Five GMC Prep players picked for NUC
Steven Cary The Union-Recorder The Union-Recorder
Sat Jun 16, 2012, 08:00 AM EDT
MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia Military Prep School football players have been hard at work thus far this summer, as five Bulldogs have recently been selected to compete at the South Regional National Underclassmen Combine (NUC) Ultimate 100 in College Park from June 29 through July 1.
Manquez Warthen, Markel Jones, Dalvin Grable and Colby Lawrence were all selected based on their performances at a recent underclassmen combine, which the athletes participated in to gain exposure from college coaches. Taylor Payne was also selected based on his performance at the NUC Ultimate 100 in 2011.
“I tell you, they’ve went through a lot of effort to make sure they got this opportunity,” Brad Owens, head coach, said.
Though Warthen has experienced injuries in the last couple seasons as a Bulldog, Owens believes this fall may be his year to shine.
“Manquez has had some injury issues the last couple years and hasn’t really had the chance to shine like we know he can,” he said, “but I think he’s going to make a big step up this year as a junior.”
Warthen admits that his selection to the Ultimate 100 is a great opportunity and is honored to have received the MVP for the receivers at the previous NUC event in Winder.
“It’s a blessing to go to the top 100,” he said. “I worked hard to get there and to win my award.”
Also experiencing injury last season was Grable, though Owens believes he has a lot of potential that could help GMC Prep this fall.
“Dalvin had some injury issues himself last year, missed a lot of games, but has been a very good receiver for us. I think he was MVP for our ‘B’ team the year before last,” Owens said. “He just has a knack for when he catches the ball of just doing stuff with it. It’s amazing; he doesn’t blow you away with his speed or his athleticism or anything, but then when he gets the ball you just can’t tackle him.”
Grable admits he learned a lot from the underclassmen combine and is pleased to be selected for the Ultimate 100 later this month.
“I learned a lot while I was at the camp,” he said. “I learned how to be a better receiver, and I’m glad I’m going to the top 100.”
Another standout player that has come on strong for the Bulldogs over the course of the spring is Jones, who will start at safety and receiver.
“Markel — it’s no surprise at all. He’s a tremendous athlete, and he showed that last year as he started every down for us at corner,” Owens said. “For a guy his size, hits as well as anybody I’ve ever seen. He’s just unbelievable and then showed out as well in our spring game, scoring a couple long touchdowns.”
Jones believes he has become a better receiver from recently attending the NUC event in Winder.
“At the camp I went to, I learned a lot. Just different things I didn’t know as receiver that I should,” he said. “I became a better receiver while I was up there.”
As for Lawrence and Payne, it was no surprise to Owens when both players were selected to participate in the NUC Ultimate 100, as he admits that the Bulldogs will key off both men in the fall.
“Colby, of course, is going to be one of the main-stays of our team offensively and defensively. He and Taylor are really the two anchors that we’re going to build our team around,” Owens said. “It’s no surprise that the two of them would get invited; they’re tremendous athletes. I don’t know if we got anybody that works harder than Taylor.”