By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Duke Upshaw has been a big name in Baldwyn athletics since last season as an eighth grader.
His name has grown in the state and he just returned from the national stage at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio.
“It went pretty good. There was a lot of competition out there. I went against a lot of it,” Upshaw said.
The freshman running back and cornerback – he’s 5-foot-11, 170 pounds – got to see areas where he wants to improve.
“I want to improve on moving my feet a little quicker as a DB and try to get my speed up a little bit more, keep on working,” he said.
Upshaw was the second Bearcat to attend the event, after former Baldwyn and Georgia quarterback Blake Barnes.
One Combine spokesman said less than 5 percent of the 500 invitees are freshmen.
Upshaw led the Bearcats in rushing as an eighth grader and had 3.4 tackles per game. He averaged nearly 35 yards per kick return. He missed five games this season with a knee injury.
Part of the competition at the combine in Texas was Cordell Broadus, a freshman wide receiver from Diamond Bar, Calif.
Broadus is the son of rapper Snoop Dogg; Upshaw was impressed with the younger Dogg.
Broadus already has an offer from UCLA. Upshaw is rising his way to offers of his own. He was named a second-team Freshman All-American by MaxPreps.
He’s an Alabama fan and a basketball star at Baldwyn too. He led last season’s state finals team in points and rebounding. This season, Upshaw is scoring a team-second 15.6 ppg. for the unbeaten Bearcats.
He says he’s keeping the option to play either or both sports in college but has work to do before that time.
“It really doesn’t matter. I just want to keep my grades up and I can do either one of them,” Upshaw said.