USAAB East Offensive Preview
Nick Alajajian
Nick Alajajian
Regional Recruiting Manager
Posted Dec 29, 2008
Bob Lichtenfels


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS --Scout.com will be on hand covering the U.S. Army All-American Bowl once again and we should be treated to some great action provided by some outstanding athletes. Here is a preview of the East offensive unit.

Quarterback:

There are only so many balls to go around so how East head coach Terry Smith plans on using four quarterbacks is anyone’s guess. Penn State bound dual-threat quarterback Kevin Newsome will have a lot of eyes on him. Everyone wants to put him under the microscope just like Terrelle Pryor was last year. We will all have a chance to see if his mechanics have improved since last January’s combine. (Tampa/Fla./Plant) gunslinger Aaron Murray has been referred to by some as the best quarterback prospect in this class. Murray should get lots of time, because one of the people who feel he is the best is his head coach for the week. (Hampton/Va./Phoebus) quarterback Tajh Boyd is an outstanding pocket passer who has been making more news with his recruiting than his success on the gridiron. The fourth quarterback for the East is (Springfield/Pa./Cardinal O’Hara) pocket passer Tom Savage. The Rutgers commit will be out to prove that he belongs with this talented group of quarterbacks.

Running Back:

(Oak Park/Mich.) tailback Edwin Baker may not be the household name that some of the other players on his team are, but he could be by week’s end. The future Michigan State Spartan can make a big splash on the grand stage. Last year, we watched Arthur Brown roam the defense at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, this year we get the chance to see his little brother Bryce Brown. Brown is a very talented running back from (Wichita, Kan.) and you will not see many better than him. (Lawrence County.Miss.) tailback Kendrick Hardy is a big back at 6-foot-0 and 210-pounds. The East features three backs all over 200-pounds, but in a game like this ball control offense is not allowed, so the man the player who is best in space and can catch the ball is usually more valuable and that could be (Sumter/S.C.) tailback Roderick McDowell who at 5-foot-10 and 175-pounds is the smallest of this talented quartet.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

This is the position where someone always steals the show. There is a wealth of talent at the wide receiver position, but not a lot of size like we saw last year with the twin towers Jonathan Baldwin and DeAndre Brown who both stood above the 6-foot-5 mark. The tallest of the crew this year will be Kraig Appleton (East St. Louis/Ill.) at 6-foot-3 and 190-pounds and Josh Adams (Cheshire/Conn.) at 6-foot-4, unless of course you count hybrid tight end Logan Thomas (Brookville/Va.) at a whopping 6-foot-6. Thomas can play tight end or spread the field at wide receiver. Another tight end and Notre Dame commit Jake Golic at 6-foot-4 will also provide a big target in the middle of the field. Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla.) is the smallest player at the position at 5-foot-8 and 165-pounds, but he also could be the most exciting as well. We expect him to make an impact in the slot and in the return game. Corey Brown (Gateway/Pa.) who is headed to Ohio State is the wild card of this crew. He could be a lockdown corner, but he could also be the best wide receiver on the East team. Je’Ron Stokes (Northeast/Pa.) is another player who could excel in this type of format.

Offensive Line The offensive line could be the biggest bright spot for the East team led by a number of dominant prospects including (Naples/Fla.) guard Nick Alajajian who can play guard or tackle the destructive force is headed to Florida to play for Urban Meyer’s Gators. Representing the state of Ohio and the Midwest is (Glenville/Ohio.) five-star offensive tackle Marcus Hall. Hall is as nasty as any linemen we have seen all season. We received word on Sunday that the East team would be without the services of (Briarcrest Christian/Tenn.) standout Austin Long who suffered an injury and will not play.

(Meadowbrook/Va.) tackle Morgan Moses struggled at the Hawaii Prep Classic a few weeks ago, he will be trying to redeem himself and show that the performance was a fluke. (Jack Britt/N.C.) tackle Xavier Nixon may be the most fundamentally sound linemen in the nation. He will be counted on heavily to protect the East quarterbacks. Penn State recruit Eric Shrive (West Scranton/Pa.) will be out to prove that his lofty ranking on Scout.com is well deserved. Shrive is very athletic for a man his size and he could prove to be one of the most dominant prospects here. Brennan Williams (Catholic Memorial/Mass.) is not as physically developed as some of the other players at the game, but he may have the most upside of any of them. He could be like Stefen Wisniewski was a few years ago, he struggled in practice against the bigger players, but shined in the game. Wisniewski is well on his way to becoming a potential All-American at Penn State. Georgia commit Chris Burnette rounds out the offensive linemen. The (Troup/Ga.) prospect is one of the only true guard prospects on the East roster.

Kicker

Special teams always seem to get overlooked in games like this. A good kicker can make or break you and the East squad has a good one in Brendan Gibbons (Cardinal Newman/Fla.). The future Wolverine has a 93-percent touchback rate on his kickoffs and nailed 10-12 field goals this year, including a long of 52-yards.



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