All-American Bowl: Thoughts on the East team after Day 2
SAN ANTONIO - Day 2 of All-American Bowl practices have wrapped up. Here are some thoughts and observations from the East workouts:
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Bounce back day for five-stars
After Tuesday’s practice we wrote that No. 1 overall quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei did not stand out despite the other two East quarterbacks being ranked significantly lower. That was certainly not the case on Day 2, however, as the future Clemson quarterback was far and away the top passer on the East team. It was one of several bounce back performances from five-stars who started off the week slow.
Offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. had a very slow start on Tuesday and looked overwhelmed by the level of competition at times. The Ohio State tackle has still not played up to his top-10 billing, but Wednesday’s performance was an improvement as he is starting to adjust to the speed and skill of his opposition. Notre Dame wide receiver Jordan Johnson and Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy were both solid on Day 1, but stepped up their play on Day 2 to be among the best performances on the East. Johnson is developing a nice rapport with Uiagalelei and Murphy may have the most raw talent at this event.
Anderson goes to the next level
Alabama signee William Anderson came into the event looking to prove a point that he belonged to be in the discussions about the nation’s top defensive line prospect. After two days, he’s accomplished his goal. While he had a good day on Monday, Anderson took things to another level on Tuesday. First in the morning he gave his own teammates fits during 1-on-1s and 2-on-2s, then when the East and West teams came together, Anderson took it to another level. He was completely unblockable during 1-on-1s and showed impressive strength while dispatching larger offensive linemen. Anderson’s stock is on the rise this week and if he keep it going the rest of the week there will be a lot of discussions about where he belongs in the rankings.
Mismatch in the trenches?
When the East and West teams came together for offensive-defensive line 1-on-1s things didn’t go well for the West squad, especially when lining up against the East defensive linemen. With Anderson, Murphy, Bryan Bresee, Jamil Burroughs and others pinning their ears back, West offensive linemen had a tough time slowing them down. Obviously adjusting to the speed is one thing, but if Wednesday’s showing carries over into Saturday’s game, it could be a long day for the squad’s skill position players.
Gibbs shows off his speed
Longtime Georgia Tech commit Jahmyr Gibbs was one of the hottest prospects of the fall, garnering offers and becoming a prime target of programs like Ohio State, Alabama and others. Because he’s a late-comer to the national scene, not many of the other prospects have had a chance to see Gibbs in action. That’s why when Gibbs was blowing by opposing linebackers in receiving 1-on-1s other players could be heard fawning over his speed. Even going against the top linebackers in the country, Gibbs was basically uncoverable, adding another dimension to his impressive game. He’s the lowest-ranked running back on the East roster, but that might not be the case if things continue trending the way they are this week.
Ranking the East's best after two days
1. Bryan Bresee – The No. 1 overall prospect in 2020 has been dominant from the very beginning of East practices, and clearly has the respect of his fellow teammates.
2. Cody Simon – Linebackers traditionally do not stand out in all-star game practices, and that makes Simon’s performance so far this week all the more impressive.
3. William Anderson – The defensive line group has been solid as a whole, but Anderson and Bresee have been a tier higher than the rest so far.
4. Antonio Johnson – After a blazing fast start to practices Tuesday, Johnson was quiet for a spell before the joint session of 7-on-7 when he recorded another interception.
5. Joshua Downs – There are few players who have the ability to create separation as consistently as Downs, and that has made him a favorite target of the East quarterbacks.
6. Luke Wypler – The smallest offensive lineman on the East team has also been the most consistent. Wypler can stand to make strength gains, but the rest of his game is excellent.
Worth a mention
Although prospects like Bresee, Anderson and Johnson have taken much of the spotlight, there have been others on the East roster who have quietly had very solid showings. Auburn signee Kobe Hudson is not the biggest or the fastest wide receiver on the East, but he is a reliable pass catcher who always seems to find himself open. On the other side of the football, cornerback Jalen Kimber has made several nice pass break-ups. The Georgia signee has the ability to stay in a receiver’s hip pocket throughout his route, and then has the length to get his hands on a lot of footballs.
Down in the trenches, future North Carolina defensive tackle Clyde Pinder could end up making a lot of plays on Saturday if guys like Bresee and Anderson start commanding double teams on the edge. Pinder is quick and strong and has consistently been able to collapse the pocket and penetrate. Finally, Tate Ratledge has lived up to his five-star billing. He has played mostly right tackle for the East and that position suits him well, but he has the ability to kick inside if needed. Georgia fans are going to love his competitive, fiery playing style.
The East may have lost one of its top playmakers during Tuesday’s joint practice session. Five-star tight end Arik Gilbert finished Wednesday wearing an arm sling after falling hard on his shoulder during a one-on-one against West defensive back Kelee Ringo.
Rivals100 running back Jalen Berger spent the second half of Tuesday’s practice out of uniform with an ice bag taped to his knee. On Wednesday Berger was dressed for both sessions of practice, but we did not see him partake in any of the competition portions of either practice. He remains day-to-day.