TAKEAWAY: 2019 Appalachian Prep Combine

#3 DB Isaiah Johnson (Bluefield) '21 won Defensive Back MVP and Overall Camp MVP

For those not informed or did not go, the 2019 Appalachian Prep Combine was a test-out based event held April 27th at the Greenbrier Resort Athletic Complex in White Sulphur Springs, WV. Opposed to its inaugural host site at Princeton High School, the APC dared to take a much larger step in site prestige. The complex was complete with a state-of-the-art complex building in which players registered at multiple tables and then were able to change in some of the finest locker rooms in the country- multiple NFL teams have used this facility for off-season practices.

Players tested out in several areas included how many reps one could get on a 185-pound bench press, 40-yard dash, 5-10-5 shuttle, and broad jump. The lifting was done inside the same complex building in a modern weightroom while the field tests were done on the lower turf field. Parents and coaches were free to travel between the upper grass field and lower turf field as long as they stayed outside the lines, of course. The combine ran as efficiently as one hosting around 300 players couldwith some players begin warming up around 11:00 AM.

Upper grass field and athletic complex during registration

Though the testing took most of the time, players were brought up to the upper grass field and taken through a series of stretches just in case those who finished early had gotten tight again. Then, it was competition time. For the remaining 90-minutes, players from multiple states went at it in several 1v1 type drills such as DB / WR battles, LB / RB battles, and of course, linemen going at it in the pit.

Many of the event runners were former college and even professional coaches. Though the camp was competitive in nature, the coaches made sure to educate and help polish players’ games throughout the day with better technique and mindset. The entire event spanned from around 10:00 AM registration to 3:30 PM in the afternoon. The weather was enjoyable with a bright sun, slight chill, and the occasional whip of the Appalachian Mountains’ wind.

Out of the hundreds of prospects in attendance from all over the country, we estimated around 60-80 were West Virginia players- not bad for a small state and a high-end combine. Going into this combine, we were hoping to see West Virginia talent not just holding their own but also dominating other states. This helped considering there were some highly recruited out-of-state prospects in attendance.

Lower turf field during field test-outs

West Virginia was well-represented in the Quarterbacks group. Richwood’s Caleb Jantuah had a stock-increasing day, proving that his mechanics have been worked on. This could see him push onto the Big Board. #19 QB Seth Ross (Wyoming East) appeared to be comfortable with the elite talent guarding his receivers. #9 QB Cam Rice (Morgantown) seems as if he’s done a good amount of growing and his frame looks impressive going into his junior season. Wayne’s dual-ability QB/WR Zane Brumfield had a solid day as well coming off an injury-plagued season. #23 QB Caden McCoy (St. Albans) and #12 QB Keon Johnson (Spring Mills) were both stellar in the athletic test out department.

We also thought the Mountain State’s skill positions held their own as well. Between #7 WR Nate Barham (Hurricane), #12 WR Marqus Ray (Mount View), #1 RB JJ Davis (Bluefield), #3 RB Christian Hill (Hurricane), and #9 DB Isaac Isabell (George Washington), they perhaps, were all among the top in pure athleticism and agility. #11 WR Camden Longwell (Fairmont Senior), #14 WR Zach Taylor (Oak Glen), and #17 WR Isaiah Valentine (Shady Spring) dropped some of the fastest 40-yard dashes out of all the players- running into the wind at that.

Not many big-name in-state linemen attended- it appeared. However, those who did impressed heavily. #6 OL Marcellus Marshall (Morgantown) and #10 OL Liam Fultineer (Mount View) were arguably the top two linemen in the entire camp- Marshall took home Offensive Lineman MVP honors. #14 OL Dalton Ray (Keyser) tested out well, too. Several names we had heard before went up a lot after evaluation: Derick Flack (Bluefield), Devin Hill (Bridgeport), and Hayden Nelson (Wayne).

Combos were well-represented as well with #1 Zach McCoy (Cabell Midland), #3 Jakob Caudill (Cabell Midland), #4 Colt Adams (Wayne), and #17 Nate Baker (Greenbrier East). Some middle school prospects also turned heads: 2024 RB Amir Hairston (Bluefield), 2023 ATH Jeremiah Riffle (Hurricane) and 2023 QB Dominic Schmidt (Cabell Midland).

#3 DB Isaiah Johnson (Bluefield) ’21 won Defensive Back MVP and Overall Camp MVP

Defensively, West Virginia was a constant dominating force. #3 DB Isaiah Johnson (Bluefield) and #5 DB Jahiem House (Bluefield) were probably the longest and most gifted defenders at the camp- Johnson took home Defensive Back MVP and Overall MVP. #10 Hybrid Joseph McCallister (South Charleston), #17 DB Donavin Davis (South Charleston), #25 DB Josiah Honaker (Princeton), and Ta’Vahjay Smith (Princeton) all had very good days as well. Among linebackers, #15 LB Hunter Williams (Independence), #2 LB Eric Brown (Williamstown), and #22 LB Jacob Anthony were some of the largest and best technical backers in attendance.

Overall, we think West Virginia showed up. Not only did some of the already highly ranked players in the state prove, and even up, their worth, we stumbled upon some gems as well. We noticed a good amount of college coaches in attendance from all levels and from multiple states- hopefully, they saw what we saw. A very good day where everyone got to compete against themselves, their next season rivals, and even some of out-of-state foes. All in all, we had a blast taking in the competition with the backdrop of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Looking forward to 2020!

C&C’s APC WV Position Winners

QB MVP: Trevor Lowe (Nitro) ’22
RB MVP: Christian Hill (Hurricane) ’20
WR MVP: Isaiah Valentine (Shady Spring) ’21
Combo MVP: Colt Adams (Wayne) ’21
OL MVP: TIE – Marshall (Morgantown) ’20 / Fultineer (Mount View) ’20
DL MVP: Hayden Miller (Independence) ’20
LB MVP: Eric Brown (Williamstown) ’20
DB MVP: Isaiah Johnson (Bluefield) ’21
2022 MVP: RB Braxton Todd (Martinsburg) ’22
Middle School MVP: ATH Jeremiah Riffle (Hurricane) ’23
Breakout Offensive MVP: RB Ethan Bowens (Wayne) ’21
Breakout Lineman MVP: OL Devin Hill (Bridgeport) ’21
Breakout Defensive MVP: DL Derick Flack (Bluefield) ’21

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