At times in the recent past, and often unfairly so truth be told, there seemed to be a preconceived notion about there not being enough talent in the Midwest.
That’s about to change, however. Especially after word starts to spread about the efforts put forth at the Blue-Grey All-American Combine (Illinois Regional).
NFL veteran Arlen Harris can vouch for the level of skill in attendance at the workout, along with fellow one-time professionals Sean Cattouse and Keith Otis.
Accordingly, and without further ado, here’s much-needed insight on the individuals who went out and impressed when given the all-important opportunity.
Paxton DeLaurent, QB, Camdenton (MO): The 6-5 and 181-pound junior passed the eye test. Arkansas State and Western Illinois are in the mix.
Cameron Mayes, QB, Walsh Jesuit (OH): With an offer from Valparaiso, and interest from Columbia, the 6-1 and 185-pound junior appears destined to play on Saturdays.
Raef Burke, QB, Westville (IL): The 6-1 and 175-pound junior has been on campus at Old Dominion and it would not be a surprise to other schools soon follow suit.
Dominick Jones, QB, Homewood-Flossmoor (IL): The 6-2 and 170-pound junior was athletic as they come. Same thing goes for Chris Bradley from Althoff Catholic (IL).
Arlen Harris Jr., RB, Lutheran St. Charles (MO): The 5-11 and 185-pound freshman has multiple offers, closing in on 10, including Iowa State, LSU and Nebraska.
Devin Wills, RB, Mascoutah (IL): Quick and fast, the 5-10 and 195-pound junior had another gear. Once heading North and South, there was no stopping him.
Quincy Johnson, RB, Chaminade-Julienne (OH): A bigger back, stronger than many, with good hands, the 5-10 and 185-pound junior also proved to be elusive.
Tarell Evans, RB, Central (IL): Western Illinois reached out to the 5-10 and 160-pound junior. Michael DiGoia from Schaumburg (IL) deserved a mention, as well.
Devin Johnson, WR, Springfield (OH): The 5-11 and 170-pound junior is a target of teams in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), most notably Bowling Green.
Jaylen Ford, WR, Belleville East (IL): On the roster, with plans for a different workout, the 6-foot and 160-pound sophomore is on the radar of Ball State and Indiana State.
Aidan Oliver, WR, Normal Community (IL): The 6-3 and 180-pound turned some heads, with Tony Hines from Grayslake North (IL) and Brandt Hixson from Harlem (IL).
Jacob Paradee, WR, Central A&M (IL): The 5-11 and 165-pound junior did well, with Jahronimo Mitchel from Huntington (WV) and Jordan Bethany from St. Mary’s (MO).
Dawson Frydenlund, OL, West Salem (WI): Big and strong, somewhat surprisingly agile for his frame, the 6-4 and 275-pound junior got the job done in the trenches.
Jack Walsh, OL, Fremd (IL): No stranger to contact, more physical the better, the 6-4 and 280-pound junior was ready to go once the one-on-one session started.
Carter Smith, OL, Villa Grove (IL): Good feet, strong and improving upper body, the 6-5 and 265-pound junior was not intimated by anyone, or anything for that matter.
Connor Holten, OL, Columbia (IL): On one of the biggest stages around, with all eyes on him, the 6-2 and 265-pound junior figured out a way to shine in the spotlight.
Zane Sorensen, DB, University (IL): No stranger to the setting, familiar with how things operate, the 6-foot and 170-pound junior strengthened a growing reputation.
Kameron Yancey, DB, Webster Groves (MO): Ball State, and or Illinois State, among the other programs, could be potential landing spots for the 5-9 and 185-pound junior.
Jalil Lenore, LB, Bremen (IL): The 6-2 and 185-pound junior stood out, with Christopher Heidl from Horace Mann (WI) and Trevor Shue from Williamsville (IL).
Spencer Parker, LB, University (IL): Teams from the Big 12 Conference have communicated with the 6-3 and 185-pound junior and Iowa State could be final destination.
Jack Wardzala, DL, Roncalli (IN): Missouri Valley Football Conference and Mid-American Conference, both seem to have sights set on the 6-1 and 225-pound junior.
Jeremiah Pittman, DL, Saint Viator (IL): Regardless of position, or class distinction, the 6-2 and 255-pound junior might possess the most upside of everyone.
Grant Gerber, DL, Eau Claire Memorial (WI): Similar to Pittman, once an upperclassman, the 6-2 and 225-pound sophomore will have plenty of college options.
Dan Settimi, DL, Hononegah (IL): Tough and determined, the 6-3 and 235-pound sophomore was an absolute handful, as was Avery Hull from Horace Mann (WI).
Editor’s Note: Many of the recruits above will soon receive an invite to one of the brand’s All-American Combines (Super Regional level), each held nationwide at NFL venues or college facilities.
When it comes to all-important statistics from the nationwide series of All-American Combines, such as the most recent one, we’ve got you covered. For the numbers, look no further (click here).
Worth mentioning, periodically and likely within days, more information about the workout will be added in this space. Feel free to check back on a regular basis for the much-needed insight.
Additionally, those who did well in this setting, in due time, could be invited to one of the brand’s All-American Bowls held at NFL stadium and nationally broadcast on ESPN’s family of networks.
Games take place at Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium, Falcons’ Mercedes Benz Stadium, Texans’ NRG Stadium or Jaguars’ EverBank Field, among other venues.
Moving forward, the Blue-Grey Football Selection Committee will consider a number of different factors before making any type of decision on potential invites to the All-American Bowl. Stay tuned.