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SP Combine Series kicks off with free event in Salina

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  • Sharp Performance hosted their annual free combine at the Salina Fieldhouse on Saturday. (Photo by John Baetz)
    Sharp Performance hosted their annual free combine at the Salina Fieldhouse on Saturday. (Photo by John Baetz)

The Sharp Performance Free Combine was held in the warm confines of the Salina Fieldhouse on a cold March morning this past Saturday. The facility in downtown Salina played host to a number of talented athletes from across the state looking to cement their names in the minds of college recruiters, and was again held for free thanks to the generous support of sponsors like Salina Regional Sports Medicine, providing patients a "home-field advantage."

An array of athletes stood out in measurables that included 40 yard dash, bench press, vertical leap, pro agility, and broad jump, with Southeast of Saline's Michael Murray and Salina Central's Kenyon McMillian recording in the 4.4 40 range, Nemaha Central’s standout lineman Holden Bass and Hoisington’s Caiden Hoffman impressing with their blend of size, strength and explosiveness across multiples drills, and Kingman running back Jake Fischer putting up a herculean 18 reps at 225 in the bench press.

Here are just a few top performers from Saturday’s free combine that stood out:

Holden Bass, Nemaha Central, 6-3, 264, OL/DL, 2024 (@HoldenBass)
40: 5.13
Bench: 225-11
Vertical: 26.8”
Pro Agility: 4.79
Broad Jump: 99"

Comments from Kansas Pregame publisher John Baetz: After seeing Nemaha Central sophomore Holden Bass at the free combine last year it was clear he would be one to watch in the years to come. He told us in an interview last year, in no uncertain terms, he wants to play football at the University of Kansas, and considering his size, strength and athleticism, he may very well be able to play at that level.

Bryce Cohoon, Maize, 6-2, 182.4, WR/ATH, 2023 (@Bryce_Cohoon9)
40: 4.52
Vertical: 35.8"
Pro Agility: 4.84
Broad Jump: 107"

Comments from Baetz: Bryce Cohoon is, frankly, one of my favorite players in Kansas. Has the perfect combination of size, speed, hands and route running you want out of a college receiver. In addition to his 4.5 speed in the 40 he’s also one of the fastest 200 runners in Kansas and he also holds a 4.04 GPA. The Maize offense should be incredibly potent again this fall with the state’s best quarterback in Avery Johnson, standout running back Daeshaun Carter and Cohoon and Justin Stephens at wide receiver. After a 40 catch, 804 yard, seven touchdown season college coaches need to get in on this kid now.

Derek Hubbard, Derby, 5-6.5, 154.4, RB, 2024 (@Derek_hubb)
40: 4.55
Vertical: 29.6"
Pro Agility: 4.41
Broad Jump: 101"

Comments from Baetz: Everyone has to get past the obvious, Derek is small, nothing he can do about it, but it’s also important to remember the list of great running backs and slot receivers who are undersized, including his backfield mate, Dylan Edwards, one of the top prospects in the Midwest. Hubbard is fast, agile and strong for his size and his low center of gravity is an asset for his position. As the second option to Edwards last year as a sophomore he rushed for 400 yards and 5 TDs, averaging over eight yards per carry and his workload is only sure to increase.

Malik Bah, Hays, 5-8, 170, RB, 2024 (@Bah_Malik6)
40: 4.63
Vertical: 30.7"
Bench: 185-10
Broad Jump: 106"

Comments from Baetz: If it weren't for Jaren Kanak, Gavin Meyers, Roy Moroni, Jordan Dale and others Bah would probably be someone you've already heard of. With the graduation of those standouts he'll play a much bigger role in the Hays High offense this fall, especially given the combination of speed and strength he displayed Saturday.

Nolan Bevan, Valley Center, 5-5, 154.8, RB/CB, 2023 (@nolan_bevan)
40: 4.53
Vertical: 24.9"
Pro Agility: 4.72
Broad Jump: 91"

Comments from Baetz: Bevan is a burner, and like Hubbard, is undersized. Last year he rushed for 540 yards but it took him 125 carries, though he doesn’t have the same offensive line to run behind as Hubbard. This is not a shot at Valley Center's offensive line, Derby, quite simply, had one of the best offensive lines in the state last season. Bevan’s elite level speed makes him one to watch in the months to come.

Dagen Dean, Chanute, 6-3, 204.4, DE/ATH, 2023 (@DagenDean)
40: 4.75
Bench: 225-5
Vertical: 31.6"
Pro Agility: 4.625

Comments from Baetz: Dean had one of the most impressive frames of any athlete in attendance Saturday. Big and strong, the 195-pound state wrestling qualifier could play tight end or defensive end at the next level. He was effective on both sides of the ball for the Blue Comets last season with 427 receiving yards and seven TDs and 62 tackles with nine sacks and 12 TFLs. Has room to add weight while still keeping that 40-yard dash in the 4.7 range. The Blue Comets were represented well at Saturday’s combine and will be a team to watch this fall.

Eric Erbe, Chanute, 6-0, 167.2, QB, 2023 (@ericerbe1)
40: 4.85
Bench: 185-10
Broad Jump: 105"

Comments from Baetz: Erbe is one of the top returning QBs in 4A and showed surprising strength for his build to go along with solid speed and great overall athleticism. I’m anxious to watch him throw at an upcoming showcase event. Together with Dean and Ty Leedy the Blue Comets will have one of the top offenses in 4A this fall.

Caiden Hoffman, Hoisington, 6-2, 311, OL/DL, 2024 (@hoffman7667)
40: 5.98
Bench: 225-9
Vertical: 17.5"
Pro Agility: 5.3
Broad Jump: 74"

Comments from Baetz: I was able to watch Hoffman against Beloit last fall and the first thing you notice is his incredible size. Hoffman is a college level offensive line prospect on size alone. Just a sophomore, Hoffman is already a mobile, physical offensive lineman who has two years to get quicker and more explosive. If he is able to, he’s likely to see some very significant offers.

Kenyon McMillan, Salina Central, 5-6.5, 142.2, RB, 2023 (@Kenyon_mcmillan)
40: 4.45
Vertical: 34.3"
Pro Agility: 4.26
Broad Jump: 110"

Comments: McMillan is one of the top running backs and kick returners in 5A, has great speed and lateral quickness.

Seth LeClair, Clifton-Clyde, 6-3, 220, DE, 2023 (@seth_leclair)
40: 5.11
Bench: 225-6
Vertical: 27.9"
Pro Agility: 5.185
Broad Jump: 103"

Comments: LeClair was not happy with some of his performances on the day, but his frame, his numbers in the weight room and his performance on the field last season still make him one to watch this fall. He has the frame and play-style of a college level defensive end and coaches should definitely take a closer look.

Mario Menghini, Frontenac, 6-2, 191, WR, 2023 (@mariomenghini2)
40: 4.81
Bench: 225-7
Vertical: 26"
Pro Agility: 4.755
Broad Jump: 102"

Comments: Quality combination of speed and size, one of the top returning players in southeast Kansas. Will have a huge role for the Raiders this fall following the graduation of an absolutely loaded senior class.

Michael Murray, Southeast of Saline, 5-9, 171, WR, 2023
40: 4.47
Vertical: 34"
Pro Agility: 4.41
Broad Jump: 110"

Comments: One of the fastest athletes in the state, an incredibly versatile offensive weapon. Could emerge as a major football prospect, especially if he reaches his potential this track season.

Nash Money, Wellsville, 5-8, 175, RB, 2023 (@nashmoney4)
40: 4.87
Bench: 225-15
Vertical: 33.6"
Broad Jump: 106"

Comments: One of the top returning running backs in Kansas, Money showed off incredible strength for his size.

Yanci Spiller, Maize, 5-10, 175.8, WR/DB, 2023 (@SpillerYanci)
40: 4.79
Vertical: 29"
Pro Agility: 4.37
Broad Jump: 94"

Comments: Spiller is one of the top returning receivers and defensive backs for a Rock Creek team that should be very good this fall. Spiller’s father played at K-State in the mid-90s. 

Ty Leedy, Chanute, 5-8, 152.8, RB, 2023 (@TyLeedy)
40: 4.69
Vertical: 31.5"
Pro Agility: 4.9
Broad Jump: 100"

Comments: One of the top returning running backs and wrestlers in 4A, ran for 1,100 yards last season and showed off 4.7 speed at the combine. Part of an impressive group returning for Chanute.

Matthew Lierz, Holton, 6-0, 187.8, QB/DB, 2023 (@LierzMatthew)
40: 4.62
Vertical: 28.8"
Pro Agility: 4.27
Broad Jump: 105"

Comments: Lierz is one of the best athletes you may not have heard of. Great lateral quickness, good strength, 40 in the high 4.6 range. Size makes him a good candidate for a safety role at the next level. Holton had an impressive group of strong, fast athletes in attendance.

Augustus Thuston, Abilene, 6-4, 276.4, OT, 2024 (@AugustusThuston)
40: 5.63
Bench: 225-5
Vertical: 22"
Pro Agility: 5.42
Broad Jump: 88"

Comments: Here's a kid that showed off an incredible frame for just a sophomore and is another piece of an impressive group coming back for Chanute.

James Kriegh, Wakeeney, 5-11, 167.2,  RB/DB/K, 2023 (@JamesKriegh)
Vertical: 33.4"
Pro Agility: 4.465
Broad Jump: 113"

Comments: Should be one of the top players in 8-Man this fall thanks in large part to his blazing speed.

Jace Boswell, Holton, 6-2, 215, FB/LB, 2023 (@Jace_boswell)
40: 4.85
Bench: 225-13
Vertical: 29.8"
Broad Jump: 99"

Comments: One of the top returning players in his classification and another piece of what appears to be another loaded group for Holton.

Troy Boyd, Chapman, 6-4, 284, OL/DL, 2023 (@TroyRBoyd1)
40: 5.77
Vertical: 20.9"
Pro Agility: 5.375
Broad Jump: 79"

Comments: Coach Kurt Webster is very high on this senior to be and one can see why.

Hagan Johnson, Wamego, 5-8, 147, WR, 2023 (@HaganJohnsonn)
40: 4.63
Vertical: 32.4"
Broad Jump: 108"

Comments: Hayden Oviatt gets all the press when it comes to Wamego, and rightfully so, but it's time people opened their eyes to Johnson, who piled up 475 all-purpose yards and seven TDs last season. 

Jake Fischer, Kingman, 5-10, 210, RB/DL, 2023 (@jakefischer40)
40: 4.85
Bench: 18-225
Vertical: 27.7"
Broad Jump: 101"

Comments: Likely the biggest unheard of from the combine who showed off some impressive numbers. Fischer is one to watch for Kingman this fall.

Note: Some of the athletes found it hard to get their footing on the turf in the pro agility, so those results have a wide variation.

Look for more coverage of this event, and a look ahead at the April 23rd Showcase, in the coming days and weeks.