MASSILLON, Ohio -- The 2011 Nike SPARQ Combine tour headed to the Midwest and played host to some of the top talent in the region. Although there weren't any Doran Grant-type performances this year, several of the top players in the state showed why they're already being recruited at the high FBS level.
A year ago, Grant, already recognized as one of the nation's top corner prospects, lit up the event with a 124.50 SPARQ Rating headlined by his 41-inch vertical jump. The numbers were a bit down this year and a sleeper prospect from Michigan finished with the top rating of the day.
Mark Cargle (Pontiac, Mich./Ace Alternative), a 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back, finished with the day's top SPARQ Rating at 111.33. Not much was known about Cargle prior to the combine and for good reason. He played in just two games a year ago before separating his shoulder and sitting out the remainder of the season. Cargle did rush for 400 yards in those first two games and his strong showing in Massillon, Ohio, will hopefully give him some momentum heading into the spring evaluation period.
As for headline talent, several top in-state prospects made it out, including ESPNU 150 Watch List prospects WR Dwayne Stanford II (Cincinnati/Taft), RB William Mahone (Austintown, Ohio/Austintown Finch) and WR Corey Smith (Akron, Ohio/Buchtel).
Stanford has offers from schools all over the country, including Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee. He isn't a burner, but the 6-3, 297-pounder has the size colleges covet and had a big junior season with 44 catches for 865 yards and nine touchdowns. He had a 4.39 shuttle and 32-inch vertical.
Mahone played both running back and linebacker a year ago and is getting looks on both sides of the ball. The 5-10, 206-pounder showed good strength with a 36-foot power ball toss and jumped 34 inches in the vertical.
Smith boasts early offers from North Carolina, Michigan State and Akron and had an all-state junior season, totaling 52 catches for 1,161 yards and 16 touchdowns. He impressed with a 4.32 shuttle and a jump of almost 36 inches in the vertical.
Top rising senior
Bri'onte Dunn, RB (Canton, Ohio/Glenoak)
After he scored a 114.72 SPARQ Rating a year ago, there was some thought that the Ohio State commit could at least approach the SPARQ record set a year ago by Ryan Henderson (134.79). Dunn admittedly hasn't been training much, but still showed why he's a ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect with a solid all-around performance and the third-best SPARQ Rating in the combine at 109.47.
Rising senior honorable mention
Ben McGowan, OL (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville)
In all the years of putting on the Nike combines, there has never been an offensive lineman who scored higher than a 100 SPARQ Rating. That changed on Saturday, as McGowan lit up the event with an impressive 100.53. Bowling Green is his lone offer thus far, but look for the talented lineman to see his stock soar through the roof after his standout showing.
Ifeadi Odenigbo, DL (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville)
The ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect posted a 109.02 SPARQ Rating and is among the most heavily recruited rush ends in the Midwest with offers from Boston College, Michigan, Northwestern, Indiana, Stanford, Syracuse and several others. He has a freakish combination of size and speed.
Cargle had the day's top SPARQ Rating and did everything well including posting a 4.67 40-yard dash, 4.22 shuttle run, 37-foot power ball throw and the third-best vertical jump at the combine at 38.8 inches. It's always nice when big-name players come out and show why they're so heavily recruited but there's nothing more rewarding than a player under the radar emerging as a legitimate prospect and putting his name on the map, and that's just what Cargle did.
Adolphus Washington, DL (Cincinnati/Robert Taft)
The big defensive lineman had an amazing 151 tackles and 19 sacks as a junior. The ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect has offers from Ohio State, Colorado, Florida State, Kentucky and Indiana. His 40-foot toss in the power ball was good enough for fifth best in the event.
Leviticus Payne, DB (Southfield, Mich./Southfield)
Payne is a two-way standout who had a great workout, running a 4.56 40 on a slow track, with a 4.25 shuttle, 36-foot power ball toss and a 32-inch vertical jump. His 97.92 SPARQ Rating was good enough for No. 13 overall at the event. Iowa and Toeldo have offered so far, and Indiana, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Michigan State and Michigan are showing heavy interest as well.
Top underclassman performer
Darrien Howard, LB/DL (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne)
A linebacker for his high school team, Howard already checks in at 6-0, 268 pounds. Despite his thick frame, the sophomore big man is very athletic, finishing Saturday with a 97.02 SPARQ Rating on the strength of a near combine-best 42.5-foot power ball throw and solid 4.63 shuttle. He averaged over 10 tackles per game as a sophomore to earn all-area and honorable mention all-state honors and already has one early offer from Cincinnati.
Underclassman honorable mention
Ross Douglas, RB/CB (Avon, Ohio/Avon)
Douglas, who first emerged at this event one year ago, improved his SPARQ Rating from 87.00 to 94.23 Saturday, with solid numbers in all four tests. A two-way starter last fall at Avon at both running back and cornerback, the 5-9, 176-pound sophomore has already visited Ohio State and Michigan State and is hearing from most of the Big Ten.
Luke Maclean, LB (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc)
The 6-3, 236-pounder had a productive sophomore year last fall and after his performance Saturday -- including a 40-foot power ball toss, 31.4-inch vertical jump and solid 4.50 shuttle on his way to a 93.87 SPARQ Rating -- he has the potential to be one of the most sought-after prospects from Michigan in the 2013 class.
Billy Price, OL/DL (Youngstown, Ohio/Austintown Fitch)
Price is already drawing interest from Ohio State and showed why on Saturday. The 6-3, 268-pound sophomore displayed rare athletic ability for a lineman (Price started at left tackle and played some defensive end last year), clocking a very impressive 5.01 40-yard dash and 4.62 shuttle time. He also threw the power ball 36.5 feet and finished with a SPARQ Rating of 79.44.
Wyatt Shallman, DL (Novi, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central)
A two-way contributor last fall as a sophomore, the 6-3, 242-pounder impressed with a remarkable 4.18 shuttle and also had a strong power ball toss of 37.5 feet on his way to a 95.07 SPARQ Rating. He could be someone Big Ten coaches become very familiar with over the next two years.
Corey Timmons, ATH (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield Catholic Central)
A second-team all-district performer last fall as a sophomore after topping 1,000 yards rushing, he put up some big numbers, including a 4.00 shuttle, on his way to a 94.62 SPARQ Rating.
Top five SPARQ Ratings
1. Mark Cargle, RB (Pontiac, Mich./Ace Alternative) -- 111.33
2. Zac Bartman, LB (Mansfield, Ohio/Ontario) -- 109.77
3. Bri'onte Dunn, RB (Canton, Ohio/Glen Oak) -- 109.47
4. Ronnie Beers, WR (Canal Fulton, Ohio/Northwest) -- 109.29
5. Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) -- 109.02
Top five 40-yard dash times
1. Tearon Jamieson, WR (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) -- 4.52
2. Shamar Greene Jr., RB (Duquesne, Pa./West Mifflin Area) -- 4.53
3. Antwan Persons, DB (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade Julienne Catholic) -- 4.55
4. Levicticus Payne, DB (Southfield, Mich./Southfield High) -- 4.56
5. Damon Anderson, DB (Carrollton, Ohio/Carrollton) -- 4.56
Top five 20-yard shuttles
1. Chad Neff, LB (Louisville, Ohio/Louisville) -- 3.94
2. Ronnie Beers, WR (Canal Fulton, Ohio/Northwest High) -- 3.94
3. Corey Timmons, WR (Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central) -- 4.00
4. Winslow Chapman, DB (Port Huron, Mich./Port Huron) -- 4.03
5. (tie) Mark Chapman, QB (Port Huron, Mich./Port Huron) -- 4.06
5. (tie) Jerry Braden Jr., LB (Norwalk, Ohio/Norwalk) -- 4.06
5. (tie) Alexander Hinton, DB (Urbancrest, Ohio/Central Crossing) -- 4.06
Top five kneeling power ball throws
1. Mason Schreck, QB (Medina, Ohio/Medina) -- 43 feet
2. Darrien Howard, LB (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade Julienne Catholic) -- 42.5 feet
3. (tie) Zac Bartman, LB (Mansfield, Ohio/Ontario) -- 42 feet
3. (tie) Ben McGowan, OL (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) -- 42 feet
5. (tie) Luke Maclean, LB (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) -- 40 feet
5. (tie) Adolphus Washington, DL (Cincinnati, Ohio/Robert A Taft) -- 40 feet
Top five vertical jumps
1. Anthony Melchiori, WR (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) -- 39.3 inches
2. Ronnie Beers, WR (Canal Fulton, Ohio/Northwest) -- 39.0 inches
3. Mark Cargle, RB (Pontiac, Mich./Ace Alternative) -- 38.8 inches
4. Charles Davis, RB (Indianapolis, Ind./Avon ) -- 38.3 inches
5. Je'Quillan Bowers, RB (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania) -- 37.9 inches