Numerous Orlando football players made their way to Jacksonville this past weekend to take part in the Under Armour Combine and the reports back had impressive results.
The player who drew the most praise of those in attendance was Lake Nona QB Kevin Sousa, but as a whole, those present, like Ocoee assistant coach Raul Gomez, said the Orlando area represented itself quite well.
"Local kids, Orlando kids, they were the top players there, no doubt," Gomez said. "They actually split up the top 20 kids and we had 10 of them from Orlando.
Others making an impression other than Sousa were players like LB Serderius Bryant of Sanford Seminole, Apopka RB Tom Smith and teammate DB Spencer Waseem and Ocoee ATH Trenier Orr, all Class of 2011.
There were also a pair of younger players there who made impressions, but probably none more than 2013 prospect Marcel Harris of West Orange. He was even called a "man among boys," by one coach. Also stepping up with the big boys was eighth-grader QB Alex Gomez, who played with CFCA last season for a brief period.
Times at the camp brought players back to reality with the use of laser timers, which adds about two-tenths of a second on each player's usual expectations. That however, did not deter from the camp atmosphere.
"The guys had a great time up there and that's what I saw, that they got to socialize with all the other players and that's great," said Waseem's father A.G. Waseem. "Orlando was well represented and were probably the best players there."
Gomez was anxious to see how Orr would do at his first combine experience.
"Trenier hasn't really been recruited. He played safety for us last year and his highlight tape is pretty good," Gomez said. "We had him play corner at this combine, his first combine, just to see how he stacked up. He did very well. The DB coach there loved him and stopped him at the end and pulled him aside and talked to him. He wants him to go to the Miami combine where Deion Sanders will be coaching."
Orr will also play quarterback for Ocoee next season as they plan to put the team on his athletic shoulders. He played a position similar to a rover linebacker from a safety spot last year, what Gomez called a spur.
"You should see his tape. If he's not catching passes, he's sacking people. He has moves like a defensive linemen. Had seven sacks last year. It's pretty wild to see this kid at 5-10, 170 sacking people like that. We're excited about him because he's worked really hard the past two years to get where he is."
Gomez also said that Ocoee is excited about another 2011 player who did not make the Jacksonville trip. WR/DB Robinson Roche is Ocoee's best athlete and Gomez expects big things from the 6-foot, 175-pounder who can bench 265.
As for Sousa, ranked No. 15 player on the Sentinel's Central Florida Super60 for 20011, even Waseem said he was impressive all the way around. He did 20 reps on the bench press, almost unheard of for a quarterback, and his 4.8 laser time in the 40-yard dash was equally impressive considering Sousa's size -- 6-4, 220 -- and the fact that he had stretched his hamstring a bit during the run.
"Big Sousa, man .. I tell ya. He looked like a big stud out there," Waseem said.
Waseem's son had 14 reps on the bench, while teammate Smith lofting an impressive 19 reps.
Winter Springs also was well represented at the combine, with 10 players participating. Trey Etheridge, father of Bears' QB Garrett Etheridge was one of the parents chauffering the players to Jacksonville, and he said several looked good.
"Offensive tackle Matt Davis did a great job in the 1-on-1s," Etheridge said of the 6-3, 230-pound Davis, "and so did the twins, Aric and Anthony Sanchez. One plays defensive line and the other offensive line."
Anthony is the smaller of the two and the d-tackle at 6-foot-1, 255 pounds, while Aric plays offensive line and stands in at 6-foot-2, 290.
FB Joe Bonura (6-1, 205) also tested well, throwing up 19-20 reps inthe bench press and also performed well on the jumping drills. DB Dillon Kelly had a "decent day," said Etheridge, although Kelly, coming off shoulder surgery, is still unable to test in the strength drills.
Then the younger Etheridge, who will start at QB for Winter Springs this year as a senior, was "accurate in the 1-on-1s and the 7-on-7s." And TE Kyle Darlin took advantage of a great opportunity for exposure since there were only about eight tight ends on hand, and he "caught so many balls it was crazy," Etheridge said.
"We have so many seniors coming back and all the kids have kind of banded together this year," Etheridge said of the Winter Springs squad, which had to deal with the death of Coach Jeff Wenstrom just a few days prior to the first game of the 2009 season. He had battled esophageal cancer for a little more than a year. "We have 26 seniors returning and 16 starters and theyve kinda taken it upon themselves to compete and get better.
"Coming back strong will be a really great way for them to finish up. They went through a lot last year with all the deaths and adversity and all of that and they've set goals this year to hopefully finish out on a high note."
Other Winter Springs players in attendance this weekend were DE Trevor Bone (6-4, 250, Class of 2012), LB Cole Morgan (6-2, 196, 2011) and C Brandon Aukamp (6-1, 210, 2011).
Lake Brantley DL Joey Grant, No. 44 on the Super60, was also in attendance, as was Daytona Beach Mainland OL Garrett Clark, ranked 26th on the Super60.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times