Tucker, Adeyanju shine at UA combine

LAKE BARRINGTON, Ill. -- The Chicago Under Armour combine featured many impressive performances from some of the Midwest's top prospects.

DT Clint Tucker (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis) made the five hour drive north with a few of his talented teammates and coaches. A Kentucky commit, Tucker, at 6-foot-1, 310 pounds, seemingly had little to prove. But that's not how the three-star player saw it.

"I actually have a lot to prove," He said. "I wanted to get more exposure. I wanted to compete against the best and see how I measure up."

Tucker had 30 reps of 185 pounds on the bench to show off his strength, ran a 5.04 40-yard dash to show off his speed and had an eye-popping 4.43 shuttle to show off his quickness. And if that wasn't impressive enough, he ran an outstanding 7.62 three-cone drill, which demonstrates a prospect's change of direction, hip flexibility and explosion.

"This guy [Tucker] should have 30 scholarship offers," UA offensive line coach Mike Barry said. "He dominated one-on-one drills today on both sides of the ball. He could be an amazing defensive tackle in college with his strength and quickness, or he could be an offensive line coach's dream at guard. Clint has amazing re-direct with his feet and he has exceptional hands."

Tucker is committed to Kentucky, but coach Joker Phillips and his staff will have to work to keep him.

"Right now I'd say that my commitment is soft," Tucker said. "The door is open right now. Kentucky is a nice school to be at, but I do have other schools in mind that I'd like to check out. I'd like to hear from Nebraska, Alabama, Florida State and Florida. I'm keeping the door opened."

Tucker's teammate, wide receiver Keante Minor (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis), an Arkansas commit, also had a solid showing at the event.

"This was a great combine," the 6-2, 200-pound Minor said. "I went out there and competed. I wanted to try and make everyone out there better. There were a few guys who called me out and that's all right. I want to make them better and make myself better. It's all about competition.

"My strengths are my speed and my ability to go up and get the football. I like the Arkansas program and the coaches are telling me that I have a chance to play right away. That's why I chose them."

That's not to say he's completely firm with the Razorbacks.

"I'm still looking at Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Ohio State," he said.

James Adeyanju (Chicago/Curie) has 21 scholarship offers, and it's obvious why as the 6-2, 240-pounder drew raves from the coaches in attendance. The three-star Adeyanju will likely play defensive end in college, but he has the speed and athletic ability to be a linebacker at the next level as well.

"I really learned a lot out here today," Adeyanju said. "There was definitely some talent at this combine. I mean, I went up against Clint Tucker most of the day and it was definitely a good experience to go up against someone of his caliber.

"As far as recruiting, I really haven't turned any schools away. I'd have to say that Illinois, Arizona, Boston College, Nebraska and Wisconsin are my favorites. What I plan on doing the rest of the summer now is take a lot of unofficial visits, and I plan on making my commitment after my senior season."

A prospect who really helped himself was linebacker Jacob Walaszek (Sunbury, Ohio/Big Walnut). Walaszek, at 6-2, 219 pounds, tested extremely well, running a 4.7 40-yard dash, pumping out 25 reps on the bench and running a very solid 4.43 in the shuttle drill. Walaszek didn't stop at the testing. He showed the athletic ability needed to cover running backs and tight ends during the one-on-one drills.

"I definitely learned a lot today," Walaszek said. "I wanted to come out and work hard and prove that I belong and can play with the top prospects. There were a lot of great players here today."

Other prospects who emerged were defensive backs Jakobi Johnson (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) and Christian Foster (Waunakee, Wisc./Waunakee).

Johnson, a 5-11, 167-pound cornerback, camped both Saturday and Sunday and had 10 interceptions after the two-day event concluded. He showed tremendous speed and quickness but his best attribute is his ball skills.

Foster had a respectable showing on the testing front, but he really stood out when it came time to compete. Foster was locking down receivers all day long. The defensive back coaches made passing comments throughout the afternoon about Foster's leadership skills.

One other prospect who stood out was OG Rafe Kiely (Wheaton, Ill./North). Kiely, at 6-3, 302 pounds, came directly to the Under Armour combine after camping at the University of Michigan the previous two days.

"I thought I did extremely well at Michigan and that carried over today," said Kiely, who carries a 4.2 GPA. "There's a lot of competition out there for scholarships and I'm looking to prove myself worthy this summer by attending the camps and combines."

The coaches noticed, especially Barry, the O-line coach who has mentored former linemen who went on to be first-round picks.

"I really liked Rafe Kiely," Barry said. "He's got what it takes to be a solid guard at the D-I level. Rafe moves well, he competes his tail off and he's extremely coachable."

Underclassmen were represented as well and a pair in particular stood out.

Class of 2012 QB Kyle Newquist (Elgin, Ill./Larkin) was the top quarterback on hand Sunday. The 6-2, 175-pounder possesses a very strong arm that really spins the ball downfield. The ball seems to get lost in Newquist's hands and he throws with accuracy.

OL Kevin Darcy (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson) is one of the best 2012 offensive line prospects I've seen on the combine circuit this spring and summer. The 6-4, 268-pounder tested well and drew raves from both offensive and defensive coaches at the combine.

Chris Pool has covered recruiting in Chicago and the Midwest for 15 years. He can be reached at cjpespn@yahoo.com.