The National Underclassmen Combine (NUC) is the longest running underclassmen event and among the most widely recognized prep football showcases in the country. Dave Schuman, founder of NUC, realized that football players are beginning the journey to the college level at younger and younger ages. Therefore the NUC Combine and Showcases are open to 6th through 11th graders to prepare them for some of the drills that colleges will be focused on. Prominent players who have attended NUC events include guys like Marcus Lattimore, Johnny Manziel, Tajh Boyd, Tyrod Tayor, and Marcus Mariota.
While the typical camp is a three-day process, the Camp held June 4th at Chattooga High School was a single-day camp that featured events including the Shuttle Run, Broad Jump, Vertical Leap and 40-yard Dash. Drills and coaching were provided by some of the top regional coaches and supervised by the Head Coach, Dale Sturgill (Clemson), and his assistant, Coach Lakunta Farmer Louisville & Pittsburg Steelers). Chattooga High School’s Nicky Peppers and Dee Mosteller worked with Head Coach, Charles Hammon to secure the camp in 2016 and have worked hard to ensure that the nationally recognized Combine becomes an annual event at Chattooga.
Participants included the highly recruited Foster twins, Isaac and Isaiah, as well as several dozen other Summerville locals. Joining the locals were some of the top athletes from states like Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina and across Georgia. The camp opened with the Combine portion which graded players out at key skills and then moved into the drill phase before closing out with 7-on-7 drills. Combine awards were earned at each position and an overall Combine King was named.
Chattooga athletes took three of the top four spots in the coveted 40-yard dash as Nik Hawkins turned in a time of 4.51, Isaac Foster ran a 4.43, Tyrese Swoopes of Austin, AL ran a 4.41 and Melik Farmer won the event with a blistering 4.34 second 40. The shuttle run measures the cutting ability of a player and Swoopes demonstrated that his speed wasn’t limited to straight runs as he won the shuttle event with a 3.99 second time. Chattooga athletes earned some of the top spots as Nik Hawkings ran a 4.35, Tyler Griffin and CJ Martin both turned in 4.34 times and Cam Perry burned out a 4.26 time. The Foster twins stuck to their twin theme as both players ran a 4.12 second shuttle run.
Going for maximum height on the Vertical Leap, Chattooga players again reached for the sky with six athletes leaping over the 30” mark. Rising freshman Jamarious Mosteller hit 30” while Melik Farmer jumped 32.5”. Nik Hawkins jumped 33” and Isaac Foster scored 33.5”. Cam Perry jumped a whopping 35” and Isaiah Foster wowed the crowd with a jump of 35.5”. Tyrese Swoopes continued to impress the crowd with a jaw-dropping 39.5” jump. Those athletes jumping near and above the 3-foot mark are among the elite level in high school football.
Camp MVP’s were awarded by position and all aspects of the camp were taken into consideration. At Defensive Line, Co-MVP’s were Michael Johnson of White Knoll, SC and TJ Adams of Chattooga. Adams showed up to camp at a slim 277 lbs and still ran a mind-blowing 4.91 40. Defensive Backs MVP was Sean Akins of Flowery Branch, GA and the Linebacker MVP went to Tyler Griffin of Chattooga. Griffin was not happy with his camp performance after battling illness but still managed to impress the coaches.
Offensive Line MVP was Chattooga’s Armand Ford who managed a 21.5” vertical leap in spite of his 279 lb frame. Tight End MVP was Carter Holt of Dobyns-Bennett, TN who, at 6’4” and 234 lbs, looked, ran and caught like a collegiate level tight end. The Wide Receiver MVP went to Nicoy Morris of McEachern, Ga and the Running Back MVP was Chattooga’s Isaiah Foster. Scoring high in all categories and then demonstrating elite running skills, Foster showed great hands in the 7-on-7 drills with disciplined footwork in drills.
Quarterback MVP went to Isaac Foster who is being recruited as one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the region and represents an impressive deal when packaged with his brother, Isaiah. The brother’s temperament and character made an impression on Camp Director, Coach Sturgill, who emphasized the importance of these traits to campers throughout the day.
The title of Combine King went to Melik Farmer who won the 40 and the Broad Jump while Overall MVP was awarded to Tyrese Swoopes who won the Shuttle and the Vertical Leap.
Camp results are posted on the NUC website and membership to the NUC Magazine allows for access to behind the scenes articles and updates for national recruiting. Sturgill is anticipating an even larger turnout for the 2017 combine and is planning for an evening event under the lights of Chattooga’s Little Big Horn Stadium. The NUC Combines take place throughout the spring and summer all across the US and the stats are used by recruiters at every major college football program.