Kiski Area football holds combine for athletes to increase exposure in strange times

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020 | 3:14 PM


This summer has been strange for college recruits all over the country.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, young athletes haven’t been able to visit colleges, compete at showcases and most importantly, get in front of college coaches. Players and coaches have attempted to find a way around those obstacles.

On Wednesday morning, the Kiski Area football coaching staff presented its solution by having players participate in a combine-style practice before heat acclimatization week gets started Monday. Both linemen and skill players went through different drills like a standing broad jump, a vertical jump, a 40-yard dash, the three-cone drill, a shuttle run and a few others.

The coaches videotaped the drills so they could make a highlight film for each player to send to college coaches.

“We pray we have a season, but we if don’t, this is huge because you can send this video to coaches,” Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said. “You can say, ‘Look, there were no combines this year, but here is my combine skill set and here’s my 40-time with an electric timer.’ It’s going to be legit, and it’s going to be just like a regular combine.”

For college recruits like defensive end Jack Dilts, who has offers from schools such as Akron, Robert Morris, Albany, Bucknell, Duquesne and Penn, a combine like this, held at his high school, is huge. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound senior has been bulking up through the pandemic, and coaches have been asking for more info.

Wednesday’s event gave him the opportunity to get his name out there even more.

“(The combine) is really beneficial because a lot of college coaches have been asking for, like, my 40-time and everything because I put on a little weight,” Dilts said. “So, it’s definitely good because I haven’t been able to go to any camps this year.”

While Dilts has already gotten a few looks from college coaches, running back Kenny Blake is still trying to raise his profile after a junior season in which he ran for 980 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games at the position.

The 6-2, 170-pound two-way player has picked up offers from Army and Albany and is hoping a combine like Wednesday’s can advance his recruiting even more.

“It’s cool just to show off my talent, along with everybody else’s, so we can get it out there,” Blake said. “Everything is closed right now, and there are a couple camps, but there’s not really a lot going on, so this is a good way to show our talent and all that.”

Although this summer is a unique one, with limited camps and exposure opportunities, Albert said this won’t be a one-time thing for the Cavaliers. He plans to hold one every year and said they could possibly offer the opportunity to other schools as well down the line.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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