RJ Foster didn't want to just show up. Riverhead's junior running back and defensive back wanted to stand out.
"I'm just striving, wanting to be the best," Foster said. "This is serious. I'm bringing it together and getting there. I got to make it."
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That's the mind-set Foster had during the annual Blue Chip Prospects high school football combine Sunday at Sachem North. In this year's event, it was hard not to notice Foster.
In five of the six combine tests, Foster placed in the top five. In the 3-cone event (6.76), the vertical jump (37-2) and the 20-yard (5-10-5) shuttle (4.19), Foster took first. In the long jump (9-6.5), he placed second and in the 40-yard dash (4.56), he tied for third with Bellport's Jabari Kamon M'Bhaso.
Foster was extremely pleased with his short shuttle time, which was two seconds faster than last year, he said.
"That's pretty big," Foster said. "[Blue Waves] Coach [Leif] Shay has us training three times a week on our speed and strength after school. It's working man. We want to get back to the top."
Foster wasn't the only one thinking that way. More than 100 student-athletes put their skills to the test on the Flaming Arrows' turf field after another strong winter in the weight room.
Who better to ask about the weight room than John Devlin? The 5-7, 223-pound junior defensive/offensive lineman from West Islip put on a show in the 185-pound bench press, pumping out a combine-best 31 reps.
Babylon junior OL/DL Joseph Cosby was second with 29. "In the heat of the moment, do your best, man up and do it," Devlin said. "Don't let your teammates down."
Isaiah White sure didn't let his peers down. Longwood's junior running back/linebacker, who fractured his hip in an early season scrimmage against Miller Place last season, is "100 percent healthy now," he said.
His performance in the long jump proved it. White won the event with a score of 9-10.
"I feel good," White said. "It's great to see where I'm at. I feel I'm one of the best here, not to sound cocky, or anything. Just taking it one step at a time."
White's Longwood teammate, Andrew Ferriolo, had one of the better leaps in the morning session of the long jump. Ferriolo tied for fourth (9-1 3/4) with Longwood junior Marquise Marshall.
Ferriolo said his best score could have been an inch, or two better.
"I did the long jump in winter track and that helped me out with my explosiveness," said Ferriolo, a 6-1, 160-pound junior cornerback/wide receiver. "Overall, set your feet, get low and explode out."
The next step for each competitor at the combine is the Long Island Football College Showcase Camp at 10 a.m. June 8 at Sachem North. Suffolk County Football Coaches Association president Hans Wiederkehr can't wait.
"We feel there is a lot of football talent on Long Island that gets overlooked and it's all about the exposure with these events," Wiederkehr said. "It's for the guys who love football, that want to be here and wouldn't miss it for the world."