For the second year in a row, Cleveland junior Austin Massey will be headed to San Antonio at the beginning of January to participate in the 2014 U.S. Army National Combine for high school football players.
“It’s something to be proud of, for sure,” Blue Raiders head coach Ron Crawford said. “It’s something he enjoys and hopefully he can use this to further his career and find out what his niche is.”
Massey found out at the end of the Raiders’ season that he had received a second invite to the Army combine.
The combine invites 500 of the top football underclassmen in the country to Texas each year. Normally the group majority is made up of juniors, but occasionally sophomores, such as Massey in 2013, are invited to participate as well.
“It’s special going back for a second time. Going last year as a sophomore was crazy and I wasn’t sure if I would get to go back again,” Massey commented. “It’s a huge deal, only 500 kids out of the country get to go and they’ve picked me twice.”
Held at the Alamodome, the combine begins at 8 a.m. and finishes up by 7:15 p.m. The athletes will be tested in the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump and bench press at 185 pounds. Following a break for lunch, 1-on-1 competition takes place.
“They’ll test 40 times, vertical and shuttle runs. It takes a while with 500 kids to do that. After lunch we will do throwing with the running backs and throwing with the receivers,” Massey explained. “I thought it was really fun last year. I was tired after doing it, but the whole experience and getting to meet all those guys from around the country made it worth it.”
In the 2013 event, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound Massey posted a time of 4.823 in the shuttle run, had a 24-inch vertical jump, and had 18 reps at 185 pounds.
This time around, the now 6-3, 220-pound Raider expects to see some improvement.
“I do expect my numbers and times to improve. I’m not sure how much, but I’m still thinking that it will be better,” Massey stated.
The junior will once again be in attendance as a quarterback for the 2014 combine, and was the backup quarterback for Cleveland as well as a starting linebacker.
“I’ve always wanted to be a quarterback. In my freshman year I had Chad (Voytik) and Austin (Herink) in front me, then for my sophomore and junior year I had Austin. Next year, hopefully it will be my turn,” Massey declared.
In his limited outings as a quarterback, Massey completed 6-of-8 passes for a total of 49 yards. He also ran the ball six times for a total of 31 yards.
The actual Army all-star game will be played by 90 of the top senior football players in the country in an East vs. West matchup.
Prior to the start, Massey and the other combine attendees will have a moment of recognition on the field.
According to the website, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl boasts of having Heisman Trophy winners and more than 200 NFL players among its alumni.
Players such as Vince Young, Reggie Bush, Adrian Peterson, Tim Tebow and Ndamukong Suh have all flowed through the All-American Bowl’s pipelines.
The game is slated for a 1 p.m. start on Jan. 4 at the Alamodome and will be broadcast on NBC.