- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
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DAVIE, Fla. -- Under Armour officially kicked off its combine tour with a much anticipated stop in South Florida. Well over 200 prospects ascended on the Miami Dolphins practice facility to showcase their talents. The strongest talent resided at the perimeter positions, but there were some highlights amongst the big boys and linebackers.
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Two big men -- Patrick Miller (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. / Dwyer) and Jelani Hamilton (Pembroke, Fla. / St Thomas Aquinas) -- grabbed our attention at last year's event as rising juniors and returned to showcase their skills and display the improvements they made. Last year, Miller caught our attention with the upside he flashed but we felt offensive tackle seemed to present the highest ceiling for him and said that tackle could be his ultimate destination. He returned this year with noticeably more bulk on his good frame and is fully devoted to life as an offensive tackle. He needs to keep filling out, but has room to continue to add more good size. He posted a couple solid test scores though he didn't have proper footwear. During one-on-one's he showed flashes and drew attention with his physical and aggressive style. He can deliver a good punch and flashed the ability to quickly get set. While you like his tenacious nature, he can be overaggressive at times and it can lead to mistakes. There were a couple of instances where would get overextended and become off balance, giving rushers a window to work past. He needs to channel some of his aggressiveness into better technique and work to bend more at the knees and less at the waist.
The 6-foot-4, 247-pound Hamilton is a long limbed and physically good looking prospect with room to add more size. He showed flashes of being active with his hands and playing with power and being able to be disruptive as a pass rusher, but he does need to be sure to have a plan and protect himself. He said he had a little over half dozen offers, which included Texas Tech, a school he expressed interest in visiting. These two a had a few good battles and got the best of each other, though Miller drew some gasps when he was able to get into Hamilton on one rep and drove him across the drill and into the ground.
The head coach at Homestead High School, Bobby McCray, praised his linebacker James Burgess Jr. in a discussion before the start of the combine and he was someone we were interested to see. The son of the former Miami Hurricanes linebacker of the same name, showed he was worthy of the praise his coach gave him. With a few reported offers from programs like Miami, Pitt and N.C. State, the linebacker tested well overall posting a 4.64 40-yard dash, among his scores. Burgess admits he is not the biggest or fastest and predicted he would run a 4.6 and does need to add bulk. He says he tries to be student of the game and watches film with his father. He also credited his uncle, Willie Middlebrooks, who played in the NFL for helping him with his game and training.
In one-on-ones versus the running backs, he tried to take as many reps as he could. He showed good hips to open up and run with backs in man coverage and displayed an overall comfort in coverage. He was also physical when needed and played the ball well, intercepting two passes and knocking down several others while we were watching. An outside linebacker/strong safety 'tweener at this point, Burgess had a good outing and is someone we are interested to study more closely on film.
Defensive tackle Chris Brown (Fort Myers, Fla./ Dunbar) caught our eyes with his thick 6-2, 280-pound frame. He displayed a good burst, good power to knock blockers back and aside and was capable of being a real handful when he was active with his weapons. Brown said he had five offers at this point which included Illinois, Purdue, and UCF.
Defensive lineman Pedro Sibiea (Homestead, Fla./ Homestead) showed flashes and posted a good 40 time for a defensive lineman running a 4.87. While he needs to keep developing his frame and adding bulk, he looks to be best suited to play inside. He said he recently picked up an offer from Florida and was headed to Miami's junior day after the combine.
Dwayne Hoilett (Vero Beach, Fla.) also showed he's one to keep an eye on. The high-waisted, long limbed prospect needs to add serious bulk to his 6-2 frame, but he tested well with a 4.67 40, 7.05 three-cone drill, 4.5 short shuttle and 33-inch vertical.
Kameron Davis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / Boyd Anderson) flashed some upside and good size measuring in at 6-4 and over 280 pounds, though he could use more bulk and needs to work to restructure his current build. He displayed the ability to quickly get set and kick back, but needs to improve flexibility and use his hands better to punch and control rushers.
Sophomore Sandley Jean-Felix (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / Boyd Anderson) had his one-on-one reps limited due to a minor hand injury and he needs work in what we did see. However, at 6-4 and a little under 290 pounds he is a good looking prospect physically with a thick build and nice reach.
Interior offensive lineman Eduardo Garcia (Miami, Fla. / Columbus) had a solid showing, despite lacking ideal height and bulk. He was a feisty competitor who displayed a good punch and the ability to get low and keep a good base and anchor.
Tajavis Fuller (Fort Myers, Fla. / Dunbar) is a safety/outside linebacker 'tweener whose long limbs and lean frame looks more suited for safety, but his skill set may be a little better suited for outside linebacker. He did not test great, but was competitive working out with the linebackers, was physical with backs, used his reach well and looked to play faster than he tested. He said he had four offers, including UCF which was recruiting him strictly for safety.
A linebacker who we would have liked to have seen a little more in action, but showed flashes was Grady Redding Jr. (Cocoa Beach, Fla./Cocoa Beach). He tested well and what we did see made us look forward to studying him more closely on film.
Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.