The NFL Scouting Combine — an annual showcase event where college football players test their athleticism in multiple events for NFL scouts — has evolved into a marquee television program. The NFL Network broadcast attracts millions of viewers.
The increased popularity in 40-yard dash times and bench press reps for football players has even made its way to the high school level.
For more than a decade now, top high school players have taken part in a combine of their own to help in their college recruitment. The Blue Chips Prospects football combine gives high school athletes a chance to record official times that can be sent to college coaches.
Hans Wiederkehr, one of the directors of the combine who is an assistant coach at Shoreham-Wading River, said the combine usually attracts between 120 and 130 athletes. On Sunday, five Shoreham players attended the combine at Center Island Sports in Ronkonkoma, including Wiederkehr’s son, Ethan.
“All the events are designed to test some type of attribute that you need to be a good football player,” Wiederkehr said.
Six events are in the combine: the vertical jump, broad jump, 5-10-5 agility shuttle, 3-cone drill, 40-yard dash and bench press.
Ethan Wiederkehr, a junior, didn’t necessarily need times from the combine to lure in colleges; he already has multiple offers from some top programs. For him, it was about the competition and seeing how far he’s come since his first combine as a freshman.
“He likes to compete,” his father said.
Hans Wiederkehr said Ethan, who’s 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, will likely settle on a college choice in the next three weeks.
Other Shoreham athletes who attended were Liam Mahoney, Nick Serdock, Daniel Curtin and Jalen Wright.
“Ten years ago, there wouldn’t be one Shoreham kid there,” Wiederkehr said.
The Wildcats are two-time defending Class IV Long Island champions and have won 24 straight games going into the 2016 season.
Photo Caption: Riverhead’s John Anderson completes the 3-cone drill Sunday. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)