaks to help him separate and his ability to adjust to the difficult throw outside his body with his large catch radius. Neal has very good extension and a good blend of size and speed (4.62 40-yard dash).

Voytik stands out at quarterback
Chad Voytik (Cleveland, Tenn./Cleveland) made the treck from Tennessee and it was well worth it. The undersized signal caller, who checked in at under 6-feet, certainly lacks ideal height but the ball comes off his hand with zip and very good velocity in the short-to-intermediate range. He possesses a compact release, is accurate and showed good touch on a few throws leading receivers vertically. He currently only holds an offer from Mississippi State, but we see the strong-armed prospect moving up a lot of other college quarterback recruiting boards.

Kimbrow proves to be impossible matchup
Brian Kimbrow (Memphis, Tenn./East) is another undersized prospect who overcomes his lacks of height with outstanding speed and quickness. He tested well with a 4.44 40-yard dash but really shined during one-on-ones and seven-on-sevens where he was basically uncoverable from less-mobile linebackers. Watching him perform today, we feel he could easily be recruited as a slot receiver because he's a nightmare in space and has some polished route-running skills.

Notes from the combine
• Florida State safety commit P.J. Williams (Lake Wales, Fla./Vanguard) was out of position at times lining up at corner but it didn't matter. The rangy safety made up ground and closed as quick as anyone on the field.

• Defensive linemen Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati, Ohio/Taft), Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County), Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson), Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), Nick James (Long Beach, Miss.) all had impressive days in the trenches and tested well.

J.C. Coleman (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) tested well (4.48 40, 32-inch vertical) and also showed a good skill-set during one-on-ones and seven-on-sevens.

• Offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) was one of the standouts during one-on-ones. He has a great frame and room to add more bulk. We were impressed with his quick-set and strike ability in pass protection.

• Quarterback Casey Cochran (Monroe, Conn./Masuk), Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year, needs to tweak his throwing motion a bit and add a little more bend to his delivery but he threw a couple of good balls and showed solid arm strength.

Billy Tucker

Scouts, Football Recruiting
• Recruiting coordinator for ESPN RecruitingNation.
• Nearly a decade of college coaching experience.
• Was recruiting coordinator at nationally-ranked Division II colleges.