The UnderArmour/ESPN All-Star game is on Saturday, January 5th, with practices beginning on Monday. Scout.com will be there to cover this event at each practice session. Let’s take a sneak peek at this star-studded game.
Quarterbacking Team Silver is E.J. Manuel (Virginia Beach, Va. – FSU commitment), Nick Crissman (Huntington Beach, Calif. – UCLA commitment) and Kyle Parker (Jacksonville, Fla. – Clemson commitment). Manuel is the No. 2 ranked signal for Scout.com, as he headlines this group. Manuel is a pocket passer who just happens to have the ability to evade the rush and make a play. He can stand tall in the pocket and pick you apart. Manuel will hang on to the ball, deliver an accurate pass and take the big hit. When he has time to set his feet he can throw with great velocity. Both Crissman and Parker are accurate passers. Parker has good athletic ability and shows good instincts for the position while has good size, poise and pocket presence.
Team Silver has four explosive running backs highlighted by Jamie Harper (Jacksonville, Fla.), the Scout.com No. 5 rated running back in the nation. He has good size and if he doesn’t blow by you he can run through you or make you miss. He runs with power, finishes runs and has a good stiff arm. He shows excellent quickness, hips, feet and the ability to make a defender look silly in the open field. Harper has good vision, balance and instincts and can stop on a dime and show extraordinary change of direction and athleticism. Harper has blazing speed and is so explosive. He backfield mates are very good; Andre Ellington (Moncks Corner, S.C. – Clemson), Aundre Dean (Katy, Texas) and Brandon Barnes (Bunn, N.C. – N.C. State). Ellington has exceptional quickness and good speed. He also has superior vision and once he sees a crack of daylight Ellington shows a great burst and he’s gone. He also has the ability to change directions and makes great cuts while fully accelerated. Barnes is a two-way standout that runs with power and shows explosiveness while Dean is a north-south runner that shows good power and balance between the tackles.
Team Silver has a deep contingent at the wide receiver position led by the nation’s No. 2 prospect at that position in A.J. Green (Summerville, S.C. – Georgia). Green has it all; size, speed, hands and concentration. He is deadly in the air and is a big play waiting to happen. Two other big timers are Aldarius Johnson (Miami, Fla. – Miami) and Deion Walker (Christchurch, Va.). Both of these wideouts have excellent size and can be physical and dominating. Johnson uses his body well and does have the ability to break tackles after the catch while Walker can do it all from taking the short pass the distance, to going over the middle, to getting behind the secondary. Johnson is the nation’s No. 5 rated receiver and Walker is ranked No. 7 overall. The three other receivers on Team Silver are good ones in Derrick Grant (Austin, Texas – Texas), Chris Tolliver (Rayville, La. – LSU) and Antoine Hicks (Arlington, Texas – Texas). Like the three mentioned above this trio makes big plays.
Team Silver has two good tight ends in Blake Ayles (Orange, Calif. – USC) and Dwayne Allen (Fayetteville, N.C.). Ayles is the nation’s No. 3 rated tight end prospect that gets off the ball well and has soft hands. He has nice size and blocks well. Allen can do it all as a tight end and is just a good, all around athlete.
Team Silver’s offensive line is led by Antoine McClain (Anniston, Ala.). McClain, the No. 8 rated offensive tackle. The greatest thing McClain possesses is athleticism. He moves as well as any big man in the country. Mike Goodman (Miami, Fla. – Boston College) and Mark Buchanan (Austin, Texas – Texas) are the two other tackles on Team Silver. Buchanan has versatility to play either tackle or guard while Goodman is a good athlete that has excellent footwork and quickness for the position. Other members of the Team Silver offensive line are Braxton Cave (Granger, In. – Notre Dame), Allen Carroll (Oakland, Calif.), Matt Stankiewitch (Schuylkill Haven, Pa. – Penn State) and John Michael Boswell (Northport, Ala. – Alabama).
Team Silver has an athletic defensive front led by Daquan Bowers (Bamberg, S.C. – Clemson), the nation’s top rated defensive end. Bowers is your prototype strong side defensive end prospect that has very good athleticism, size and speed. At 260 plus pounds is has also played running back. The other d-end for Team Silver is another fine athlete in Chase Thomas (Marietta, Ga. – Stanford). Thomas has a great motor and can be relentless at the line of scrimmage. Team Silver has beef on the inside with tackles Brandon Thompson (Thomasville, Ga.), Templeton Hardy (Sardis, Miss. – Mississippi State), Roderick Davis (Houston, Texas), and Curtis Cunningham (Littleton, Co. – Colorado). Thompson can flat out be dominating at times and take over games with his penetration Hardy and Cunningham play with great motors and are both non-stop. Davis is strong, especially in the lower body and he excels against the run.
Like the group in front of them the Team Silver linebacker corps is active bunch. Andrew Sweat (Washington, Pa. – Ohio State), Daniel Franklin (Mount Airy, Ga. – Oklahoma), Nigel Carr (Jacksonville, Fla. – Florida State) and Keanon Cooper (Dallas, Texas) all get to the football in a hurry. Sweat is a speedy and athletic linebacker. He runs exceptionally well in pursuit, showing good reaction time, instincts and explosiveness. Sweat is agile, smart, physical and tough. Franklin is at his best on the move. He has good speed and is great on the blitz. Franklin is always in attack mode and is aggressive and physical, especially in the tackling department. He fights through traffic well, shows good vision, tenacity, agility and is relentless in pursuit. Carr is a playmaker of the defensive side of the ball with outstanding closing speed. His read and recognition is so quick. Carr is explosive and chases as good as any linebacker in the country. He can rush the passer and play the run. Cooper, who projects as a strong safety, plays very well against the run, showing good closing speed and is a sound tackler.
The Team Silver secondary is strong. Cornerbacks Brandon Harris (Miami, Fla.), Xavier Brewer (Jacksonville, Fla. – Clemson), Anthony Dye (Coronoa, Calif.) and Terrance Parks (Fairburn, Ga. – Florida State) all have excellent cornerback skills and are versatile athletes. Dye has good speed and quickness. He can turn with the receiver and has good hips. He has a good burst and breaks on the ball well. When beaten he shows good recovery speed. Dye is tough in run support. Harris, the No. 5 rated cornerback in the nation, has good size, excellent speed and quickness, good hips, and vision. He shows a good burst, plays the ball well in the air and shows no fear. Parks is versatile enough to come up in press and not allow his receiver off the line of scrimmage or play off in zone and jump a route. Has good range, long arms, and can come up to play the run. Brewer is a guy that will surprise some folks with his game. Brewer can be physical in run support and has good burst and quickness. He plays the pass exceptionally well, showcasing excellent cover skills. Brewer can jump through the gym and plays the ball well in the air. He also shows excellent instincts and hands. Brewer is also a super kick returner who has very good speed and shows surprising power. He has good vision, excellent balance and is quick in the open field.
The Team Silver safeties are Dee Finley (Auburn, Ala. – Florida), Spencer Adams (Matthews, N.C.), T.J. Lawrence (Lakeland, Fla.) and Stanley Yarbrough (Clovis, Calif.). Finley, the No. 4 rated safety, is a strong safety with size and speed. He plays the position with a linebacker mentality. Finley has good range, instincts and anticipation. Adams has great upside. He has size, speed, and can close well. Adams is also good in coverage. Lawrence is a versatile athlete that could do a number of different things and star on either offense or defense.
The Team Silver kicker is Jeff Locke (Glendale, Az. – UCLA). He excels at both kicking and punting and is the No. 3 rated punter in the nation.
Andrew Bone will provide a preview of the Team Red later on today.