Some of Long Island’s top blue chip prospects were on display Sunday in the Long Island high school football combine, but it was a relatively unknown skill player who got coaches talking.
Wyandanch’s Alonte Shipp, a freshman running back and linebacker, opened the eyes of everyone at Center Island Sports in Ronkonkoma. In an event usually dominated by upperclassmen vying for looks from college scouts, Shipp was there to prove he belongs.
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“This is really important to me,” Shipp said. “I like getting reps and having scouts looking at me. I just want to get my name out there.”
That he did.
Shipp broad jumped 9 feet, 5 inches, the second-best mark of the day. His time of 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash was fourth best. His marks in the vertical (34.8 inches), 3-cone drill (7.62 seconds) and 5-10-5 drill (4.97) were also impressive.
He failed to put up a rep on the 185-pound bench press, but Shipp is still young enough to improve as he grows. For now, he’ll look to burn defenders with his speed.
“I’m excited about putting him in different formations, different sets, to get him the ball so people can see those skill sets that he highlighted today,” Wyandanch coach Dwight Singleton said.
Shipp was called up to varsity late during Wyandanch’s season in Suffolk IV last year. Singleton said he developed into “a tremendous football player,” praising his speed and ability to learn.
Shipp said he is constantly striving to be the best.
“If there are seniors here, that’s good,” he said. “I’m going to compare myself with them. I’m going to compare myself with the highest ranked. Everything’s a competition with me.”
Among the upperclassmen Shipp competed against was Shoreham-Wading River’s Ethan Wiederkehr, a 6-6, 285-pound tight end who said he holds 16 offers from college programs.
“I think that’s awesome,” Wiederkehr said of Shipp’s performance as a freshman. “He’s obviously got confidence coming in here. He’s got a bright future in front of him.”
Wiederkehr, a junior, pumped through 25 reps on the bench press before posting quality measurements for someone his size in the broad jump (8-1 3⁄4), 3-cone (7.35 seconds) and 5-10-5 (4.75).
“I improved technique-wise,” said Wiederkehr, who completed just one rep on the bench as a freshman. “There’s a lot of technique to this stuff.”
Other top performers were Kings Park’s Paul Cooper, Northport’s Ryan Elliot, Glenn’s Peter Noonan, Mepham’s Michael Valentino, Ward Melville’s Nick Messina, Westhampton’s Dylan Laube and Comsewogue’s Kai Cochrane.
Messina ran the fastest 40 at 4.44 seconds and had the longest broad jump at 9-9. Comsewogue’s Amir Nelson completed a day-best 29 reps on the bench.
Hans Wiederkehr, one of the combine’s directors and an assistant coach at Shoreham-Wading River, said that the amount of attention paid to Long Island’s top players by college scouts is trending upward.
“People are now starting to see Long Island,” he said. “We’re starting to spread the word. Things like this help.”