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Combine allows football players to get accurate appraisal of their skills

Elmont's Aston Brown Jr. runs a 4.62 40-yard

Elmont's Aston Brown Jr. runs a 4.62 40-yard dash during the 2015 Blue Chip Prospects Suffolk high school football combine on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at Sachem North High School. Photo Credit: Alan J Schaefer

Aston Brown Jr. has wielded a lacrosse stick more than he has caught a football the last few months. It is spring, after all.

But the Elmont junior has his sights set on earning a football scholarship for college, and on Sunday he and 129 other high school players tested their speed, strength and athleticism at Sachem North in a combine organized by the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association and Blue Chip Prospects.

The top 80 performers will receive an invitation to the State Elite Combine in Syracuse next month. Longwood's Jelani Greene was the only participant to win two events, taking the 5-10-5-yard shuttle in 4.27 seconds and the 3-Cone in 7.09 seconds.

Brown was the top performer in the 40-yard dash at 4.62 seconds.

"I could do better, but I'm in the middle of lacrosse season, so I'm fluctuating back and forth," said Brown, a wide receiver and running back. "At the end of lacrosse season, when I get back into my football conditioning and weight lifting, I'll be better and faster."

Cold Spring Harbor's Alex Kaley, a junior safety, gave up lacrosse this year so he could focus on football. He posted times of 4.94 and 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 5-10-5, the latter good for fourth. His big accomplishment materialized as 24 reps on the 185-pound bench press.

"The last time I got 22, and that was a while ago, so I was surprised," said Kaley, who finished second. Hewlett's Michael Curiel completed 26 reps.

SCFCA president Hans Wiederkehr said the purpose of the combine was to offer high school players an opportunity to be assessed by a legitimate outfit.

"If you go on the websites, they'll ask you what's your 40 time, what's your vertical, what's your bench and who's the source," Wiederkehr said. "It can't be Johnny in the backyard with a stopwatch."

One byproduct, Wiederkehr said, is that players will evaluate their marks and know how much they need to improve between now and the start of football season.

Longwood's Matthew Weiss, the 2014 Zellner Award winner as Suffolk's most outstanding lineman, ran the 40 in 5.37 seconds and completed 22 reps on the 185-pound bench press.

"That's excellent," Wiederkehr said. "Those 22 reps can turn into 26 reps, which is outstanding. The 5.3 can turn into 5 flat."

Said Weiss: "I wanted to improve it a little more, but I still have time to do that."

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