An already strong West defensive line was fortified today with the additions of Will Sutton, Montez Robinson and DeQuinta Jones.
For the second straight day, the 1-1s between the offensive and defensive lines were entertaining to watch. Robinson showed the quickness and speed which makes him one of the top pass rushers in the nation as he easily got around Everett Benyard on his first rep. Then, he set up Benyard to the outside and beat him with a quick spin inside, which caught the attention of his coaches.
Sutton was good as well. He isn't the biggest guy, but he uses his size to his advantage as he gets low and has a good rip move and quick feet.
Jones struggled some at first, but picked it up later in the day. He has pretty good hands and his swim move is good. He seemed to tire though and needs to improve his footwork. He did manage to rip through Ivory Wade on one rep. Wade has been the best offensive lineman here this week, so that was a good sign for Jones. We'll be watching him more closely over this week as today was his first day.
Ty Phillips for the second day straight was virtually unblockable (at least by offensive linemen, more on that later). He beat Sam Womack first with an athletic inside move and the simply bowled him over and got to the QB again. He's establishing himself as one of the best players here.
Kevin Young worked with linebackers some today and then hurt his ankle and sat out the second part of the morning session.
Derek Johnson is a big kid, who is strong, but is learning that there are other big, strong kids out there who can handle his bull rush. As a result, he is having to learn some techniques and seemed to get better with that today.
Out of the linebackers, Darius Moffett and Trevor Erno have stood out the most and those two have also been the most vocal. Moffett is one of the smoother kids out there, he moves well. Erno has some explosion to his game as well and he likes contact.
In the secondary, Tommie Hopkins has been the standout. He consistently broke on the ball well and made plays in 1-1s with the wide receivers.
Fritz Rock is learning safety this week. The wide receiver/linebacker in high school is adjusting and learning. He is the biggest of the defensive backs and is a good athlete, he just needs to pick up the technical side and see things better. While he is likely a safety in college, he may also see some time at wide receiver this week.
The starting secondary is probably Charles Childers and and Roland Pierce at the corners, with Hopkins and a safety yet to be determined.
On offense, after being a little inconsistent yesterday, Chris Garrett was the best of the quarterbacks today. He threw the ball with zip and was on the money consistently.
By contrast, Jordan Luallen was high on a few passes today and Raymond Cotton wasn't as consistent today as he was yesterday either.
Chad Bumphis has great explosion, which is why he is likely to be the punt returner for the West as well. He has been the best route runner out of all the receivers here and drew praise from the coaches for his precision.
Caleve Deboskie drifted on a few routes, which he was corrected on. Later on, he made a couple nice catches and he also should get a look at returning kids as well.
The running backs are very very quick. Jamal Miles and Aaron Hardwick have great burst. Dexter Pratt is definitely a running back now that David Oku isn't coming. Pratt moved around from tailback to fullback and looks great. He has really nice burst for a bigger kid. I expect a strong game out of him.
On the offensive line, Wade, who was the best one yesterday, had a nice day. However, the best offensive lineman today was center Darren Denucci. He blocked everyone he went up against and has great fundamentals. Everett Benyard, after being beaten on the speed rush, crushed the man across from him in run blocking.
Maybe the offensive player of the morning? Reid Fragel. He erases whoever is across from him and pancaked a couple guys today. He also is the only player who can block Ty Phillips. Later, he showed he wasn't just a blocker, going high above a linebacker to catch a pass up the seam. After not getting many passes thrown his way this season, I expect Fragel to be a favorite target of the quarterbacks here.
We will have more after the afternoon practice.