football Edit

All-American Bowl: Thoughts on the West team after day one

SAN ANTONIO - The West team had two light practices, but there was still plenty to see on the field. Here are some thoughts from Tuesday’s workouts.

MORE ALL-AMERICAN BOWL: Thoughts on the East team | Rival Views on TEs Arik Gilbert and Michael Mayer | Mind of Gorney on Media Day | Prospects that could earn a fifth star | Lavon Bunkley-Shelton | Jahmyr Gibbs | Dwight McGlothern | Bryan Bresee | Alfred Collins

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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Ohio State trio inspires confidence

CJ Stroud
CJ Stroud

Future Ohio State Buckeyes CJ Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Gee Scott Jr. flashed instant chemistry during the West practices. Stroud split reps with Bryce Young and Malik Hornsby and made a case as the top quarterback of the group. Stroud has a big arm, a great release and he’s able to quickly and smoothly get the ball out of his hands. When he found a rhythm, Stroud was hard to slow down.

The most interesting wrinkle, of course, is that he quickly turned to his future teammates during the 7-on-7 portion. Smith-Njigba, another Ohio State five-star signee, worked in the slot and showed he can stretch the field, catch passes underneath and was utilized a bunch on screen passes to let him work in space. Scott was also impressive on the outside, flashing exceptional hands throughout Tuesday’s practice and making a ton of grabs on go-routes and drags and running smooth routes.

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  Sewell continues to amaze  

With five-star linebacker Justin Flowe not in San Antonio, Noah Sewell has been called on to take on a bigger role at inside linebacker. And the fellow five-star linebacker was more than impressive in Tuesday’s practice. He’s massive at 6-foot-2 and 266 pounds, but the Oregon signee drops in coverage so quickly, moves laterally so well and he’s a monster against the run as well. Seeing Sewell at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge or other events is one thing. But when he’s in pads, the five-star is even more impressive-looking and he moves as well as any linebacker in this class.

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Doyle also looks good at LB

Speaking of big linebackers, Antonio Doyle had a strong showing, and at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, the Texas A&M signee takes up a lot of space. The former Missouri commit from St. Louis (Mo.) Lutheran North moves well for his size, had a pass deflection during team drills and it’s easy to see he’s a physical specimen who isn’t afraid to unload on receivers or running backs coming out of the backfield. His lateral quickness isn’t elite but he can move, cover and be physical. He should be really good in the Aggies’ defense.

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Receivers are impressive  

The West team should have no problem moving the ball through the air and it’s not only because the squad has great quarterbacks. There is a wide selection of receivers who stood out during the workout for various reasons. Smith-Njigba caught everything. Scott is a physical presence with speed. Stanford signee John Humphreys has tremendous length and excellent hands. Jalen McMillan quietly catches a lot of passes. Four-stars Gary Bryant, AJ Henning and Lavon Bunkley-Shelton can sneak behind defenders to make plays. Even without Demond Demas at practice, the West has weapons in the passing game.

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Wedig has first-round potential  

Trey Wedig
Trey Wedig

Arguably the most impressive offensive lineman for the West was Wisconsin signee Trey Wedig, who instantly grabbed our attention with his massive size. The Rivals100 tackle is every bit of 6-foot-7 and 300-plus pounds and looks the part of the next great lineman to come out of Madison.

Wedig was seamless during 1-on-1s. He has a great foundation, a strong base, extends his arms with exceptional power and boasts fantastic strength. When he squares up, he’s hard to beat.

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Utah signees headline impressive DL group

Xavier Carolton and Van Fillinger both signed with Utah during the Early Signing Period and are a very talented pair of defensive linemen on their way to Salt Lake City. During Tuesday’s practice, Fillinger turned heads with his size. He moves well, he’s quick off the ball and he was hard to wrangle up during the 1-on-1 portion. Carolton, too, was impressive. He has good hands and lateral quickness. He flashed a really imposing swim move and asserted himself during the team portion of the day.

Elsewhere, Rivals100 defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson was perhaps the best of this talented group of linemen. Jackson, a priority target for a host of SEC teams as February’s signing day approaches, played with an elite motor, pushed back offensive linemen and attacked the ball consistently. His teammate in the middle, LSU signee Jacobian Guillory, played like his nickname - “Tank” - and was a force in the middle with intense power and good movement for his build.