MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- If you're not familiar with Paul Canevari (Ramset, N.J./Don Bosco Prep), that will probably change this fall.
Canevari has started at defensive end the last two seasons, but will likely be Don Bosco's featured running back this season. He performed as a running back at Saturday's White Plains/New York City National Underclassmen Combine, and was named the event's combine king and strongest man of the second session.
Canevari, a 5-foot-9, 211-pound junior, bench-pressed 185 pounds 27 times, had a 31-inch vertical leap, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds, completed the shuttle run in 4.23 seconds and cleared 9 feet, 2 inches in the broad jump.
"It's always good to go against good competition and play against some other kids just to see how you measure up," Canevari said.
Don Bosco capped a 12-0 season last fall by posting a 35-15 victory over St. Peter's Prep of Jersey City, N.J. in the non-public Group 4 state championship game. The Ironmen were named the 2009 national champions by several media outlets, including USA Today, ESPN Rise and MaxPreps. Don Bosco's 12-0 record included victories over Concord (Calif.) De La Salle (30-6), and Prattville, Ala. (35-24). Don Bosco also won at De La Salle during the 2008 season.
"It was an awesome season," Canevari said. "We got to go down to Alabama. It's a different world down there. It's a football world. It was more hostile (in Alabama) than when we went to California. Crazier. We had a police escort to the game."
Miami was the first school Canevari mentioned when asked about a possible college destination.
"I've been talking to Miami a lot," he said. "I was supposed to go down to Duke. I visited Boston College for their recruiting day about a month ago. I've also heard from Syracuse, Rutgers and Purdue.
"It's a little early (in the recruiting process), but I want to go somewhere warm."
Don Bosco coach Greg Toal has strong ties to BC. His son Brian played fullback and linebacker for the Eagles.
Canevari, who lives in Warwick, N.Y., has a 40-minute commute to Don Bosco each way. He'll likely replace Colorado-bound running back Tony Jones in the Don Bosco backfield next season. Jones rushed for 1,387 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2009.
"I'm way too small to play defensive end in college," he said. "I think I'll be recruited as an athlete. I may be moved around, but I definitely won't be playing defensive end. Maybe safety or cornerback.
"We're losing a lot of our line, but we should be fine this season. We've got some kids and our coach will pull it together."
Warren has seniority
Although he's a senior, quarterback Jesse Warren (Chicopee, Mass./Comprehensive) attended Saturday's combine. Warren was allowed to compete because he plans to repeat his senior year at Northfield-Mount Hermon Prep School in Mount Hermon, Mass.
"They told me I could come, I just couldn't win any of the awards because I'm a post-grad," Warren said. "This showed me where I am and showed me what the competition is like around here. I felt like I threw the ball good. I'm really hoping to get looked at by a good school and hoping this helps me get my name out there to all the colleges."
Warren threw for 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games last season. He missed two games because of a knee injury, but said his knee is now 100 percent healthy and hopes a year at Northfield-Mount Hermon will make him more attractive to Division I schools.
"Chicopee is a small area and doesn't get looked at that much," he said. "Eastern Mass teams get a lot more attention than teams in Western Mass.
"Most people go to prep school for grades, but my grades are really good. I could have played (Division II) football, but I feel that I can play at a higher level than that."
Offensive lineman Ernie Rosato (Greenwich, Conn./Brunswick) was another player who stood out in Saturday's afternoon session. Rosato, a 6-1, 225-pound junior, was often matched against the top defensive linemen in the one-on-one pass-rushing drills and was named the combine's offensive line MVP.
Junior Sam MacFarlane, one of Rosato's teammates at the Brunswick School, was selected as the linebacker MVP.
Other standouts among sophomores and juniors:
• Running back MVP: Junior Brian Wint (Sewanhaka, N.Y./Sewanhaka).
• Defensive back MVP: Junior Matt Tralli (Croton on Harmon, N.Y./Croton-Harmon).
• Quarterback MVP: Junior Seth DeValve (Manchester, Conn./Manchester).