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Ellis, Gray post great days at SP Combine

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Kansas Pregame profiles top performers at Saturday's Combine (Last name E-K)

  • Hutch Trinity athlete Walt Gray - who will play football and attend school at Bishop Carroll this fall - is interviewed by Chet Kuplen and Bethany Bowman of Sports in Kansas at Saturday's Sharp Performance Combine. (Photo by Rayne Schmidtberger)
    Hutch Trinity athlete Walt Gray - who will play football and attend school at Bishop Carroll this fall - is interviewed by Chet Kuplen and Bethany Bowman of Sports in Kansas at Saturday's Sharp Performance Combine. (Photo by Rayne Schmidtberger)

The annual Sharp Performance Free Athletic Testing Combine returned to Salina April 17th after coronavirus concerns led to the cancellation of the free combine last spring. Dozens of athletes traveled to USD #305 District Stadium to test despite the cold temperatures and overcast skies. The event is free thanks to the generous support of sponsors like Salina Sports Medicine, providing patients a "home-field advantage."

Kansas Pregame profiles some of the top performers below, including Mulvane athlete Mason Ellis and future Bishop Carroll athlete Walt Gray. College coaches can find their Twitter handle next to each athlete's name/team/height/weight info to access even more information about each prospect. This second installment features athletes with last names beginning with the letters E through K. Look for more coverage of top performers from the event later this week.

Find complete results for the event at the Sharp Performance website under the Events tab at this link. Click on results under 2021 Free High School Combine.

Sam Elliott, Buhler, 5-7.5, 163.2, 2022 (@sam_melliot1): A two-time wrestling state champion (152 and 160) and one of the top returning running backs in Kansas, Buhler's Sam Elliott showed off speed and lateral quickness at the April 17th Combine running consistent 40 times in the 4.7s and running the pro agility in 4.3 seconds. Add in an 8-3 broad jump, a 29.7 inch vertical and 6 bench reps at 225 weighing just 163 pounds, and Elliott enjoyed one of the most complete days pound-for-pound at the event Even so, he left the event a bit disappointed after previously recording hand-timed 40s in the 4.5s. If Elliott can repeat the 1,962 yard, 29 touchdown rushing performance of the 2020 season - all in 10 games - then Buhler should be in good shape to enjoy the continued success of the last 15 years with Steve Warner as head coach. Together with his sophomore season Elliott has amassed nearly 3,000 yards rushing with 42 total touchdowns in his career.

Mason Ellis, Mulvane, 6-2, 183, QB/WR/DB, 2022 (@mason_ellis11): Ellis was severely limited by injuries last season and recorded about 350 yards of total offense and 19 tackles for a 1-7 Mulvane team. As a result Ellis came into the combine flying somewhat under-the-radar. That all changed after Saturday. If there were an MVP of the Combine, Ellis was likely it. The 6-2, 183 pound athlete ran 40 times consistently in the low 4.4s, with at least one clock recording a 4.36, and posted a 10-2 broad jump, a 38 inch vertical jump and benched 185 for 15 reps. He also recorded a 4.41 pro agility, but previously has reported a personal best time of 4.18 in the drill. Mason's older brother Drew plays football for Sterling College and Mason was receiving interest from several NAIA schools heading into the event, but as one coach told me shortly after hearing of his Combine results, "Mason may have just outran the NAIA."

Eric Erbe, Chanute, 6-1, 185, QB, 2023 (@ericerbe1): An intriguing young quarterback from southeast Kansas, Erbe was slated to replace Ty Bowman - now a wide receiver at K-State - as Blue Comet QB last fall, but a broken collarbone in the second quarter of the first game changed his plans. Erbe was 8 of 13 for 85 yards and a touchdown prior to his injury. At Saturday's Combine he displayed a solid mix of speed and athleticism with 40 yard dash times in the low 4.8s, an 8-9 broad jump, a 4.52 pro agility and a 26 inch vertical jump. Erbe is also part of a speedy group of track athletes for Chanute that field among the fastest 400 and 1600 meter relay teams in the state. Erbe could get close to 21 feet in the long jump this season and together with fellow sophomore Rawley Chard - who ran a 22.26 200 last week - the Blue Comets could have a pair of very speedy skill players on the football field this fall.

Weston Fries, Salina South, 6-1, 165.4, QB, 2023 (@fries_weston): The 2023 QB enjoyed a breakout sophomore season throwing for over 1,500 yards and 16 TDs to earn honorable mention All-AVCTL I. At Saturday's Combine he displayed good speed with 40s in the low 4.7s and nice explosiveness with a 31.9 inch vertical jump and an 8-11 broad jump. The South coaching staff is very high on Fries and expects big things from him this fall. Another year of development and Fries could climb the recruiting rankings in the Class of 2023.

Kaden Fields, Osawatomie, 6-5, 302.8, OL/DL, 2022 (@KadenFields4): Fields has one undeniable quality that has put him on the radar of many top level college programs throughout the Midwest - SIZE! When you see Fields in person you think major Division I prospect, and even though his Combine marks won't blow you out of your shoes (5.5 40, 5.08 pro agility, 7-2 broad jump, 22.4 inch vertical) when you consider how much solid mass this guy is moving it's impressive. Fields opted not to bench because of concerns about a chest injury, but any college football program in Kansas will definitely want to take a look at him based on size alone.

Jayden Fletcher, Holton, 5-7.5, 164.2, RB/S, 2023 (@FletcherJaydenB​​​​​​​): Holton sophomore Jayden Fletcher had a good day at the combine recording a 4.28 pro agility, 15 reps at 185 on bench, a 29.9 inch vertical, 8-10 broad jump and 40 times in the low 4.9s. The two-time state wrestling qualifier, who finished fourth at 152 pounds at the 4A Championships in February, should get more carries for the Wildcats this fall after rushing for 219 yards and 4 TDs on 33 carries and tallying 42 tackles on defense last fall.

Britton Forsythe, Maize South, 6-1, 171.6, DB, 2022 (@britton_dean4): A talented defensive back from Maize South who earned first team AVCTL-II honors last year, Forsythe had a good day with a 4.86 40, 4.37 pro agility and a 29.5 inch vertical along with 11 reps at 185 on bench press. Forsythe recorded 41 tackles and 4 forced fumbles last fall and is also a key member of the Maverick wrestling team.

Lane Franklin, Frontenac, 6-3, 275.6, DT, 2022 (@laneFranklin9): Part of one of the top returning defensive lines in the state, Franklin didn't post eye-popping numbers at Saturday's Combine but looked the part of his run-stopping reputation. Together with Oklahoma State commit Landon Dean (6-5, 235) at defensive end, all-state defensive tackle Cruz Blair (6-1, 235) and emerging defensive end prospect Collin McCartney (6-3, 200) - all 2022s with multiple seasons as starters - the Raiders front will cause problems for opposing offensive lines this fall.

Darriene Gibbs, McPherson, 6-5, 200.6, DE, 2022 (@DarrieneG): At 6-5 and with long arms and a muscular build Gibbs was a prospect that had people in attendance at the April 17th Combine talking. His raw running style yielded a 40 in the low 4.9 range but he showed tremendous jumping ability with a 9-5 broad jump and 34.8 inch vertical. He also displayed solid upper body strength with 8 reps of 225 on bench press. He posted 37 total tackles with 5 TFLs and 9.5 QB pressures last fall. Coach Jace Pavlovich said his development is ongoing as last season was his second ever playing football.

Brody Gormley, Seaman, 6-7.5, 214.4, TE, 2022 (@brody_gormley): An unknown prospect entering the Combine after playing in only one game a year ago, Gormley show off good athleticism for his size with a 4.68 40, 30.6 inch vertical jump, 9-9 broad jump and 8 bench reps at 225. Gormley is unproven but with his length and frame a quality season could yield opportunities at multiple positions.

Kayson Graham, Salina Central, 5-11, 208.4, LB, 2022 (@GrahamKayson): Graham had a nice day showing off 4.85 speed in the 40, a 4.5 pro agility, an 8-3 broad jump and a 30.5 inch vertical. Graham was also one of the strongest athletes at the event posting 18 reps at 225 on bench. Last season Graham recorded 70 tackles with five for loss and earned All-AVCTL I honorable mention.

Walt Gray, Bishop Carroll, 6-2, 202.2, RB/LB, 2023 (@_waltgray): Walt Gray had an excellent sophomore season for Hutch Trinity (906 yards rushing, 6 TDs, 9.85 ypc, 11 receptions, 214 yards, 3 TDs, 42 tackles, 11 TFLs, 2 sacks) and showed why at Saturday's Sharp Performance Combine consistently running in the 4.5s in the 40, recording a 33.6 inch vertical jump and a 4.33 second pro agility to go along with 8 bench reps at 185. Gray also revealed that he'll be transferring to Bishop Carroll for his junior season where he's sure to have an impact on one of 5A's top programs.

Benjamin Hansen, Plainville, 6-0, 184.8, DB, 2022 (@ben82hansen): Hansen tallied 80 tackles and three interceptions from his defensive back position last fall and wrestled to a fourth place finish in the 170 pound class at 3-2-1A state in February. At the April 17th Sharp Performance Combine he ran in the 4.8s in the 40, posted an impressive 4.37 pro agility and added a 28.1 inch vertical.

Kade Harris, TMP, 5-11, 171.2, QB/DB, 2023 (@KadeHarris15): One of the top returners in the 2023 class, Harris showed off 4.7 speed in the 40, a 4.47 pro agility, a 29.1 inch vertical jump and a 9-foot broad jump. Kade, who plays for his father Jay, led the Monarchs to a 7-2 record in 2020, the first winning season since a 5-4 finish in 2011. Harris completed 60 of 113 passes for 1,212 yards with 16 TDs and 8 INTs and rushed for 865 yards and 9 TDs on 151 carries. He earned first team All-MCL honors as a defensive back where he tallied 98 tackles with 2 INTs and a fumble recovery.

Braxton Harrison, Cimarron, QB/DB, 6-0, 183, 2022 (@Braxton38936508): Cimarron quarterback Braxton Harrison is one of the top returning players in southwest Kansas and showed why with Saturday's Combine performance running consistently in the 4.6s in the 40 and posting a 30.6 inch vertical. He also posted an 8-2 broad jump and 3 reps at 185 in the bench press. As a junior Harrison combined to rush and pass for more than 1,700 yards with 20 total TDS. He added 55 tackles with 5 TFLs, 5 interceptions and a punt block on defense.

Elijah Harshaw, Lawrence Free State, 5-10, 183.4, 2022 (@HarshawElijah): Free State running back Elijah Harshaw showed off blazing speed with 40 times in the high 4.4s/low 4.5s and a 4.43 pro agility drill. He also jumped 32.2 inches in the vertical jump and just missed a 9-foot standing broad jump. Harshaw could be poised for a breakout season and is expected to carry more of the load for the Firebirds after injuries and quarantines derailed much of his 2020 season.

Stephfon Hunter, Hutchinson, 6-1.5, 184.2, DB, 2022 (@StephfonHunter1): The Class of 2022 defensive back is also one of the top hurdlers in the state and could be headed for a big season for a Salthawk program looking for a return to glory under coach Mike Vernon. Hunter had a good day at the combine running low 4.7s in the 40, posting a 36.5 inch vertical jump, a 9-3 broad jump and a 4.44 pro agility. Has good size and wing span and could develop into a special athlete over the next few months.

Zach Hogan, Hutchinson, 5-9, 170.8, RB/WR, 2022 (@zachhogan22): Hogan is another athlete in Hutchinson's Class of 2022 hoping for a big season this fall and he'll try to translate his 4.7 time in the 40, 4.32 pro agility time and his 30.2 inch vertical jump into more offensive production this fall. He was also one of the stronger athletes in attendance at the April 17th Combine pound-for-pound with 6 reps at 225 on bench. While Hogan posted just 176 all-purpose yards as a junior on a team loaded with senior skill players coach Mike Vernon has high expectations going into Hogan's senior season.

Aiden Hoover, McPherson, 5-10, 180.6, RB/LB, 2022 (@HooverAiden): Hoover displayed solid straight line speed running in the 4.8s and recorded the fastest pro agility drills on the day with an official time of 4.13. Hoover, who comes from a family of talented football players, also recorded a 9-1 broad jump and a 32.8 inch vertical jump and is expected to be counted on in variety of spots on the field for the Bullpups this fall.

Brandon Kerr, Maize, 6-0, 256.2, OL, 2022 (@brandonkerr52): Maize offensive lineman Brandon Kerr was an All-Non Senior pick by Sports in Kansas for his play last fall and showed off good quickness to go along with his raw strength. Kerr recorded a pair of 40 times in the 5.2s and a 4.78 pro agility drill along with a 25.7 inch vertical jump and 7-8 broad jump. He added 12 reps at 225 on bench and his strength is...well...his strength, having recorded personal bests of 305 in the bench press, 475 in the squat and 275 in the clean. Kerr will have an opportunity to make a name for himself this fall by protecting one of the top ranked QB prospects in the Midwest, 2023 signal-caller Avery Johnson.

Noah Khokhar, Hutchinson, 5-9, 163.2, ATH/RB/Slot, 2023 (@noah_khokhar): Hutch's Noah Khokhar showed off blazing speed at Saturday's SP Combine with 40 times consistently in the 4.4s. He also recorded a 4.41 pro agility, a 35 inch vertical and a 9-foot broad jump to go along with 8 reps at 185 on bench. The 2023 RB/Slot could play anywhere on the field for the Salthawks this fall, even QB. He had 210 yards receiving and 407 yards rushing in six games last year.

Isaac Klug, Newton, 6-0, 172.6, WR/ATH, 2023 (@isaacklug5): Klug had a good day at Saturday's Combine running a pair of 4.76 40s, a 4.29 pro agility and posting 5 reps at 185 on bench to go along with an 8-7 broad jump and a 27.9 inch vertical. He'll look to get more opportunities for the Railers this fall thanks to the graduation of standouts Ben Schmidt, Xzavion Martin and Peyton Maxwell.

Check back later this week for more profiles of top performers from last Saturday's Combine.