Last night ESPN aired the SPARQ combine championship at The Opening, as previously mentioned, and there were several Kentucky football recruits who participated. The SPARQ combine testing was developed by Nike and attempts to measure a player's speed, strength, and explosiveness while controlling for their size. A score of 130 points or higher places a recruit at the "elite" level. Full results can be found here, but let's highlight UK's sole commit present there, and Kentucky's biggest recruit this year:
6'4'', 225 pounds
40 yard dash: 4.93 seconds
20 yard split: 4.38 seconds
Kneeling Medicine Ball Throw: 35.0
Vertical Jump: 32.8 inches
Total Score: 88.68
5'10'', 210 pounds
40 yard dash: 4.48 seconds
20 yard split: 4.00 seconds
Kneeling Medicine Ball Throw: 35.5
Vertical Jump: 37.9 inches
Total Score: 126.93
Damien Harris' score was good enough for a Top 15 finish, but I doubt either he or CJ Conrad would be entirely happy with their scores - especially their forty times. Notably, Harris' medicine ball throw went further than Conrad's which hints at his strength. Of the five tight ends present, Conrad took third place while Harris took third place out of fifteen categorized running backs. Harris just missed the 130 point "elite" threshold.
At the end of the day, combine results are just a factor in assessing a player's abilities. They are important, but not determinative, for what a player can accomplish on the field. I present to you "Exhibit A", but there are of course many others. Also, as some astute observers pointed out, there were several instances of performances seeming too good to be true. Take it all with a grain of salt for now in other words.
Tonight and tomorrow night will feature the 7-on-7 tournament that will also air on ESPN. The tournament should provide a closer look at UK's recruits current on-field abilities against tremendous competition. In my experience, 7-on-7 settings don't typically play to running back's strengths, but Harris may be able to display his ability catching the ball out of the backfield. Conrad, on the other hand, should have opportunities to prove what he can do in the passing game facet of the tight end's responsibilities.
For complete (i.e. non-UK focused) coverage of The Opening check out the SB Nation updates here. The updates and interviews are coming early and often by SB Nation writers present at the event.