The 2014 Best of the Midwest Combine in Indianapolis lived up to expectations for yet another year. Despite some late cancellations due to bad weather, kids having makeup days at school, and other factors, the event showcased some of the top talent across the Midwest.
While there were many players who performed well, there were a couple of players who stood out above all of the rest.
RB Damien Harris, Berea (KY) Madison Southern
In my opinion, Harris was the most impressive overall player at the combine. The 5'11, 205-pound back posted a 4.36 40-yard dash time and was very impressive when I watched him pass block in one-on-one drills (and even knock Nick Conner on the ground). He's a rare complete running back. Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn, and USC will be major players for his commitment.
WR/CB Denzel Ward, Macedonia (OH) Nordonia
The Ohio-native speedster ran a blazing 4.31 40-yard dash in the testing period and put on a solid performance in position drills as well. Ward even earned his first scholarship offer at the break between testing and position drills from the Cincinnati Bearcats. He'll probably add a couple of more offers over the next few weeks.
LB Nick Conner, Dublin (OH) Scioto
It's easy to see why Conner has been blowing up of late. After seeing Conner up close, he already has the body of a college linebacker and was easily the best pure linebacker at the camp. He will probably end up as one of the top linebackers in the 2015 class as a whole when it's all said and done. Ohio State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Indiana, and others are in the mix for his commitment.
OL Rob Dowdy, Westerville (OH) South
In my opinion, Dowdy is one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the 2015 class, and it showed at the combine. Arkansas and Georgia Tech are in good shape for the athletic specimen. He has yet to receive an offer from the Buckeyes.
WR Chase Pankey, Cincinnati (OH) Moeller
While he has yet to land offers, a couple could be a the horizon. He displays solid speed, is a very good route runner, and is as sure handed as receivers comes.
DE/LB Jonathon Cooper, Gahanna (OH) Lincoln
Cooper was one of the players I was most excited to watch heading into the combine and he lived up to my expectations. He's extremely athletic and blew by offensive linemen in one-on-one drills. Not to mention he's very impressive on film. Ohio State has yet to offer the 2016 standout, but if they do, they'd be tough to beat.
OL Evan Mallory, Brownsburg (IN)
Mallory and Dowdy stood out in a very impressive offensive line group that came out to compete at the combine. He did a good job of shutting down opposing defensive ends in one-on-one drills and has the ability to develop into a very good guard down the road.
DE Brandon Tiassum, Indianapolis (IN) Park Tudor
Currently listed at defensive end, I think it's likely Tiassum and his 6'5, 290-pound frame will move to defensive tackle when he arrives on a college campus. He looked pretty good in the one-on-one drills at the combine and displayed good athleticism for his size.
QB Tommy Stevens, Indianapolis (IN) Decatur Central
When it came to quarterbacks, Stevens was in a class of his own. He has solid throwing mechanics and is also a very good athlete who has the ability to tuck and run the ball if need be. Indiana is probably the team to beat for him, but he could be close to earning an offer from Michigan State.
QB Hunter Johnson, Avon (IN) Brownsburg
I thought the freshman signal caller was the most impressive quarterback at the combine other than Stevens. He has very good mechanics and could develop into a big time prospect. Ohio State already has their quarterback for the 2017 class in Danny Clark, so he won't be a Buckeye.
CB/WR Kanyon Tuttle, Charlotte (NC) Latin School
The Clemson legacy is still an somewhat of an unknown, but after clocking a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash, he's definitely a guy to watch.