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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 level.
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 today.
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 on Friday.
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.