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Perez makes his mark at NY NUC

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- No one was more at home during Saturday's White Plains/New York City National Underclassmen Combine first session than Carmelo Perez (Middletown, Conn./Middletown).

Perez was selected as the top defensive lineman at the event, which was held on his home field at Middletown High School. A 6-foot-3, 244-pound junior, Perez, who has been at starter at defensive end since his freshman year, was particularly impressive rushing the quarterback during one-on-one drills.

"Defensive end is where he'll play at the next level," Middletown coach Steve Barone said. "Academically, he's a high honor roll student. He's being recruited by most of the Division I schools in the East -- Syracuse, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, University of Connecticut. He's gonna have a good season for us. ''

Barone said because of his work in the classroom, Perez has also attracted interest from Patriot League schools like Bucknell and Lehigh.

"Honestly, at this point I don't know where I want to go," said Perez, who would like to pursue a career in education or law enforcement. "I'm interested in any place that will give me a scholarship. Once the season starts people will start asking for game tape. That's when I'll know what schools are really interested in me."

According to Barone, Perez is one of two Middletown players who can play at the Division I level. Junior Raimonn Goddard (Middletown, Conn./Middletown), a 6-2, 260-pound defensive end, is the other. Although he registered for the event, Goddard did not attend Saturday's combine.

Syracuse, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Connecticut also have Goddard on their radar. Barone said Goddard has also received letters from Illinois and Stanford.

"Illinois is looking at him, but they're the only Big Ten school," Barone said. "He gets correspondence from them twice a week. He went to a camp in Pennsylvania and I think that's where he developed (an Illinois) connection.

"He's the same as Perez academically, but he's more of a defensive tackle in college. He's a lean 260. He'll easily be 280 or 290 two years from now.

"We play a 3-3-5 and they're our bookend defensive ends. Those two guys are very good ballplayers."

Perez said his goal is to play for a Big East school like Syracuse or Rutgers.

"Not many kids from this area go to Division I (FCS) schools, but a lot go on to (FBS schools)," he said. "I want to set a different standard."

Defensive posture

Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y./New Rochelle), a 5-11, 165-pound defensive back, was named the Most Valuable Player in the sophomore/junior session. Lucas, a junior who attends the same high school that Baltimore Raven Ray Rice attended, completed the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds, the shuttle run in 4.31 seconds and had a 32-inch vertical leap. He said he hoped attending the camp would kick-start the recruiting process.

"I haven't heard from any schools yet, but I'm starting to send my stuff out and I'm setting up a couple visits to the University of Buffalo and UConn," Lucas said. "Me and my parents are trying to get information. I think I did good. A couple guys got me on some routes, but nobody ever got me twice.

"I'd like to go D-I, but I'll sit down with my coach and my parents and see what's best for me. We'll look at playing time, athletic program and academics. That's what I'll look at the most, academics. There's a lot of work to do still."

Lucas helped New Rochelle reach the Class AA final last season. North Tonawanda beat New Rochelle 14-7 in that contest.

Footnotes

Running back/defensive back Arkeel Newsome separated himself from the competition and was named the overall MVP and the fastest man in the morning session, which featured eighth-graders and freshmen.
Newsome, who will be a freshman at Salisbury (Conn.) Prep School next season, finished the 40-yard dash in 4.88 and completed the shuttle run in 4.43 seconds.

"I thought I did well," Newsome said. "I was happy with my 40-time and my shuttle time. I go to a trainer and work on my speed every day."

Earlier this year Newsome participated in the Youth All-American Bowl at the Alamodome, which showcases some of the top seventh- and eighth-graders in the country.

Other standouts from the first session:

• Combine King: Justin Bynum (Middletown, N.Y..Middletown).

• Wide Receiver MVP: Thomas Marston (Dover, N.Y./Dover).

• Defensive Back MVP: Matt Geisler (Pinebush, N.Y./Pinebush).

• Strongest Man: Anthony Greco (Dover, N.Y./Dover).

• Running Back MVP: Shaquan Howsie (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic).