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February 24, 2008
Over 1,000 athletes from the Sunshine State and beyond battled the wet skies and competed at the Nike Combine in Orlando on Saturday. Despite heavy rain and soggy conditions, there were several stars on hand and outstanding performances, including a new SPARQ Rating-high for the '08 Nike Combine tour.
Rob Henry, an athletic (to say the least after Saturday) 6-1 1/2, 191 pound quarterback out of Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic put on the same type of show as he did last summer at Florida' Friday Night Lights Camp. The rising senior's day included unofficial combine-bests of 41.4 inches in the vertical jump and 3.94 in the shuttle. Those two marks put together with Henry's 4.62 40 and 36'9" power ball toss gave the Trinity Catholic standout a SPARQ Rating of 127.38, which surpasses the previous Nike Combine-high of 116 set by Max Martinez two weeks ago in Miami.
Henry, who assumed the starting role from current Florida redshirt freshman and 2006 Elite 11 QB John Brantley at Trinity Catholic last fall, managed to pass for 1,100 yards and 10 scores despite missing several games with a knee injury. He currently lists Illinois, Auburn and Louisville amongst his early favorites and is still looking for his first offer.
Right behind Henry in the race for the top SPARQ Rating was an impressive out-of-stater who certainly held his own against the Sunshine State's best. 6-0 1/2, 226 pound linebacker Jordan Barnes out of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead made his long trip worth it, posting a 125.88 SPARQ Rating. While it should be noted that Barnes' 4.50 40 time was ran on a stopwatch, as the final 200 participants were timed by hand after a long day of rain took out most of the electronice equipment, the big 'backer's day was still very impressive, with a 4.24 shuttle, a 38.1-inch vertical and 37-foot power ball toss included.
The third-place finisher in the SPARQ Rating was 6-1, 237 pound defensive end Demi Thompson out of Lake Mary (Fla.), who improved upon an already impressive showing at the Miami Nike Combine two weeks ago. Thompson raised his SPARQ Rating from 91 to 108.03 despite the wet conditions, as he clocked an impressive 4.35 shuttle and chucked the power ball over 41 feet.
Several of the state's top prospects, including top running backs Lonnie Pryor, Chris Thompson, Adarius Bellamy and Vincent Smith were on hand and the entire group of over 1,000 participants embodied Florida's passion for football and competing, waiting through steady showers and not showing any hesitation despite the conditions.
Some of the top unofficial early results for the four testing elements are as follows;
SSFootball.com will have much more coverage throughout the week of the Orlando Nike Combine, including official results, an all-combine team, plus video and photo features! See below for the unofficial top 10 SPARQ Ratings.
Note: The 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle at the Nike Combine in Orlando were timed on outdoors on grass in wet and soggy conditions. The 40-yard dash was timed digitally with SPARQ Timing, except when indicated by an asterix(*), as the final 200 participants were timed by stopwatch after electronic equipment went down due to heavy rains. Not all players chose to test or could complete all four tests due to weather and some had their marks scratched in individual events. The top 10 SPARQ Ratings should be considered unofficial until all results are verified later in the week. For more information on the SPARQ Rating 2.0, checkout SPARQTraining.com!