May 2, 2007

Manuel rises above the Elite

WALDWICK, N.J. - The 4th annual Elite College Combine was held on Tuesday, May 1st at the Superdome Sports Complex in Waldwick, N.J. There were many big names and even more sleepers showing their stuff, but in the end it was Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside quarterback E.J. Manuel who stood above the rest.

Manuel's physical presence was clear as he stood head and shoulders above most of his competition at quarterback. The 6-foot-6, 203-pounder has a frame that can clearly handle another 30 pounds and his mechanics and arm strength were evident. Manuel is still a bit raw, especially when it comes to footwork, but his effortless delivery, accuracy and velocity on the ball showed why he has more than 25 scholarship offers already.

Manuel took home the Offensive MVP Award as well as the Quarterback MVP Award on the evening. He drew the most attention from college coaches of any other player at the event.

Centreville (Va.) Westfield quarterback Mike Glennon didn't spin the ball as well as he could and had some accuracy issues, but his 6-foot-6 frame is quickly filling out and he showed good footwork. Glennon is a work in progress, but his upside is clear.

Duluth (Ga.) Northview quarterback Justin Tuggle has been quite busy of late but the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder saved his best for the Elite. After wearing down at the Elite 11 and after an average showing at the NIKE Camp, Tuggle came up big in front of the largest group of college coaches. He looked confident and wasn't pressing.

Kenneth Square (Pa.) Unionville quarterback Matt Carroll isn't as big as listed (closer to 6-foot-1) but he also spun the ball well.

The wide receiver group was very deep at the event. Woodbridge (Va.) C.D. Hylton athlete Morgan Carter took home the Wide Receiver MVP Award with quickness, excellent body control and physical positioning. Deion Walker from Virginia, a Rivals100 member, didn't make the trip but Metuchen, N.J. wideout DeJuan Miller did. He struggled for most of the event, only showing flashes of his ability but his upside is clear as he had arguably the best frame of any wide receiver.

Wayne (N.J.) Wayne Valley tight end Chris Pantale could play numerous positions in college including linebacker or possibly defensive end. His 6-foot-6 frame and athletic ability made coaches take notice. Marlton (N.J.) Cherokee wide receiver Lynell Payne had his moments in the one-on-ones.

A few little known wideouts raised their stock at the event. Wall, N.J. athlete Timothy Wright showed quickness off the line and has huge hands. His 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame also stood out. Pemberton (N.J.) Pemberton Township wide receiver Derek Gould made some nice grabs and flashed his size as well while Hammonton (N.J.) St. Joseph's standout Norman White was another big wideout who showed well. Morristown (N.J.) Morristown Beard wideout Colin Lamond and Bound Brook, N.J. sleeper Deven Baker are also two to watch.

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