Arp’s Kayce Medlock Wins ETSN.fm + APEC Football Recruiting Combine’s Offensive MVP Award
TYLER -- East Texas has a long history of elite running backs.
It's not just a history though. Sunday's mashup of regional tailbacks at the ETSN.fm + APEC Football Recruiting Combine, presented by Azalea Orthopedics, might have been the best group through four years of the event.
Arp's Kayce Medlock and Mineola's Chantz Perkins, both rising seniors, finished their days at the Accelerated Performance Enhancement Center in strong contention not only for the running back honor but also the overall Offensive Most Valuable Player award.
After discussion between the APEC coaching staff and ETSN.fm's staff members, the collective group selected Medlock as their top offensive player and appointed Perkins as the Running Backs Most Valuable Player.
"Last year, I came and I got an honorable mention," Medlock said. "I woke up this morning and told myself, 'I'm going to do whatever it takes to get this MVP.' I just kept competing and competing and competing. And I had to, to get it."
Medlock, who held six FBS college scholarship opportunities and an additional FCS offer ahead of the big day, was certified by the APEC staff at 5-feet-10 and 186.4 pounds before starting the testing phase of the event.
Once in the competition phase, it didn't take long for Medlock to start earning focus. He erased Defensive Most Valuable Player Josh Thompson's then-best 4.48-second, laser-timed 40-yard dash time with a 4.40-second sprint.
It wasn't a fluke. Medlock ran a 4.42-second, 40-yard dash in his second and final attempt.
That time stood for the remainder of the day as the best of all invite-only athletes that participated.
Medlock also recorded a 31-inch vertical jump, a broad jump of 112 inches, a Keiser squat output of 3,557 watts and successfully completed 10 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
The 40-yard dash time was two tenths of a second better than Medlock's best attempt last year at the same combine.
"I've been busting my butt off," Medlock said. "Waking up at 5 o'clock in the morning jogging and running."
On the field, the Arp athlete maintained favorable early impressions in minimal-contact drills against East Texas' very best linebackers.
"When you look at his 40, he obviously ran well, but the thing that is so tricky about that is Kayce doesn't have great form technique and he's not a little guy," APEC founder and director Bobby Stroupe said. "This is someone that is big. He's 187 pounds, and he runs really well.
"This is pure speed that translates onto the football field in a variety of ways. He's a big, strong, fast athlete that shows a lot of different levels of acceleration on the field. He showed that in his skill work today. It was just as impressive as his testing."
Take what Stroupe says to the bank.
Several of the athletes under his guidance have enjoyed longterm careers in professional sports. Perhaps most notably, pitcher Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history and lasted nine seasons in the professional ranks.
Baylor receiver Blake Lynch, Texas Tech receiver Dylan Cantrell and Tyler Junior College quarterback McLane Carter are among the current collegiate players that spend time at Stroupe's facility when visiting home on vacation.
As fate would have it, all three of those players were idle Sunday and visited their hometown stomping ground during the combine. Lynch and Carter even worked some of the drills with the high schoolers.
Arp overcame a 1-5 start last year to clinch the fourth and final spot out of a brutal District 8-3A Division II. Yet Arp reached the Region II semifinal level of competition before being cannibalized by Waskom, its fellow league member, en route to a second straight state championship win.
Medlock predominantly played running back, but he also served the team occasionally as a universal athlete when it faced the right type of matchup. He ran for 1,184 yards and 15 touchdowns in 13 games played.
Arp could be in a stronger spot this season. Medlock is back as are 19 other letter winners from the 2015 squad.
"I just want to keep winning football games," Medlock said. "Keep giving me the pill and let me do me."