Wesley Leftwich: Missouri Prospect Wows at Nike Football Combine

Ryan FallerAnalyst IMarch 23, 2010

If Wesley Leftwich performs half as well as this on campus, the Missouri Tigers may very well have their next All-American wide receiver.

Leftwich, a junior wide receiver from Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo., participated at the Nike Combine in Chicago on Sunday and turned the event on its head, registering the highest SPARQ Rating this year to date.

In addition to posting a blistering 40-yard dash time of 4.4 seconds, the 6'1", 195-pound Leftwich registered the combine's top vertical jump of 40.9 inches and his shuttle time of 4.06 was the third-fastest among the hundreds of participants, which represented five different states.

In total, Leftwich produced a rating of 126.09 according the SPARQ scoring system. SPARQ, which was developed in 2004 by a man named Rudy Chapa, is a standardized test designed to assess an athlete's speed, power, agility, reaction, and quickness — hence the acronym.

The label was later adopted by Nike when the two parties forged a marketing partnership.

In the aftermath of his eye-popping workouts, Leftwich is receiving increased attention from schools looking to obtain his services. Prior to the combine, Stanford and Illinois had already extended offers, and it's only a matter of time before other BCS programs around the nation follow suit.

But regardless of how many letters pour in, Leftwich assured media at the combine that he has no intention of reneging on his verbal pledge to Missouri, to whom he committed in February to become a member of the Tigers' 2011 recruiting class.

"It's too late," said Leftwich, who caught 17 passes for 376 yards and five touchdowns last season. "I'm committed to Missouri. They offered me before my junior season. Missouri is in the top five in the country in passing yards, so it's also the best fit from that standpoint. Illinois and Stanford came in with offers, but I'm solid in my commitment."

If Leftwich's athleticism translates to the field, there's no telling how high his ceiling can become. He is yet to play a down in college, let alone as a high school senior, but that won't stop Tiger fans from preparing comparisons between Leftwich and former MU All-American receiver Jeremy Maclin, who arrived in Columbia in 2006 with similar measureables and speed but far less buzz surrounding his recruitment.

This isn't the first time recruiters have taken notice of the super-athletic Leftwich, who doubles as a track star at Hickman.

While at the U.S. Army National Combine in January, Leftwich opened eyes—and shattered stop-watches—when he recorded an unofficial time of 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash, breaking the previous high set by former Florida receiver Percy Harvin.

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