03/21/12  If it’s May in South Bend Indiana that means football, and we’re not talking about the Irish. The 2nd Annual Northern Indiana Regional Football Combine is scheduled for Saturday, May 12, at Jackson Intermediate School, 5001 Miami Street in South Bend.

The combine is open to high school prep football players and is designed as a venue for athletes to test their skills in front their peers and college coaches. Over 90 coaches from Division 2 and Division 3 colleges have been invited.

The Regional Combine was the brainchild of Army Capt. Wesley Lewis, company commander of the South Bend Army Recruiting Company. Last year’s Combine drew over 350 high school football players and several college coaches. “I was looking for a way to showcase the Army as a good neighbor and friend to the South Bend community,” Lewis said. “There are several direct connections between high school athletics and the Army with their focus on the team concept and having similar core values.”

Lewis has enlisted the assistances of South Bend area prep football coaches to organize the logistics of the event and to run the various combine testing stations.

“This really is a top-notch event, and given the fact that the cost to the athletes is minimal it would be foolish to pass up,” Karl Geissler, manager of PowerMax Equipment and a guest speaker at this year’s event, said. Geissler has extensive experience in organizing athletic events including the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. “The first Combine was organized in such a manner that the 300-plus football players, their families and the college recruiters were able to have an event that finished on time and on schedule,” Geissler said. “The thoughtfulness of execution, the operational details and abundance of resources was outstanding. The Chicago Recruiting Battalion is a top-notch organization and one that I am honored to be involved with as a sponsor and contributor.”

The Combine is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. Combine testing events include height and weight measuring, bench press, medicine ball toss, 40-yard dash, short shuttle, vertical jump and the broad jump. Player data sheets also contain complete profiles and high school GPA.

This year’s guest motivational speaker is Jack Lengyel, the former Marshall University football coach depicted in the hit sports movie, “We are Marshall.”

This year’s Combine is set to accommodate 500 athletes and players can register by visiting their local Army Recruiting Station or logging on to www.NIRFC.com. Registration for the Combine runs through April 30.