Intensity from the Start
Franklin three-star safety Carl Fleming (Pittsburgh) got things started in a big way when he unloaded on running back Davon Muse in the 7-on-7 passing drills. Muse needed to take a few reps off afterward and went to the sideline. As half the team worked the 7-on-7 drills the other half was working on an 8-on-8 running drill, a full defensive and offensive line with a quarterback, fullback and tailback on offense and three linebackers on defense. Players rotated between the two drills. When Fleming rotated to the running drill he again made his presence felt with his physical play. He has the physical play of a linebacker with the athleticism of a defensive back. Dunbar cornerback Courtney Bridget ( UNLV) was a wall in bump and run coverage. He did very well at engaging the receiver and riding right on their hip. Standing 6-foot-3 and 190-pounds he is a big, strong, physical corner that is a mismatch for most receivers. Edmondson-Westside linebacker David Mackall (Maryland) showed the most versatility in the drill on defense. He has great instincts and was all over the field. On one play he jumped a quick out and knocked down a sure catch. A few plays later he dropped deep in coverage to break up a pass 25 yards down field.
Offense Dominates in 7-on-7 Drills
Although the defense had its moments the offense beat the defense downfield on almost every deep ball. Dunbar five-star running back Tavon Austin put on a show on every rep. His best coming midway through the 7-on-7 drills, Austin had an incredible double move that sent the defender to his knees as Austin ran under the pass. Alec Lemon (Syracuse) had the longest catch of the day exploding past the defender 30 yards downfield and making the catch of 45 yards. Jakarie Jackson (Tuscarora HS) and Brandon Floyd (Loyola HS) each made several deep catches beating the linebacker on the flag route from the slot almost every time. Quarterback Grant Enders (Old Mill HS) was the most consistent thrower of the session. He throws a nice deep ball with touch as well as having good zip on the ball on the outs and crossing routes.
4.19 Forty…Are you Serious?
Yes, I am said Devon Smith (Penn State) as he torched the competition in the fastest man races. Each squad had two representatives in the races. The Baltimore Team had Jakarie Jackson and Lee Daniel (Woodlawn HS) versus the Washington Team of Devon Smith and Caleb Porzel (Maryland). The first race had Jackson going against Devon Smith with Smith coasting comfortably through the finish line winning by 3-4 yards. The second race was Porzel versus Daniel, with Porzel winning by 5-yards. The Championship was Smith versus Porzel with Smith winning by about 2-yards. A tremendous display of pure speed by both runners as Porzel ran a sizzling 4.33 only to be outdone by Smith’s 4.19!!!
Battle of the Bulge
The 8-on-8 running drills provided some great collisions from the big boys of the offensive and defensive lines. On this night the drill seemed geared more for the defense and coaching their leverage and pursuit angles. Defensive tackle Arnold Farmer (Poly HS) consistently drew excitement from the defensive coaches with his pursuit from the inside defensive tackle position. Brandon Copeland (Gilman HS) also did some good things on the defensive line. Linebacker Mike Kropkowski (North Harford), linebacker Matt Heacock (Loyola HS) and safety Carl Fleming had solid play throughout the drill. Terence Garvin (West Virginia) and Dominic Clarke (Ohio State) each made some good, physical runs. Nick Whittles (Archbishop Spaulding HS) and Brett Baer (Westminster HS) each had their moments as well.
Defense Dominates Scrimmage
Just as the offense dominated the 7-on-7 passing drills the defense dominated the last part of the practice during the offense vs. defense scrimmage. The offense strikes first with a pancake block of defensive tackle Caleb Morris (Fort Hill) by running back Darian Conners (Eastern Tech HS) on a sweep run. Conners is about 185-pounds and Morris about 245-pounds, but Morris ended up on his back and that is something because he is one strong player. He had to come off for a few reps. Then the defense and the pass rush were putting tremendous pressure on the quarterbacks play after play. Defensive ends Horace Miller (UNLV) on one end and Tim Willman (Connecticut) on the other were dominating the offensive line and getting to the quarterback. Running back Malek Redd (Central Michigan) did make a great play on Horace Miller. As Redd took the handoff heading towards Miller’s side Miller had the outside contained. As Redd cut and turned as if he was cutting inside, Miller shed the block and cut back inside the block to make the tackle. Just as quick Redd cut back outside and Miller ended up on his knees. Even as the play was continuing the players on both sides were whooping it up for that play by Redd. The offense never scored even when the ball was moved to the 20 and then the 10. The defense had great pursuit and stuffed the holes inside. The offense did make some plays here and there but will need to be more consistent against the powerful defensive line of the D.C. team. Maybe the Baltimore team defense is just that good!