High School Combines
by Kevin Monroe


If you are a football fan, by now you have been saturated with constant talk of the upcoming NFL draft.  Since the season ended in January, the college kids that are potential draft picks have been poked, prodded, tested and ogled.  The top players are under a microscope, and any bad workout or bad press could cause them to slip in the draft and cost them millions of dollars.  The NFL combine in Indianapolis is just one of the many testing opportunities for those who have dreams of playing in the NFL, but it’s also the most important one.  Several athletes have boosted or destroyed their careers based on their 40 yard dash times or bench press repetitions at the combine.

What you may not have known is that this type of testing doesn’t just start when athletes decide to go pro, these days high school athletes are participating in regional combines all over the county in an effort to earn notoriety in the hopes of getting a college scholarship.  Athletes in the Greenville area had to go to Raleigh or Charlotte in the past to participate in a worthy combine until a few years ago when Greene Central Head Football Coach Jim Bob Bryant decided to start one here locally called The Elite Eight Combine.  The Combine has grown over the past couple of years to become one of the premiere combines in the state.  High School football players from Durham, Clinton, Raleigh, Louisburg, and surrounding areas travel to Snow Hill to perform. 

This combine allows all the participants the opportunity to get their times and measurements down.  The information gathered is then made public on the internet and in certain recruiting publications.  The athletes are timed in the 40 yard dash, 5-10-5 shuttle run, vertical jump, and bench press repetitions.  They are split up into weight classes <155lbs, 155lbs – 169lbs, 170-179, 180-189, 190-199, 200-209, 210-225, and >225.  Point values are given to the top five finishers in each event per weight class.  10 points for first place, 8 points for second place, 6 points for third place, 4 points for fourth place, and 2 points for fifth place.  The combine is relatively inexpensive per player and they receive a combine T-shirt for their participation 

Some of the local players that excelled at the combine were Brandon Harris from Southwest Onslow who finished 3rd in the under 155 weight class, Justin Tyson from Greene Central finished 1st in the 155-169 weight class, Kendrick best from Eastern Wayne finished 2nd in the 170-179 weight class, James Pone from Wilson Hunt finished 1st in the 180-189 class, Cornelius Watkins from Swansboro finished 1st in the 200-209 class and JJ Thompson from Greene Central finished 3rd in the 210-224 class.  Based on some of the numbers put up at this combine (4.31 40 yard Dash and a 35.5 inch vertical jump, there should be several college football signees coming from Eastern NC over the next few years.  Thanks to coaches like Jim Bob who take time out to put on these combines, our area youngsters will have a better opportunity to play football at the next level.

Kevin Monroe