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You Won’t Believe Which NFL Combine Prospects Were Once NCSA Recruits

2016 nfl combine in lucas oil stadium

(Flickr: Alberto Cabello)

Every year the top amateur football players are invited to Indianapolis for the biggest job interview of their lives, the NFL Combine. An invitation to the combine is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication and the first step to becoming an NFL player.

This year’s event will feature the top 331 NFL Draft prospects. In total, 207 — or 63 percent — of combine participants had a profile with NCSA Athletic Recruiting when they were looking for the right college fit as high school players, including likely top-10 draft picks QB Jared Goff and DE DeForest Buckner.

NCSA would like to congratulate all of our former student-athletes on this tremendous accomplishment and wish them all the best of luck. Hopefully the following prospects will blaze excellent times at the combine and hear their names called on draft day.

Some of the top amateur football players at the NFL Combine were #NCSACommits

Devante Bond

HT: 6-1 | WT: 238
Sierre College
Sacramento, Calif.

Devante, who was rated as a three-star coming out of junior college, helped lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoff in 2015. At Oklahoma, he developed into a complete linebacker, registering seven tackles for loss as well as contributing in coverage with two pass breakups. Devante has a shot to be drafted in the later rounds and can improve his stock with a great showing at the combine.

Ben Braunecker

HT: 6-4 | WT: 254
Forest Park High School
Ferdinand, Ind.

Ben was a first team FCS All-American after leading the Crimson with 48 receptions for 850 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015. He was a three-year starter at Harvard and a team captain as a senior. Ben is one of only two Ivy Leaguers invited to the NFL combine and he is projected to be drafted in the seventh round.

DeForest Buckner

HT: 6-7 | WT: 290
Punahou School
Honolulu, Hawaii

DeForest, a consensus four-star in high school, played like a five-star in college, becoming the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 after recording a league-leading 10.5 sacks. As a junior, he led the Ducks in both tackles and tackles for loss and was a second-team Pac-12 all-conference selection. DeForest is one of the premier defensive lineman in the country and is projected to be a top-10 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Maurice Canady

HT: 6-2 | WT: 195
Varina High School
Richmond, Va.

Maurice was invited to the Senior Bowl after an impressive career at Virginia, where he was a two-time All-ACC selection. The rangy cornerback, who was a three-star in high school, has the length and athleticism to match up against bigger wide receivers at the NFL level. Canady is currently projected to be an early fourth round pick.

Trevor Davis

HT: 6-2 | WT: 185
Alhambra High School
Martinez, Calif.

Trevor, just a two-star coming out of high school, started his career at Hawaii before transferring to California. In Berkley, he became a third-down weapon for fellow NCSA alum Jared Goff and a weapon in the return game. A team may take a flyer on Davis in the later rounds for his potential on special teams.

Kevin Dodd

HT: 6-5 | WT: 275
Hargrave Military Academy
Greer, S.C.

Kevin emerged from teammate Shaq Lawson’s shadow with a dominating three-sack performance in the National Championship. After three seasons in a reserve role, he finished 2015 with 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors. Dodd’s stellar senior campaign propelled him into the national spotlight and put him into the conversation to be a mid-first round pick.

Ka’Imi Fairbairn

HT: 6-0 | WT: 190
Punahou School
Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka’Imi became the all-time leading scorer in Pac-12 and UCLA history in 2015 en route to winning the Lou Groza Award winner, as the nation’s top kicker. He was a three-star coming out of high school, where he was teammates with fellow NCSA alum DeForest Buckner. Fairbairn is the top amateur placekicker and should be the first one selected in the NFL Draft.

Josh Ferguson

HT: 5-9 | WT: 198
Joliet Catholic Academy
Joliet, Ill.

Josh is the definition of an all-purpose running back with the explosiveness to become a nightmare in space at the next level. Although he never rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season, the former three-star easily eclipsed 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2013 and 2014. Josh is a flat-out playmaker and his skillset is highly coveted in today’s NFL, making him an intriguing middle-round pick.

Watch Josh Ferguson talk about his recruiting process and sign his commitment to the University of Illinois in the video below:

Graham Glasgow

HT: 6-6 | WT: 303
Marmion Academy
Aurora, Ill.

Graham is a versatile interior lineman who started at left guard, right guard and center in Ann Arbor. He also excelled in the classroom at Michigan, as he was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten. Graham’s ability to play multiple positions, coupled with his smarts, make him a probable third-round pick in the NFL Draft.

Jared Goff

HT: 6-4 | WT: 215
Marin Catholic High School
Kentfield, Calif.

The premier player in the Pac-12 capped off an illustrious career at Cal by setting conference records with 4,719 yards passing and 43 touchdowns in 2015. A consensus four-star coming out of high school, he won the starting quarterback job as a true freshman, beating out the highly-touted Zach Kline, and quickly became one of the best signal callers in the country. Jared is arguably the top player in the 2016 NFL Draft and he has a chance to be the No. 1 overall pick in April.

Jerald Hawkins

HT: 6-6 | WT: 305
West St. Mary High School
Baldwin, La.

Jerald was a three-year starter at LSU, anchoring the offensive line at left tackle in 2015. The extremely athletic lineman, who excelled in basketball in high school, was projected by many to play defensive line in college before he settled on the other side of the ball. Jerald has exceptional upside at the next level and has an outside chance of sneaking into the first round.

Quayvon Hicks

HT: 6-2 | WT: 251
Pierce County High School
Blackshear, Ga.

Quayvon is a big-time thumper at the fullback position, paving the way for Georgia’s seemingly endless supply of star running backs over the last three years. He was a three-star jumbo athlete coming out of high school and has shown off that versatility in college, contributing as a runner, receiver and return man. Quayvon can do a lot on the football field and could get picked in the later rounds.

Jordan Howard

HT: 6-1 | WT: 225
Gardener High School
Gardendale, Ala.

Jordan, who transferred from UAB after it cancelled its football program, exploded onto the scene in the Big Ten, rushing for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015. Jordan is projected to be a high second-round pick in the NFL Draft and could even jump into the first round with an excellent combine performance.

Derrick Kindred

HT: 5-10 | WT: 221
Karen Wagner High School
San Antonio, Texas

Derrick is the toughest player in the NFL Draft and that’s not hyperbole. In 2015, he broke his collarbone before the start of the season, but played every game and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection, registering 87 tackles, 3.5 for loss and two interceptions. Kindred is likely a late round pick due to his toughness and ability playing the box.

Raphael Kirby

HT: 6-1 | WT: 238
Miami (FL)
Stephenson High School
Stone Mountain, Ga.

Raphael, who was named to the Butkus Award watch list in the preseason, led his team in tackles before suffering a season-ending knee injury in week seven of 2015. As a junior, the former four-star ascended to the starting lineup and became a team leader on defense. Despite his injury, Kirby was invited to the combine and has a good shot at being drafted in April.

Tre Madden

HT: 6-1 | WT: 225
Mission Viejo High School
Mission Viejo, Calif.

Tre struggled with injuries during his college career, but when healthy he has been a dynamic weapon, averaging more than five yards per carry. His great blend of size and speed made him a four-star linebacker recruit coming out of high school before he switched to running back. With a great workout and clean physical, Madden has a chance to be a real sleeper in the later rounds.

Luther Maddy

HT: 6-2 | WT: 283
Virginia Tech
Atlantic Community High School
Delray Beach, Fla.

Luther returned from injury to have a stellar 2015, as he was named a first-team All-ACC selection. Luther, who was a five-year starter at Virginia Tech, was granted a medical redshirt after missing most of the 2014 season due to a knee injury. Luther’s tape has him in the discussion to be a fifth round pick, but he could improve his stock with a great performance at the combine.

David Morgan

HT: 6-4 | WT: 260
Marble Falls High School
Marble Falls, Texas

David became the first All-American in UTSA’s history after recording 45 receptions for 566 yards and five touchdowns. There’s also a very good chance that he will become the first UTSA player to be drafted by an NFL team. Going into the combine, David is projected to be a sixth round pick.

Romeo Okwara

HT: 6-4 | WT: 270
Notre Dame
Ardrey Kell High School
Charlotte, N.C.

Romeo emerged as Notre Dame’s most feared pass rusher in 2015, finishing with a team-leading eight sacks. He was a two-year starter in South Bend after being rated a three-star coming out of high school. Romeo is currently projected as a sixth round pick, but his stock is on the rise and he could slide up draft boards with a good combine performance.

Sheldon Rankins

HT: 6-2 | WT: 303
Eastside High School
Covington, Ga.

Sheldon’s draft stock is soaring after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl. The two-time All-ACC performer is that rare disruptive interior pass rusher who can bring consistent pressure up the middle and push the quarterback of his spot. Sheldon is a complete defensive tackle who will likely go in the middle of round one and he even has an outside chance of crashing the top 10.

Elijah Shumate

HT: 6-1 | WT: 212
Notre Dame
Don Bosco High School
Ramsey, N.J.

Elijah was a two-year starter at Notre Dame, where he excelled as an in-the-box safety. He was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, as he was a consensus four-star and participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. With a solid showing at the NFL combine, Elijah has a chance ensure that he gets his name called late in sixth or seventh round.

Matt Skura

HT: 6-4 | WT: 305
Worthington Kilbourne High School
Columbus, Ohio

Matt, the leader of the Blue Devils’ offensive line, was the model of consistency in the trenches, as he started 40 consecutive games and was a two-time All-ACC selection. He was a team captain and named to Rimington Award watch list, given to the nation’s top center, in 2015. Matt currently projects as a late round pick in the NFL Draft.

Terrance Smith

HT: 6-3 | WT: 234
Florida State
Southwest DeKalb High School
Decatur, Ga.

Terrance struggled with an ankle injury in 2015, but he still finished as an All-ACC honorable mention with 65 tackles, 4.5 for loss. As a junior, he earned second-team All-ACC honors after recording 87 tackles, 4.5 for loss and two interceptions. Terrance has sought after length, athleticism and versatility and he could end up being a third round pick with an excellent performance at the NFL combine.

Jason Spriggs

HT: 6-6 | WT: 301
Concord High School
Elkhart, Ind.

Jason, who has prototypical size for an offensive tackle, was a four-year starter for Indiana. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection and was named an All-American by the Football Writers Association of America in 2015. Jason currently has a third round grade, but his stock is on the rise and he has a chance to become a late-first round by April.

Bryce Williams

HT: 6-6 | WT: 258
East Carolina/Marshall
North Davidson High School
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Bryce, who is built like a basketball power forward, started his career at Marshall before transferring to East Carolina. At ECU, he has become a major weapon in the passing game, recording 96 receptions for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career. Bryce has tremendous upside and is currently projected to go as high as the third round in the NFL Draft.

Interested to see what kind of tools and resources NCSA Athletic Recruiting had for these top players who will be attending the NFL Combine? The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.