Tom Nealis of Miller Place and Shoreham-Wading River’s Xavier Arline have met on the field before.
Nealis, a 6-4 wide receiver, has spent plenty of time being covered by Arline, a defensive back and quarterback in their Suffolk Division IV matchups.
On Sunday morning the pair once again shared the field, this time with nearly 70 other players at the Blue Chip Prospects Long Island football combine at Sachem North.
The event, put on in conjunction with the Suffolk County Coaches Association, ran athletes through six stations before breaking off into specific position drills.
Th athletes participated in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, standing broad jump, 185-pound bench press, 5-10-5-yard shuttle, and the 3-cone drill.
“I’m just trying to evaluate myself and get something to build off,” Arline said. “I just wanted to compete and have fun.”
Both showed off the explosiveness that makes helps them excel not only on the football field, but in their other sports as well.
“As a three-sport athlete I just wanted to come and check out what my stats are,” Nealis, who also plays baseball and basketball said. “It’s important going into the summer and the recruiting process.”
Arline, also a three-sport athlete, has verbally committed to play lacrosse at North Carolina but said he wants to leave his options open.
“I’m a football guy at heart,” Arline said. “I still have a lot of work to do because it’s a different sport. I’m always keeping my eyes open for any opportunities that come my way.”
Arline ran the second fastest 40-yard dash (4.55) and 5-10-5-yard time (4.41), behind Brandon Didier of North Babylon, who ran a 4.51 and had a 4.39.
Nealis ran a 4.91 40-yard dash and had a time of 4.67 in the 5-10-5.
“Football is my sport,” Nealis said. “It’s not easy coming out here during the baseball season, it’s alright, but I don’t think I’m as prepared as I would be if it was over the summer.”
St. Anthony’s James Ramacca had the most bench press reps with 22 and Didier had the highest vertical at 35.5 inches.
Long Island players don’t have a shortage of peers who have or will be playing big time Division I football. Lindenhurst’s Jeremy Ruckert will be on campus this fall at Ohio State, one year after Sayville quarterback Jack Coan (Wisconsin) and Shoreham-Wading River lineman Ethan Wiederkehr (Northwestern) made the move to the Big Ten.
Dylan Laube of Westhampton, who shared this year’s Hansen Award as the best player in Suffolk with Ruckert, Sachem North’s Dalton Crossan, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February, and Floyd alum Stacey Bedell, who just received an invite to the rookie minicamp of the San Francisco 49ers, are among the distinguished players who have performed at the combine.
“Getting these times lets them know how they compare against everybody in the nation — the 40 is the same in New York as it is in Nebraska,” Suffolk Coaches Association president Hans Wiederkehr said. “I think this is a step in the right direction — all the kids who want to play football in college are here. All the big names started as freshman and progressed and got better.”
“I’m just trying to do my best for the colleges that are looking at me,” Marco Travaglione of Bellmore JFK said. It was the second year at the combine for the junior linebacker. “I think I did a lot better this year. I’m just trying to get my times up and to keep getting better.”