SALINA — McPherson High’s Ben Nikkel, who will be a senior next fall, was named the Outstanding Senior this past weekend at the Jake Sharp Performance Football Combine.
Nikkel was a starting defensive back this past season and is expected to be one of the many returning mainstays for a defense that helped the Bullpups to a 7-3 record.
“We took down a good group of football players ranging from incoming freshmen to seniors,” MHS coach Jace Pavlovich said. “Our kids did very well. This is the best showing we have had since we have been going to the Sharp Performance Combine. Jake Sharp does a great job of putting on this free showcase for Kansas football players.”
Sharp is a former Salina Central star who later went on to put up big numbers for the Kansas Jayhawks. There were more than 600 participants at the combine. Each positional grouping was supervised by a former or current Football Bowl Subdivision college athlete from various regional universities or Sharp Performance staff.
The combine provided athletes the opportunity to record an accurate measurement in the 40-yard dash, pro agility drill, vertical jump, standing broad jump, and bench press, along with accurate height and weight measurements, all key measurables that college recruiters rely on to make better decisions about a high school player's ability to play at the next level.
"While our goal is to help kids get exposure to colleges who might want to offer them football scholarships, what this is really about is helping kids better understand the combine process, how to perform the tests under pressure and to give them a good baseline measurement as they head into summer workouts,” Sharp said.
Here is what was said about some of the Bullpups who made a lasting impression, according to a release with quotes from the combine staff:
• Ben Nikkel — “The 6-0, 172-pound Nikkel is a tremendous athlete that, much like (Riley County’s Tyler) Halstead, has his best football days ahead. Nikkel’s all-around combine is something that will have college coaches talking about after displaying an impressive 4.75 40, 10.03 broad jump, 4.44 pro agility and 36.1 vertical jump. Nikkel brought home the Outstanding Senior MVP award. He definitely has the size and speed currently to garner a lot of college attention.”
• Jayse Alexander (McPherson) - One of two very good linebackers for McPherson, the 5-10, 188-pound Alexander is an honorable mention 4A-I All-State selection that shows better than adequate numbers with a 5.02 40, 8.07 broad jump and a 4.40 pro agility. He had 71 tackles this past season. His height might be seen as an issue for some, but he will make someone a fine college player in a year.”
• Kollin Goering —“Goering is one of two high-quality linebackers for the Bullpups, joining Jayse Alexander. Goering has a very nice frame and brings very good athletic ability to the field. With his agility and speed, he makes for a prospect that can play sideline to sideline and be very effective in pass coverage. The 6-1, 197-pound Goering posted an 4.99 40, 8.09 broad jump and an excellent 4.08 pro agility. He had 76 tackles this past season. Definitely a kid to keep an eye on for FCS/D-II programs.”
• Wyatt Seidl — Another end with good athletic ability and a 6-2, 220-pound frame that is able to add plenty of good weight through a college strength and conditioning program. Ran a 5.16 40, 8.115 broad jump, and a 4.5 pro agility at the combine. The honorable mention 4A-I All-State Bullpup had 57 tackles this past season.
• Drew Labertew — Labertew may not have elite top end speed currently (5.04) but makes up for it with this agility and explosive measurables (9.055 broad jump, 4.06 pro agility and 31.5 vertical jump). His pro agility was the best of the combine and will not go unnoticed by coaches. The honorable mention 4A-I All-State free safety has good size at 6-2, 182 pounds and definitely someone colleges will have an eye on this coming fall.”