Combine: Pittsburgh Offensive Recap
Brendon Felder
Brendon Felder
Regional Recruiting Manager
Posted Mar 17, 2009
Bob Lichtenfels

PITTSBURGH, PA –The combines kicked off in the Northeast at the UPMC Indoor Sports Complex on Sunday. The combine featured a number of star players who were expected to shine and a number of prospects who put their names on the map.


All eyes were on Penn State commit Paul Jones (McKees Rocks/Pa./Sto-Rox) and the talented senior did not disappoint. Jones has grown into his body and is already looking like he spent a couple years in a college weight room. Jones impressed with his arm strength. He has one of the strongest arms we have seen come out of Pennsylvania in a number of years. Not only does he throw with velocity, he throws a nice tight spiral. Jones took a ton of reps and was still throwing darts at the end of the camp.

Robert Partridge (Massillon/Ohio/Washington) was a relatively unknown commodity heading into this event and he left as a prospect on the radar. Partridge threw a great ball and got better as the day progressed. He will definitely be a player to watch this season. Rob Kalkstein (Monroeville/Pa./Gateway) is always one of the best quarterbacks at every event, problem is he is shorter than most people like as a major college quarterback prospect, but he is as technically sound as they come. Greg McGhee (Pittsburgh/Pa./Perry) is a long, lean, left-handed prospect who came out of nowhere. He is a raw prospect, but showed with some coaching that he can play.

Running Back:

(New Wilmington/Pa./Wilmington) Derrick Burns a Pittsburgh commitment had the chance to step on the field at his future home and he didn’t disappoint. Burns is not as quick and elusive as his older brother Chris Burns, but he is bigger and may be more explosive. Brionte Dunn (Alliance/Ohio) is a class of 2012 prospect who we mentioned in the combine preview that we mentioned and he didn’t let us down. He is raw and really just learning the game, but you can see he will be a star someday. Phillip Dudley (Indianapolis/Pa./Ben Davis) had an outstanding showing. Dudley, a former Gateway Gator excelled at running back and wide receiver. Dudley showed outstanding top end speed and elusiveness in the open field. Clairton running back Deontae Howard once again proved that he is the fastest back in Western Pennsylvania. Last year, as a sophomore Howard ran the fastest forty-yard dash time overall (4.50). This year, Howard hit the (4.51) which was the fastest among the backs. Caleb Laps (Massillon/Ohio/Perry) and sophomore Luke Schaffer (South Side Beaver/Pa.) did very well for themselves during the testing and positional specific drills.

Wide Receiver

(Canton/Ohio/South) wide receiver Jerald Robinson came to the combine with nothing to prove as he had already pledged to Michigan. Robinson showed that the early hype that he received was well earned as he had a dominating performance in the one-on-ones. Andrew Carswell (McKees Rocks/Pa./Sto-Rox) proved that he really is a big wide receiver and not a future tight end. (Pittsburgh/Pa./Penn Hills) Sophomore Darius Patton made several nice catches on crossing routes. Gateway wide receiver Brendon Felder is growing on me more each time I see him perform. Felder put up some impressive numbers during testing. He ran (4.50) forty-yard dash, (4.20) in the shuttle, and (7.19) in the L-Cone. He then jumped (9’-8”) in the broad jump and (35”) in the vertical.

Clairton wide receiver Kevin Weatherspoon opened eyes when he ran (4.4) forty-yard dash. He also ran outstanding routes and won the majority of his one-on-one battles. Bo Grunder (Massillon/Ohio/Washington) also had a solid day of testing. He is a prospect who caught our eye at the Herbstreit Challenge last season. LaQuinn Stephens-Howling (Johnstown/Pa.) had an impressive performance in one-on-ones. He was giving defenders fits with his quickness and solid route running. Serra Catholic wide receiver Randall Coleman had several nice catches as well. He looks to have really improved and thickened up his body since last season.

Offensive Line

With linemen you always have kids who look good and test well and another group that catches your eye in the one-on-ones, regardless of how they tested. When it came to looks there was nobody as impressive as Penn-Trafford’s Luke Graham. He measured in at 6-foot-5 and weighed 245-pounds with a 75-inch wingspan. Graham had the fastest 10-yard split in the forty-yard dash at (1.70) and an overall time of (4.89) which was also the fastest of all the linemen. Graham wasn’t as impressive as some of the other players in the one-on-ones, but physically he has a lot of upside. It is not often that you can say that a high school lineman is a specimen, but Graham is just that.

North Allegheny prospect Tom Ricketts may have helped himself as much as anyone with a very strong showing in all facets of the combine. Ricketts checked in at 6-foot-6 and weighed 250-pounds with a 78.5 inch wingspan. He had a (1.84) 10-yard split and a (5.29) in the forty-yard dash. He also impressed with a (9’-1”) broad jump. The Pitt legacy was very impressive during the one-on-ones as he was the only lineman who came close to stuffing Ohio State bound Jamel Turner. Ricketts was a tight end who is just now growing into a big time offensive line prospect and the sky is the limit. It’s safe to say that he will have a few more offers besides the Maryland and Stanford ones that he currently holds.

(Massillon/Ohio/Washington) guard Jeffrey Myers was probably the most impressive linemen that we saw in one-on-ones. He battled everyone and only lost to Turner and Penn Hills standout Aaron Donald. Myers like Ricketts didn’t have a ton of offers heading into the event. The only known offer he had was Toledo and that should change very soon. Myers checked in a 6-foot-3 and 293-pounds. He had a (1.86) 10-yard split and a (5.27) in the forty-yard dash.

Fox Chapel’s Miles Dieffenbach was a warrior who probably slept like a baby when he got home from the combine. He took more reps than anyone in the one-on-ones and after losing a few early battles with Aaron Donald he regrouped and dominated the interior defensive linemen. Dieffenbach was bleeding from both nostrils and his mouth, but it never stopped him as he earned everyone’s respect. He measured in at 6-foot-4 and weighed 277-pounds.

(Johnstown/Pa./Bishop McCort) guard Shane Rugg came to this event last year as a baby faced sophomore not knowing what to expect. He is now looking like a full grown man who weighed in at 6-foot-2 and 253-pounds and showed outstanding footwork during the positional drills. He also ran a (1.91) 10-yard split in the forty-yard dash. Erie McDowell’s Dusty Galich came in a little undersized at 6-foot-2 and 242-pounds, but he was a warrior in the one-on-ones. He took on all comers and defeated most of them. He also ran an impressive (1.71) 10-yard split as well.

(Avon Lake/Ohio) guard Christian Pace is known as a devastating run blocker and he struggled early on in pass protection, but he came around towards the end of the one-on-ones as he became more comfortable with it. He measured in at 6-foot-2 and 256-pounds. He had a (1.91) 10-yard split and a (5.28) in the forty-yard dash. He showed his explosiveness with a (9’-3”) broad jump.

Related Stories
Graham Has Tremendous Upside
 -by  Mar 30, 2009
Pitt Legacy Ricketts Gets Offer
 -by  Apr 1, 2009
Lions Land an Offensive Lineman
 -by  May 4, 2009

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