Running back debate
There is a legitimate argument for who’s the West’s best No. 1 running back -- Justin Davis or Thomas Tyner.
Davis has been the top running back in the West all year, and is ranked No. 1 nationally right now by Scout.com. But after Thomas Tyner’s big senior season, which featured an eye-popping 10-touchdown game, and then a fine week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, he’s made a case that he may in fact be the best running back in the region, and perhaps the country.
The debate for the national top spot goes even deeper because of what a deep class this is. Five-star Alex Collins -- currently ranked No. 6 overall -- dominated at the Semper Fi practices and five-star and No. 2 overall Derrick Green looked great at the Army Bowl. It will be very tough for Davis to hold on to that top spot in the rankings.
-- Brandon Huffman and Greg Biggins
No doubting Nkemdiche
Robert Nkemdiche is a special player and he showed that in Orlando at the Under Armour All-America Game.
The No. 1 national recruit was dominant in practice before getting a little dinged up late in the week. He showed everyone why he is considered one of those special prospects. He may not have a huge upside, but he does at a high level what so many defensive linemen only dream of doing.
Who's the No. 2 QB in the country? Currently spot-holder Cooper Bateman struggled a bit in Orlando.
-- Chad Simmons
Who's No. 2 at QB?
It's a pretty solid consensus that five-star USC commit Max Browne is the nation's top signal caller. After that, things look murky.
Five-star Alabama commit Cooper Bateman is the current No. 2, but he struggled a bit during the Under Armour All-America week. Could Christian Hackenburg, currently a four-star ranked fifth overall, make a big jump up to the No. 2 spot? How about five-star Shane Morris (currently No. 3) or four-star Kevin Olson (No. 4)? It's definitely a tough debate and no one has really separated themselves from the pack.
-- Greg Biggins
Busy month for Vanderdoes
Eddie Vanderdoes is going to have a busy and stressful month.
The West’s top defensive tackle, and a top 10 player nationally, the Auburn (Calif.) Placer prospect had been committed to USC for five months before he decommitted prior to getting to San Antonio for the Army Bowl. He has already officially visited UCLA and Washington and will visit the two teams playing for the BCS National Championship, Alabama and Notre Dame, as well as USC, in January. Its likely that he won’t decide until Signing Day.
-- Brandon Huffman
Big commit for 'Canes
Alquadin Muhammad committed to Miami (FL) during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Muhammad is a four-star defensive end from Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.). This is a must get for the Hurricanes, as they look to fortify their defensive front.
Muhammad brings great speed and quickness as a defensive end. Just 6-foot-3 and 235-pounds, Muhammad needs to bulk up. Once he does he should provide the 'Canes some much needed rush off the edge. Miami wants to get back to dominating the line of scrimmage and landing a player like this is one step closer. Muhammad was clearly one of the top prospects in this game and had an outstanding week in San Antonio at the Army Bowl.
-- Jamie Newberg
Redfield on the rise
Max Redfield is one of the premier defensive prospects in the country.
We’ve always been high on Redfield -- he was an early Scout 100 player as a junior -- and he’s always been one of the top safeties in the country. But he’s always been overshadowed by Su’a Cravens in the West’s top safety ranking.
After a great week in Orlando at the Under Armour All-America Game, Redfield showed he is not only one of the best safeties nationally, but has to be considered one of the elite prospects, regardless of position, in this class. The Notre Dame commit went into the Under Armour game as the No. 7-ranked safety in the country.
-- Brandon Huffman
Speaking of defensive backs, we've called it the year of the DB out West, and several besides just Redfield stood out at the various All-American games.
Tahaan Goodman is one of the many quality rising defensive back prospects out West.
Four-star Johnny Johnson had a great week at Semper Fi, showing why he's the top-rated corner in California (No. 7 overall). At the Under Armour game, safety Max Redfield put on a show all week and will likely see a nice bump in his next ranking. At the Army Bowl, high school teammates Tahaan Goodman (No. 5 overall safety) and Chris Hawkins (No. 8 overall cornerback) both looked very good as well, further demonstrating what a loaded year it is at the defensive back positions.
Out East, don’t doubt the smaller corners. Four-star Shaquille Wiggins (Georgia commit) and four-star Noel Ellis were arguably the two best cover guys at the Under Armour game throughout the week. They have great short space quickness, they read receivers well, and they more than showed they can play in the SEC.
-- Greg Biggins and Chad Simmons
Robinson puts on a show
Maybe it wasn't seen in Saturday's game, but clearly the top receiver for the East squad this week at the Army Bowl was wide receiver Demarcus Robinson from Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County High School.
This 6-foot-3 and 200-pound four-star receiver has terrific size and good speed. He consistenlty caught everything thrown his way.He runs good routes and knows how to use his body. Robinson can work the sidelines or the middle of the field very well.
Robinson committed to Clemson first, then Florida. Shortly after his pledge to the Gators, he flipped back to the Tigers. Robinson was scheduled to make a firm commitment during the game but elected to pass. He told Scout.com after the game that Clemson held a slight lead over Notre Dame and Florida was third. Robinson needs to decide soon. He's supposed to enroll in school next week.
-- Jamie Newberg
Star coming to South Bend
Will Fuller could be the next star in the making for Notre Dame.
Wide receiver Will Fuller, who is committed to Notre Dame, was always a sound tactician, but his ability to explode out of breaks and accelerate away from a defensive back this week was amazing. The Roman Catholic High (Philadelphia) standout has very good hands and also tracks the ball well, going up high above the defensive back to catch the ball at his highest point.
Fuller's biggest weakness is his size. He's 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, so it will take time for him to break into the Irish rotation, but he has all the talent to be a star.
-- Brian Dohn
Rhodes is one to watch
Baylor has themselves an electric wide receiver in five-star Robbie Rhodes.
The nation's No. 2 wide receiver prospect is a kid I had never seen before, but I left feeling he was one of the best players in this class. He is explosive when he gets the ball in his hands, and he is the type of receiver that can make plays on the outside or inside. He is very good now and is going to get a lot better.
-- Chad Simmons
Averett a good talent for 'Bama
Alabama commit Anthony Averett isn't a physical cornerback, but after watching him throughout the week of practice for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, there is no doubt he can cover for the Crimson Tide and be an SEC corrnerback.
Averett needs to gain weight and strength, but he has excellent hips, acceleration and speed. The Woodbury (N.J.) High product was willing to play safety in practice because of depth issues -- an important indicator about his mindset of working hard to get on the field.
-- Brian Dohn
Strong Year for Defensive Tackle
The West squad at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl had a quartet of impressive defensive tackles led by A'Shawn Robinson and Eddie Vanderdoes, who are both overpowering at the point of attack. Both players are still on the market and will have coaches battling for their signatures until National Signing Day.
Texas A&M had a pair of commitments as well who look to be the perfect compliment to each other and will make a formidable duo in college. Justin Manning is extremely quick off the ball and will wreak havoc in the backfield and make plays and Isaiah Golden is the bigger, stronger gap plugger who can push his blocker straight back and blow up plays.
-- Greg Powers
Top Running Back Debate
The debate for the top running back continues to rage on. The only thing we can tell you is that 1-10 they are all terrific.
Three of the top running backs were in the game. Thomas Tyner starred in West practice and was likely the Offensive MVP.
On the East Derrick Henry and Derrick Henry were battling all week for who the best back was. Henry has tremendous size and is a bruiser, but also has a high level of athleticism. Green is the do it all back. He can run in between the tackles and also has the explosion to take it to the house.
Odds are one of that trio will end up as the number one running back in the country.
-- Greg Powers