BEAVERTON, Ore. —
When your nickname is "Speedy," everyone expects you to be fast. But what pushed Devante "Speedy" Noil
to a SPARQ national combine championship was his hops.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound receiver from Karr (New Orleans)
recorded a remarkable 45.3-inch vertical jump to score a hefty 153.90 to win the SPARQ Rating National Championship at The Opening Monday at Nike World Headquarters.
The winning score was the second highest in championship history, bettered only by last year's winning score of 154.47 set by Mike Mitchell, a 6-4, 215-pound linebacker from Prestonwood (Texas).
"I was happy that I won," Noil said. "But also in my heart I know that I could have had the record but I didn't know what it was."
Noil, who has listed LSU, Florida, USC and Texas A&M as his college finalists, didn't act like he was upset without the record. But he was confident he would take home the title.
He is considered one of the top athletes in the country at an event that showcases 161 of the nation's top players from the Class of 2014.
"I know what I can do and what my mama raised me to be," he said. "I knew what I was going to come out here and do and be the best."
He was happiest with his remarkable vertical jump, which surpassed his previous best of 41.7 set earlier in the morning. The top 10 scores from the morning advanced to the afternoon finals.
Noil, the No. 1 receiver in the Class of 2014 according to 247sports.com, also had marks of 3.87 seconds in the shuttle, 41 feet in the power ball toss and 4.46 in the 40-yard dash. Number 2 not half bad:
Finishing behind Noil was Ohio State recruit Terry McLaurin
of Indianapolis Cathedral
, who scored an impressive 149.88.
Without an offer three months ago, McLaurin has made a huge leap in the recruiting game thanks, in part, to his SPARQ scores, which Monday included 4.40 in the 40 and 42.3-inch vertical jump.
"I wanted to win it all but I'll take second out of 15,000 kids (the number that participated all season)," McLaurin said. "Coming from Indianapolis and where I was three months ago, it's really a blessing and I'm fortunate to be here.
"Finishing second behind Speedy, who is considered the top athlete in the country, I'll take that." Why? Why? Why?:
They come to The Opening for many reasons. Competition. Education. Exposure. Central (Miami)
five-star running back and Florida commit Dalvin Cook
said none of those reasons: "I came here to have fun, get a lot of Nike gear and recruit a bunch of guys to Florida."
That was perhaps the most honest answer of the day.
More on the same topic:
"Just to compete," said the nation's No. 5 recruit overall, offensive tackle Cameron Robinson
of West Monroe (La.)
. "When you got the best high school players in the country you want to set your mark and show you can compete with them."
Said Fort Bend Hightower (Missouri City, Texas)
linebacker and Houston recruit Matthew Adams
: "I don't have anything to prove. I just want to get better at my position. You get to go against and see how you stack up with the Top 150 in the country." This and that:
Offensive line coach and Nike leader LeCharles Bentley, a former NFL standout with the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints, said that Robinson, a 6-6, 320-pound left tackle, is as good as his billing. "I don't say this often, but he's a legitimate first-round NFL draft pick," Bentley said. Robinson is headed to LSU or Alabama. … With injuries on his Speedway (Ind.)
team, Notre Dame-bound receiver Justin Brent
said he'll be playing some running back this season. … Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stopped by in the morning to address the quarterbacks. There were also Marshawn Lynch, Ndamukong Suh and Desmond Howard sightings. None yet of Bo Jackson, who is scheduled to show. … Roderick Taylor
, the nation's top guard from Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)
, told 247sports.com that he'll make his college commitment this week.
Much more from 247sports.com: eye-poppers
, 7-on-7 rosters
, the rankings