I watched the quarterbacks closely today. Zach Mettenberger’s arm strength really stands out. His passes have great zip and he doesn’t even look like he has to try to generate it. Accuracy wise, he was a tad spotty this morning, but not bad by any means. Of the three, I think Eugene Smith was the most impressive in the morning session. He has a nice, smooth release, but the ball comes out of his hand well. He also shows good ability to slide around in the pocket. Adam Morgan doesn’t quite have the arm the other two do, but he’s accurate underneath, smart and is a pretty solid athlete.
Michael Bowman and Stephen Hill have gotten all the headlines at wide receiver, but there is more to the East receiving corps than just those two. Steadman Bailey is a great route runner. He is precise and smooth in and out of his breaks. He was praised by the coaches for his routes today. Chris Fields has a lot of explosion. He can accelerate to the ball like no other receiver on the East can, however, he isn’t as natural when the ball is in the air as the other three. I’m interested to see what he can do after the catch in the game though as he has great speed and even stiff armed a would-be tackler to the ground today. Larry Raper saw some time at receiver today. He is a good athlete, but needs work on his routes.
One player who has really stood out both yesterday and today is Quandon Christian. The Clemson commitment is aggressive and can really close on the ball. He is on the lighter side, but he looks and plays like a future starter on the weakside.
The two other guys in the front seven who stood out today were a pair of east coast defensive ends in David Mackall and Andre Civil. Civil, at 6’5, 250, is long and athletic and when they went live, he was constantly in the backfield harassing the quarterback and meeting the running back behind the line. Mackall looked like one of the more athletic of the East linemen in drills and then made a couple nice stops during team play.
In the secondary, Kenneth Gilstrap was up and down at first, but more up as practice ended as he made a couple nice plays. Michael Giresi was able to come over the top and break up a deep pass intended for Bowman. Giresi is not the biggest guy, but is usually in good position to make a play.
After a fairly light morning practice, I’m expecting a more extensive afternoon session, so stay tuned for more notes live from Myrtle Beach.