Rimpf agreed to make a lone exception to the event’s prep senior eligibility requirement.
“He just called me and said, ‘Coach, I won’t waste your time,’” Rimpf said. “He drove three or four hours to be here, just to get a shot.”
Fudoli was easy to spot throughout the event, his sleeveless shirt exposing inked-out guns that have been through combat tours in Afghanistan and Yemen since his high school graduation in 2009.
One of the strongest players during the weight-lifting segment, the Butler, Pa. native made his mark in the hour-long 7-on-7s, showcasing an ability to cover in space at linebacker with a leaping interception to his right against Corinth Holders quarterback Kenneth Collins, the Northern Carolina 2A Conference’s player of the year.
Fudoli wants to play strong safety at the next level but moves like a linebacker at 6-foot, 220 pounds.
“I was getting recruited out of high school, but my calling was to serve my country,” Fudoli said. “I’m just looking to further my football career and get on a team this spring. I’m just blessed to get the opportunity.”
Fudoli was one of 65 players who competed in a handful of individual and group exercises hoping to generate interest in front of several college staffs three weeks before National Signing Day. Since the combine consisted of players who had already completed their high school eligibility, college coaches were allowed to attend in person to scout talent.
Assistants from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Greensboro College and Methodist University walked the sidelines at Britt along with a handful of coaches from other schools.
South Johnston High’s Quentin Williams, a 5-foot-7 defensive back, recorded a player-best 39.3-inch vertical jump and earned most valuable player honors. His teammate, Tevin Stewart, notched 33 reps at 185 pounds to qualify as the combine’s strongest man.
Westover’s Kendall Lindsey and Jack Britt’s Keon Young took home defensive and offensive most valuable player awards while Semaj Street, a two-way player at Westover, dusted the competition with a hand-timed 4.57 in the 40. Street’s 4.28 mark in the pro shuttle on wet turf turned heads in the early morning.
South Robeson’s Sean Lindsay and Jeremy Cousar represented Robeson County along with Purnell Swett offensive lineman Codi Locklear. Locklear held his own against faster defensive ends while Lindsay nearly came down with an acrobatic interception near the front of the end zone during individual sessions.
West Bladen’s Zach Wilcox, one of eight quarterbacks at the combine, had a solid outing along with Jack Britt’s Mark McRae and Overhills’ Danny Karrs.
“There were a bunch of kids that improved their shot at college football today and that’s the goal for this event,” Rimpf said.
Individual results from Saturday’s combine are available at bigshowcombine.com.