Twenty-five Chicago area products are among 500 juniors from across the nation who have been invited to the U.S. Army's annual Junior Combine next month in San Antonio, Texas. It is an invitation-only event and eight of the nation's top 10 quarterbacks and the top three offensive linemen will attend.
It is the eighth year for the one-day event, which is conducted on the same weekend as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl pitting the nation's leading seniors. It is the premier combine in the country, a measuring stick for players to see where they are or where they could be. They are tested athletically against some of the best players in the nation.
The Chicago contingent is headed by offensive lineman Christian Lombard of Fremd and wide receiver Kyle Prater of Proviso West, two of the top 100 juniors in the nation.
Other highly rated prospects are quarterbacks John Whitelaw of Hinsdale Central and Chandler Whitmer of Downers Grove South, linebacker Connor Loftus of Glenbard West, running backs LaSteven McKinney of Nazareth and Giorgio Bowers of Rich Central and linemen Zach Fulton and Jon Thibideau of Homewood-Flossmoor.
The other invitees show promise but some hardly played at all last season and are eager to make an impression with scouts.
They are defensive lineman Shawn Afryl of Niles West, running back Evan Wright of Fremd, quarterbacks Tyler Warden of Glenbard West, Tom Rose of McHenry and Brandon Pechloff of Montini, defensive back Deonte Jackson of Rich Central, defensive lineman Steve Laski of Providence, offensive lineman Andy Gallik of Brother Rice, wide receivers Jake Kumerow of South Elgin and Richard McLoughlin of St. Viator, defensive end Austin Teitsman of Glenbard South, offensive lineman Steven Lester of Carmel and quarterback DaRon Brown, safety Brian Jones and offensive lineman Jazzario Barrios of Morgan Park.