Faison 2021

Eastern Wayne running back Rahkeem Faison trains with personal trainer Michael Harper at the Eastern Wayne High football field Monday in preparation for the 2022 National Combine.

Eastern Wayne freshman running back Rahkeem Faison is one of a handful of underclassmen across the nation invited to participate in the 2022 National Combine at the All-American Bowl in January.

Faison, who spends his days training, was selected along with other athletes to attend by invitation only on Jan. 6 through 8 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Athletes are not able to apply or be nominated to attend the combine.

“For seniors it’s a good experience, but for freshmen and sophomores going on to the next level, it’s even better,” Faison said.

The combine will feature a variety of drills that test the speed, agility, leaping ability and overall athletic ability of athletes. The drills include the 40-yard dash, the 20-yard shuttle, the vertical jump test, the power push-up test, the three-cone shuttle and the broad jump test.

Collegiate scouts will be attendance at the combine and will evaluate players based on their performance during the drills.

Faison said he was honored to be one of the few freshmen in the country invited to attend.

He did not know he was chosen until his mom opened up a letter addressed to him that notified him of the selection and invitation to participate in the National Combine.

“My mom told me the good news,” he said. “I really didn’t know about it until then.”

Since then, he has been working with a trainer, Michael Harper, who has also trained professional football players Jarran Reed, a defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Justin Cates, a standout defensive lineman at North Carolina A&T who now plays for the Edmonton Football team of the Canadian Football League.

Reed and Cates are from Goldsboro.

Harper is helping Faison to improve his speed and agility for many of the drills at the combine, such as the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle and the three-cone shuttle.

Harper said Faison is great to work with because of his positive attitude and strong work ethic.

“He’s a gifted athlete, but the main thing is that he is even better off the field,” Harper said. “He’s humble. He’s got his head on straight. He is very respectful, and he has great character. That’s the main thing that I look at.”

Eastern Wayne’s head football coach Leander Oates said Faison being invited to the National Combine was a big moment for the Warriors football program.

“I know how much hard work this kid puts in,” Oates said. “I know that he will be a great representation of not just for this school but for the whole county.

“I think it is going to open doors for many more athletes that come through here.”

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