The Third Annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
features some of the top college prospects from around the country. There is
always a steep learning curve for the first day of practice at All-Star games,
and today's day was cut short when the morning session was rained out.
The rain gave the teams extra classwork time, and the extra off field
preparation showed as the players hit the field in the afternoon ready to run
the offenses and defenses that were installed earlier in the day.
While there was a heavy rain in the morning, the sun was out in the afternoon.
Several players from the East squad quickly showed why they belonged in an
All-American type of game.
I spent the afternoon session studying the offensive side of the ball, and two
of the players that stood out quickly were Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech
Commitment) of Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, Ga. and Michael Bowman
(Alabama Commitment) of Ridgeland High School in Georgia. While the field held
up well from the morning rain, it was still wet, and the wet track gave the big
receivers, Hill and Bowman are 6-4 and 6-5 respectively, an edge over their
smaller, quicker teammates.
The players were virtual mirror image of eachother in size, route running, big
plays, and leaping ability.
Stedman Bailey of Miramar, Fla. (West Virginia Commitment) had one of the
toughest catches of the day when he went low to pull a ball off of his shoetops
during the 7v7 segment. Bailey had a small advantage on the day with teammate
and fellow Mountaineer Commitment Eugene Smith as his quarterback.
Larry Raper is one of the fastest players in the country, and even on a wet
track, it was easy to see his explosion. He is listed on the roster as an
athlete and sometimes struggled catching the ball today. He may get some touches
at running back. Raper is almost unstoppable in the open field, and if he can
become more fluid catching the ball, he'll be a big time weapon on the next
The benefactors of the talented wide receiver corp. were Smith and Zach
Mettenberger (Georgia Commitment). Both Smith and Mettenberger are bigb
quarterbacks (6-4 and 6-6 respectively). Smith is the more mobile of the two,
and Mettenberger has the stronger arm. Both of them make all of the necessary
throws and should put pressure on the back and outsides of the defense with
their ability to hit any part of the field.
The safety valve for any quarterback is a big tight end, and the East squad had
two today that made big plays. Philip Lutzenkirchen (Auburn Commitment) and
Desmond Parks (Florida Commitment) each had tough catches and each will get the
opportunity to play some fullback in the game. Lutzenkirchen is absolutely
outstanding at adjusting to the ball in the air and making tough catches on
throws that aren't right at him, and Parks displayed a lot of the same ability
At running back Lonnie Pryor (Florida State Commitment) showed an excellent
burst and vision in traffic in the simulated scrimmage. He's bigger than I was
expecting looking to be a solid 5-10 and 180 pounds and showed some between the
tackles power. Pryor made catches out of the backfield look easy. He's another
player that is electric in the open field and could bust big plays in the game
Molding a cohesive unit on the offensive line is always one of the most
difficult jobs of the coaches at an All-Star game. The best lineman on a team
usually plays left tackle, and there are six players on the East squad that
played left tackle this year for their high school teams. Nearly all of the
linemen will play a new position this week, although many of them may find the
transition to be a full time on in college.
Andre Harris (Auburn Commitment) lined up at left tackle. Harris is a punishing
run blocker that had a little trouble in pass protection with defensive end
Andre Civil (Rutgers Commitment) when Civil would speed rush.
Antonio Foster (Georgia Tech Commitment) lined up at guard and showed good
leverage and technique on the running plays. Closer to 6-2 than his listed 6-4,
Foster will likely stay at guard as he moves on to the next level.
Jonotthan Harrison (Florida Commitment) is another tackle from high school
making the transition to guard for the game this week. Harrison took to the
position well his first day, but he said the move is temporary as Florida is
recruiting him to play tackle. Either way, he showed enough versatility to get
on the field for the Gators at either position depending on need.
Lawrence Martin of Seabreeze High School in Daytona, Fla. manned the right
tackle position on opening day, and Penn State Commitment Ty Howle looked strong
at center. Maybe even more importantly in a game like this, Howle showed that he
is a skilled deep snapper as well.
I didn't get a chance to watch the defense as closely as the offense in the
afternoon session, but with some limited scrimmage and 7v7, there was still a
chance to see some defensive players.
Safety Jonathan Scott, also of Seabreeze, certainly looks the part as he
measures in at 6-4 and 190 pounds. Arkansas Commitment LeRon Furr made a nice
read on a draw play that resulted in a tackle for loss.
Kwame Geathers of Carver's Bay High School in Georgetown, S.C. is listed at 6-6
and 320 pounds, and he looks every bit of it. Geathers is one of those players
that has all the tools to be as good as he wants to be.
As mentioned earlier, Andre Civil also had a solid day at rush end working
The 3rd Annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl will be shown live on Fox
College Sports Friday January 2nd at 5:00 PM EST. Scout.com will have updates,
analysis and player interviews throughout the week.