Posted by Bryan Fischer
MIAMI - The sun was shining, a light breeze was blowing and quite a few records fell at the Nike Sparq Combine at Miami North Stadium Saturday afternoon. Around 500 high school football players from around the state of Florida came to get tested in four events (a 40 yard dash, agility shuttle run, power ball toss and vertical jump), which were turned into their Sparq rating. Generally, anything over 90 is considered an upper echelon test score.
Much of the high-end talent in the state was not in attendance due to Florida State and Florida Junior Days being held on Saturday afternoon. Although there were not as many big names in attendance, a few players did get their names on everyone's radar after putting up some impressive numbers.
Faton Bauta - They say timing is everything and Bauta’s was impeccable this week - on and off the field. He attended the Nike Combine in Philadelphia last week but, having recently moved to nearby Palm Beach from New York, he was able to stop by for a second go around at the Sparq test. He posted one of the top Sparq scores in Miami with a 101.85 and, although he played quarterback last year, looks more like a linebacker. His 4.15 shuttle time was particularly impressive at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. Bauta recently enrolled at South Florida powerhouse Palm Beach Dwyer High School and already has several programs evaluating him, likely as an athlete.
Adrian Burton - Despite a slow (for a top corner) 40 time of 4.67, Burton still was impressive in other events to record a 98.46 Sparq rating. He said he ran a 4.55 last year at a combine and that’s the time most college coaches like. Burton has good size and could also play safety if needed. He went to Miami’s recent Junior Day and is close to receiving an offer from the Hurricanes.
Kilto Meme - A running back from a small school, Premier Academy in Pompano Beach (Fla.), Meme posted an impressive Sparq rating of 94.14. At 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds, Meme looked certainly looked the part and his 4.55 40 yard dash should have a few coaches interested in seeing his film. The Nike combine was the first of a few camps Meme plans on attending and depending on his senior season, could be an name to look out for on the recruiting trail.
Cameron Smith - A tight end/defensive end at the high school level, Smith projects as an outside linebacker in college based on his size. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Smith needs to add some muscle but he has a very good frame to do so. Not really a big name coming into the camp, his Sparq score of 94.5 should garner some more interest from schools. Boston College, Ole Miss , Iowa State, USF, Miami, Vandy and Duke are some of the schools who have shown interest but Smith does not have any offers. He ran a 4.61 in the 40 yard dash and had a very good vertical of 33 inches.
Justin Horton - After turning in his card listing his times, Horton quickly got most of the Nike staff excited. It was easy to see why when they announced his Sparq score, a 115.95, which was the best score in the nation this year at the Nike combines. The 6-foot-2, 207 pound Horton ran a 4.58 in the 40 yard dash, a 4.47 in the shuttle and had a 37 inch vertical jump to go along with an impressive 41 foot toss of the power ball. Louisville and USF are two schools to show interest in Horton but his eye-popping athleticism might make several schools pop in his tape and see him make 65 tackles last year. He will likely play linebacker at the next level.
John Green - South Florida is known for producing some of the fastest players in the country and the Miami combine allowed John Green to add his name to the list in 2012. He ran a 4.46 in the 40 yard dash (times are recorded electronicly), which is the top time at a Nike Combine this year. A 5-foot-10, 165 pound slot receiver, Florida State, Kansas and Duke are some of the schools showing interest. He said his fastest 40 was 4.33 and that he ran a 10.87 in the 100 meters last year. Green plans to attend several camps over the summer and could see his stock rise depending on how he does in 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills.
Pedro Sibiea - One of the few lineman to come to the combine (they generally are geared for skill position players), he posted an impressive 95.10 Sparq rating. A solid 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Sibiea tested well in just about every category. If he can shave a little bit of time off his already impressive 4.87 40 yard dash, he could see a lot of scholarships come his way.
Akeem Jones - A class of 2013 quarterback, Jones is a hot name on the recruiting circuit after making the South Florida Express 7-on-7 travel team. He posted an 81.12 Sparq rating and is a legitimate 6-foot-3, 185 pounds. He ran a 4.89 in the 40 and had a 4.34 shuttle. Already seeing interest from several major programs, Jones stock should continue to rise.