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Combine will test top area football players

Posted: February 26, 2012 - 12:12am

One week from today, AthElite Sports Training Academy and Peak Rehab will hold their second annual All-Area Football Combine.

Last year’s event was well received by players, coaches and fans alike.

Again this year, players who earned All-Area honors from The Augusta Chronicle will be invited to participate in a combine similar to those conducted for potential NFL Draft picks each year.

Just like the NFL Combine, players will be measured, timed in the 40-yard dash, and have their vertical leap tested. They will also take a type of intelligence test called the Wonderlic Test, just like the future NFL players must take prior to the NFL Draft.

A year ago, Columbia County players proved to be very bright, as they had three of the top four scores on the test, including the top overall score of 40 by Ben Wilson. That score was nearly double that of the average NFL draftee.

Columbia County players also performed well in other categories. Greenbrier safety Thomas Brown, who was tied for the second-best Wonderlic score with a 37.5, had the fastest shuttle time of all attendees. That is no small feat for a 6-foot-4 safety.

AthElite is run by former Greenbrier football standout Ryan Bowers. Following his prep career, Bowers went on to play at Presbyterian where he earned All-American honors as a senior. That season, Bowers was third in the nation in Division II with nine interceptions, and he had 70 tackles.

From Presbyterian he went on to play professionally. He was invited to two NFL camps, played in NFL Europe, and played nearly a decade of arena ball before returning home to Columbia County to try and help young athletes better themselves.

Bowers has partnered up with Lonnie Hergott who, along with Gary Gilbert, owns and operates Peak Rehabilitation Fitness and Performance. Hergott is a familiar face to many local athletes. He has been involved with the athletic programs at the schools in Columbia County for nearly 20 years. During that time, he has worked with many of the county’s top athletes (especially the top baseball players). So the two business models were a perfect fit and are now housed under one roof at their Evans location.

In addition to Bowers and his staff, a pair of NFL assistant coaches, Lance Taylor, of the New York Jets, and Brett Bech, of the Dallas Cowboys, will be on hand to help run the combine.

Taylor, who played at the University of Alabama, was recently promoted by the Jets to tight ends and quality control coach.

Bech, who played at Louisiana State University and with the New Orleans Saints, now serves as the first assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Cowboys.

So our young football players will have a chance to learn from some of the very best at what they do.

This year’s event will take place from 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. March 4 at 2520 Associates Way in Evans. For more on the event, call (706) 951-7950, or to learn more about AthElite Sports Training Academy go to www.atheliteacademy.com.

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