Chapman’s Atkinson, Lexow represent the Irish
By RON PRESTON
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – As a reward for being named to an all-league team in high school football, several hundred student athletes from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois and Texas were invited to attend a true NFL-type football combined workout as part of the Blue-Grey Regional Football Combine Search series held each spring in 11 regional sites in the country.
Two seniors Keil Kelly and Colton Mills of the Abilene Cowboys were among those invited to attend the Heartland Football Combine.
Once again this spring, the Blue-Grey Football’s Regional Combine Series will visit the 11 markets across the country, giving high school football players the chance to showcase their skills.
Unlike other combines, the Blue-Grey Combine Series rewards top performers from the Regional Combine Series with the opportunity to advance to one of two Blue-Grey Super Combines which are hosted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio and at the New England Patriots practice facility, respectively.
The top performers from each Super Combine are invited to play in the third-annual Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic, which will be played at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Florida on January 11 in front of a national audience on Fox Sports.
The Heartland Football Combine hosted by the Missouri Western football coaching staff took place at the Kansas City Chiefs indoor training facility recently.
Chapman High School had two student athletes invited also. Junior Blake Atkinson and senior Logan Lexow represented the Fighting Irish in St. Joseph.
“We were asked to attend because we were named North Central Kansas League Honorable Mention league team members,” Kiel Kelly said.
“The Missouri Western coaches sent both of us the same e-mail inviting us to the combine. They looked at all the newspapers for league results and all-league teams and invited those people,” Mills said.
The Combine took place over a couple days at the complex with the number of athletes being divided up into two groups, so that each student athlete participated in a one day long workout.
“It was really cool, like a real NFL combine, so we ran 40s, tested out our bench reps as many times as we could, tested our long broad jump, vertical jump and 20 yard shuttles,” Kelly said.
“We just kind of got to see the talent that is out there, what they’re getting in their 40s. I didn’t run the best 40 there, but it showed us what we need to do to improve on: your strength and agility, all that stuff,” Mills added.
“We also got to do some one-on-one drills where the receivers went against the cornerbacks, etc. That was fun,” Kelly said.
Combine results are sent to every college in the USA at all levels: 1A, 1AA, Division 11 and Division 111.
Kelly worked out with receivers, Mills and Lexow with the linebackers and Atkinson with the offensive linemen during their drills.
Rivals.com, Maxpreps, Scout-com., Tom Leaming, ESPN, Jim Stefani and college coaches all use the combine results to rank players and offer scholarships.
Officials of the Blue-Grey Combine Series state that over 40% of the athletes that attend the Super Regionals have received D-1 scholarship offers.