This year’s O-D Bowl is shaping up to be the most exciting installment in the series’ history. The East squad, which is 3-0, is looking to continue its winning ways, but a strong West squad looks to claim the region’s first victory in the short lifespan of the Bowl.
Throughout this week, we will have practice notes on each and every player in attendance. We will also have video interviews, photos and recruiting updates from both squads. The talent is strong on both sides, but here are a couple things to watch for this week.
The quarterbacks on this team are interesting. You have a national recruit in Notre Dame commitment Andrew Hendrix, joined by two underdog types who are FBS recruits nonetheless. In-state product Chase Dodd, a Rutgers commit and Dylan Favre (Brett’s nephew) are both undersized, but bring plenty to the table in terms of accuracy and moxie.
They will be throwing to a good group of receivers lead by five-star Adrian Coxson. A Penn State commitment, he recently took an official visit to Florida and his recruiting developments are ones that will be followed closely here. Clemson commit DeAndre Hopkins and a sleeper, Clifford Morgan, an Iowa State commitment are two other receivers who add firepower.
The running backs are a strong group. Georgia commit Ken Malcome, Vanderbilt commit Jerell Priester and Mustafa Green, who holds a number of FBS offers should make life easier on the quarterbacks.
They will be running behind an offensive line which is not short on size. Two from Ohio are on the bookends, in 6’7, 300-lb Skyler Schofner, a Michigan State commitment and 6’8 Kevin Scholoemer, a Cincinnati commit.
On defense, the East have four big time ends in four-star prospects Lynden Trail, Zack McCray, Corey Crawford and T.J. Stripling, all who are ranked in the top 30 nationally. There is no shortage of bulk inside either with Denzel McCoy and 6’4, 300-lb Daquan Jones plugging up the interior.
In the secondary, the East feature cornerback Tony Grimes, one of the more physical corners in the country and ball-hawking Blake Sims, an Alabama commit, at safety.
If the West squad is to breakthrough for its first win, good quarterback play will be a must and they will have some talent at that position. Case McCoy, the younger brother of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy joins Colorado State commit Peter Thomas and an exciting, athletic player in Terrance Broadway under center.
They will be handing off to one of the best running backs in the country, Brennan Clay, and looking to pass it to more California products, speedy five-star wide receiver Kenny Stills and four-star Paul Richardson. The tight ends, Caleb Southworth and Alex Smith, both hail from Ohio. Smith is a highly regarded pass receiver, but don’t sleep on Southworth, who could turn some heads this week.
The offensive line should be strong, with Washington commit and four-star tackle Erik Kohler leading the way. Four-star guards Nick Rowland and Adam Shead will help make up a strong interior along with 6’8, 365-lb USC commitment Dakota Smith.
This secondary for the West should issue a tough challenge to the East passing game. Three four-star safeties, Ronne Vinson, Dion Bailey and Corey Cooper will patrol the middle of the field. The cover corners should be good with Shaquille Richardson and Mylan Hicks leading the way. Hicks missed much of his senior season with an injury and it will be good to see the aggressive, four-star cornerback on the field again.
Two four-star prospects for Cali, Hayes Pullard, of Crenshaw, and Oaks Christian’s Zac Stout, a BYU commitment, will man the middle of the defense at linebacker. Pullard is uncommitted, but has several big time offers and will be a kid we monitor all week.
Notre Dame commit Justin Utupo will be one we watch closely. A bit of a tweener, he may get a chance to play both inside and out this week. The ends will have size to them, including 6’6 Kareem Martin and 6’7 Henry Anderson.
We will have plenty more from these players and all the others down in Myrtle Beach all week leading up to Saturday’s game.