2006-04-26 / Sports

Football combine May 4 at Meadowbrook SPARQed

By Richard Carrier


So, you want to play football, kid? Serious football, after high school? If so, then you'll be at Meadowbrook High School on May 4.

That's when the fifth annual Lou Anderson Central Virginia Combine will be held. There will be others like you who want to play football there as well from all over this part of the state. Also attending will be coaches from colleges with serious football programs who want to see what you've got.

Over fifty regional colleges and universities have been invited, says this year's director of the combine, Troy V. Taylor.

More than two hundred local rising junior and senior football players are expected to take this opportunity to work out for the attending college coaches. All football players from the area's public and private high school graduating class years from now up to 2009 are welcome to attend and come show what they can do.

Those taking the tests will be rated not just against the others on the field, but against the entire nation. "This is the first year the SPARQ ratings have been used at the combine," explains Taylor.

Ratings derived from their individual SPARQ tests will also be forwarded to over one hundred and twenty college and university athletic departments, according to Joe Miller of the National Football Foundation, a sponsor of the event, along with Virginia Preps.

A SPARQ rating is obtained by monitoring an athlete's performance in eight different drills. Various lifts, sprints, obstacle courses and jumps are designed to reveal the athlete's strength, speed, agility and overall athleticism.

SPARQ Master Trainer Chip West, said to be one of only three Master Trainers in the United States, will be attending the May 4 event. West has trained Brian Urlacher, Mike Williams, D'Angelo Hall and Marcus Vick for the NFLCombine and has had scores of athletes drafted into the NFL, according promotional material from Virginia Preps.

The combine "is a good opportunity to physically see the kids," says University of Richmond Assistant Football Coach Latrell Scott, who will attend, although he admits that combines and SPARQ results are his "second form of evaluation."

Scott puts his primary emphasis on game films, "looking for a real football player." Drills and sprints tell a lot about the physical abilities of an athlete, but they do not necessarily translate into football skills, he explains.

Norfolk State University will also attend the combine. Norfolk State views the Richmond area as a prime source of recruits for its football program, says their sports information director, Matt Michalec, who points to two top-notch Richmond area signees that will be playing for the Spartans next year: L.C. Byrd offensive lineman Brian Harman and Highland Springs wide out/defensive back Darryl Dickerson.

Coach Lou Anderson, for whom the combine is named, will also be an active participant at the event. Anderson, known as a strong disciplinarian, coached football at John Marshall High School for ten years. He became a legend in his fourteen years as Head Football Coach at Virginia State University.

According to Coach Scott, Anderson was a legend even before he went to Virginia State. "If you were a young black kid in Richmond, you knew who Coach Anderson was," Scott says.

Combine basics: When: Thursday, May 4 Where: Meadowbrook High School Time: 2:30-7p.m. Cost: $10 Purpose: Allows high school seniors and rising-juniors to workout for college football coaches. Results sent to over 120 colleges. Younger kids welcomed. What to bring: Players need to bring cleats, track shoes, and gym shoes. Extra money for concession stand. Contact: Troy Taylor at 804-743-3675 ext. 364 or email at troy_taylor@ccpsnet. net SPARQ testing: Includes 185-lb bench rep, 20-yd shuttle, 40-yd/10-yd dash, standing broad jump, L-drill (Cones), vertical jump, 5 kg. Power Ball overthe back throw.

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