With four practices under their belt and players beginning to get comfortable, it was time to check…
O-D Bowl: Wednesday Evening Notebook
Scott Kennedy / Scout.com Director of Scouting Wednesday Live Updates O-D Roster O-D Story Index High school running backs do not typically have a chance to show off their ability as pass catchers. Why risk throwing the ball when an elite high school running back averages roughly 10 yards per carry? Oklahoma commit Brennan Clay (5-11/190) has lined up some as a slot receiver and has shown outstanding hands in receiver routes as well as out of the backfield. Oklahoma will be getting a back that can be used in a variety of ways to take advantage of his big play ability. Wide receiver Kenny Stills is another Oklahoma commit with big play ability. Stills (6-1/180) ran a 4.36 forty at a Scout Combine. In addition to being a big play receiver, Stills will get the opportunity to return kicks for the West squad. The offensive and defensive lines engaged in a spirited session of pass rush drills that gives each player the opportunity to shine in an isolated drill, rather than being lost in the trenches. Pass rush drills are inherently advantageous to the defensive player, because there is no threat of a run. It's always 3rd and long for this drill. Several players took advantage of the spotlight including several of the offensive linemen. Oregon commit Nick Rowland (6-4/295) continues to be the best offensive lineman for the west. He battled Oklahoma commit Torrea Peterson (6-4/290) to a draw in two reps before leaving early with a shoulder injury. Rowland said after practice that he shouldn't miss any time on Thursday and beyond. With Rowland out during the scrimmage, the West had little luck blocking the interior defensive linemen. While Rowland has had the best overall week for the West, it was Oklahoma commit Bronson Irwin (6-3/315) who had the best day. Irwin refused to be beaten and was the first player to stop Missouri commit Lucas Vincent (6-2/280); a feat he accomplished on successive plays. Yet another Oklahoma commit, Tyrus Thompson (6-5/280) recovered nicely after losing his first rep to Stanford commit Henry Anderson (6-6/245) to stop Anderson on his second rep and beat quick Notre Dame commit Justin Utupo (6-1/240) in both of their encounters. The defensive linemen still win the majority of the battles and arguably the top performance during the afternoon session came from uncommitted Kareem Martin (6-6/230). Martin showed a variety of skills to beat the blockers placed in front of him. Martin used his quickness advantage to beat USC commit Dak Smith (6-8/370) without really being challenged. Martin was also able to use a nice spin move to get past Washington commit Erik Kohler (6-5/300). Martin was undefeated on the day from his right end spot. If it wasn't Martin with the day's top performance, it was Oklahoma State commit Chris Littlehead (6-2/305). Littlehead is the strongest of the interior linemen, and he beat several of his blockers by simply getting his hands on them and tossing them to the side. But it's not just strength with the future Cowboy, Littlehead also showed a deft spin move and a quick first step. Previously mentioned Stanford commit Henry Anderson also showed well during the individual session. Anderson is the tallest of the West's defensive linemen, but he plays with surprising leverage and can power past the few offensive tackles fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to match his first step. Lucas Vincent was the day's best during Tuesday's session and was still one of the top performers for the West on Wednesday. His play didn't drop off; his teammates rose to his level and matched his production on Wednesday, which bodes well for the West's defense as a unit. Allen Trieu / Scout.com Midwest Regional Manager Adding to what Scott posted, I liked what I saw from Justin Utupo today. The Notre Dame commitment is quick and a tough matchup for many of the offensive linemen here. In team play, he got into passing lanes twice and batted away two screen passes. He's active and has a good feel for the game. The issue with him right now is his size and where he will lineup in college. He has a good football sense about him though, so I think he'll be able to pick up new positions rather easily. On both sides, no quarterback is really distinguishing themselves. On the West, I thought Case McCoy had the best day today, although Terrance Broadway threw a couple nice balls as well. On the offensive line for the West, Scott mentioned Tyrus Thompson. This is a kid who just needs a fire lit under him and losing his first rep today did it as he buried Anderson on the second rep. If he can keep up the intensity and get stronger, he'll be able to capitalize on his high ceiling. A recruiting note for the East, there has been some speculation on the commitment of Darius Robinson. I spoke with him after practice and he assured me that he is fully commmitted to Clemson and is not looking to visit any other schools. After watching the West one on ones, I went back to the East for their second one on one session with the linemen today. While neither stood out this morning, I thought Denzel McCoy and Lynden Trail both looked better in the afternoon. For DaQuan Jones, who has been a standout this week, it was business as usual. On the offensive line, Kevin Schloemer continues to impress. He is a coach's favorite as well. Austin Shepherd cooled down after an awesome morning practice, but still looked good out there at right tackle. The East wide receivers are picking it up. Adrian Coxson made a couple nice catches today and did not drop any easy ones, something he did a little bit of yesterday. Clifford Morgan needs some work on his route running, but has good hands. Blake Sims continues to impress with his overall athleticism and knack for making plays.
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