New Orleans hosted the Nike Sparq Combine on Saturday for the third consecutive year, and there was no shortage of star power.
More than 400 young football players at Victory Field and showcased their talent.
The event was headlined by top recruits Kentwood’s Shyheim Carter and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Edwin Alexander. Local top-tier recruits included four-star Kristian Fulton (Rummel) and Jamal Pettigrew (St. Augustine).
Nike, in conjunction with Student Sports, hosts these combines around the country and takes the top performers from each event. The recruits go on to qualify for the main event showcase called The Opening, which is hosted at the University of Oregon.
“We have a great thing going with our New Orleans leg of the tour,” said Brian Stumpf, director of football events for Student Sports. “It gives us a chance to draw in the state talent, but also get the neighboring states. It’s just a great spot and great host city. We always get maximum participation and high quality talent.”
After testing the second half of the day began, starting with the one-on-one competition. It’s the most competitive portion of the event and the most watched. For skill players, it’s a chance to showcase their talents.
Top state wide receivers Stephen Sullivan (Donaldsonville) and Isiah Graham (Bastrop) were even better than advertised. New Orleans defensive backs Kyle Myers (Holy Cross) and Clifford Chatman (McDonogh 35) also impressed. They partnered with Baton Rouge standouts Malik Antoine and Tre Jackson (University Lab) to shut down most receiver routes.
Amik Robertson (Thibodaux) came into the event as an unknown, but had perhaps the best day of all the Louisiana defensive backs. Their consistent domination ultimately led them to be chosen to participate in the final drills of the day, which only featured the top five at each position.
Despite the overwhelming number of top Louisiana athletes, the combine MVP went to defensive back Nigel Knott (Germantown, Mississippi). Knott had a Sparq rating of 125, second-highest in the country. He also claimed MVP at defensive back.
Linebacker Kevin Moore of Acadiana was the only Louisiana player to win MVP at his position. He took home top linebacker honors.
All was not lost, however, some top recruits did earn invites to The Opening. Sullivan and Fulton were among the five players who were awarded invitations. University Lab star athlete, Dylan Moses, also earned an invitation as an underclassmen. Moses, a 2017 LSU commitment, was the first underclassmen selection this year.