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SAN ANTONIO - Sharrif Floyd plays with the mindset that he can't be blocked. It is an attitude that helped him develop into the nation's top-ranked defensive tackle prospect.
"That is not me being cocky, that is just me being real," said the 6-foot-3, 310-pounder from Philadelphia, Pa. "You better double team me or I am going to get to the quarterback. I might be nice off the field, but when I have a helmet on, I am a nasty kid."
In the practices leading up to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, no player on the East squad outperformed Floyd. And during the prestigious all-star game, he recorded two quarterback sacks.
"I actually had three sacks in the game, but they didn't record the last one," Floyd said. "That was my goal coming into the game, to get three sacks. I didn't want to leave empty handed."
East head coach George Quarles believes Floyd has a bright future at the University of Florida.
"Sharrif plays with great leverage. He gets under you and in this game, the low man wins," Quarles said. "Plus, he plays with a lot of heart and desire, stuff that you can't teach. He's very impressive."
Despite all the praise that Floyd has drawn this week in the Alamo City, he still hears the doubters.
"I cannot wait to start my college career," Floyd said. "There is so much doubt in a lot of people's minds that I am not going to do anything at the next level. I like that negativity because it drives me." - Adam Munsterteiger
U.S. Army All-American Bowl Week Top Performers
DT, 6-3/310, Philadelphia (Pa.) George Washington
Committed to Florida
Floyd dominated throughout the week and kicked things into high gear during the game with two sacks. Floyd's combination of intensity, leadership and strength and quickness made him a nightmare for the East offensive linemen in practice and the West offensive linemen in the game itself. For such a big tackle, his quickness off the snap is surprising and his sheer power allows him to handle double teams and still be disruptive in the offensive backfield. The most impressive physical specimen on the East squad played like it throughout.
2. Keenan Allen
DB, 6-3/195, Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford
Committed to Alabama
Allen showed off his impressive closing speed and amazing ball skills early in the week, dominating play for the East from his defensive backs position. In the game, he was equally impressive and flashed some of his offensive ability as well on a long kickoff return and a very impressive punt return. Allen also forced a fumble and recovered it although the play was incorrectly blown dead. Allen was only credited with one tackle in the game, but he seemed to be around the ball much more often than that.
3. Spencer Ware
ATH, 5-11/220, Cincinnati (Ohio) Princeton
Committed to LSU
Ware came into the week as the least-heralded back on the East squad and he is leaving as the most impressive, at least for this week. He ran hard and downhill during practice and in the scrimmage and in the game itself he was arguably the best offensive player for the East with 65 yards on just 8 carries. Ware runs with natural leverage, he loves contact and has great balance and body lean so he's always falling forward. He'll be tough to deal with for SEC teams.
4. Kyle Prater
WR, 6-5/205, Hillside (Ill.) Proviso West
Committed to USC
Prater was dominant all week and couldn't be covered or kept in check by a very good group of defensive backs on the East. However, in the game he struggled a bit with a couple of drops and a couple of close calls on pass breakups. Had he had a big game, he would have been No. 1 on this list. Still, he had three catches in the game and almost made a spectacular catch in the end zone over two defenders. Prater is the most college-ready prospect on either side and showed it this week.
WR, 6-2/182, McDonough (Ga.) Henry County
Committed to Tennessee
Ambles has a strong week, showing off his tremendous route-running ability, great hands and his combination of size and speed. In the game, he had one spectacular catch on a seam route but also had a big drop. But he showed his ability to make plays in traffic and he was wide open on at least a couple of occasions. Ambles returned to San Antonio where he dominated the Junior Combine last year and emerged as one of the top players in the country. Did he do enough this time around to earn his fifth star? Stay tuned.
DB, 5-11/170, Darlington, S.C.
Committed to South Carolina
Hampton was the biggest surprise of the week and showed off what he can do when he's focused and there aren't any distractions in his life. During the summer, Hampton struggled when he was transferring schools and dealing with other off-the-field issues but this week he was a different player. Now settled on South Carolina as his team and ready to show everyone how much he belonged here, Hampton was the best cornerback on a very talented East squad. He broke up passes, was strong in run support and was around the ball all week long.
7. Matt Elam
DB, 6-0/205, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer
Committed to Florida
Elam had a busy week but he was still able to focus on the football field. He was excellent during practice while in coverage and showed off his true strength, his ability to hit in run support, during the game. He made three nice solo tackles in the game and made his arrival to the ball known on each with big hits. Elam has very good instincts and reads the play well whether it's pass or run and with his physical nature you can tell he'll be a terror off the blitz as well in college. The safety combination of Elam and Allen was impressive for the East all week.
8. Shon Coleman
OL, 6-7, 285, Olive Branch, Miss.
Committed to Auburn
Each of the East offensive linemen had their moments during the week and in the game, but Coleman was the most consistent of all of them. He won the starting left tackle job from five-star Robert Crisp during the week and was excellent against some very impressive ends on the East and West. He showed very good feet, he used his arms well and didn't overreact to speed rushes and stayed low and handled bull rushes well despite his tall but thin frame. He still needs to fill out quite a bit and add more of a mean streak, but his upside is very impressive.
WR, 6-3/180, Miramar, Fla.
McCartney is quiet on and off the field and has plenty of work to do to fill out his slight frame, so he's not the first receiver you notice on the East. However, his route-running is nearly on par with Ambles and he uses his height and rare body control like Prater. McCartney is a glider who doesn't look like he's going full speed but he can turn on the jets as evidenced by his 50-yard touchdown in the game on a slant route. Whether it's running a tight out route and keeping his feet inbounds while making a catch or blocking downfield, McCartney does it all well. Once he adds some strength and weight, watch out.
10. Chris Martin
DE, 6-4/240, Aurora (Col.) Grandview
Committed to Cal
Martin played linebacker all week and that still might be a stretch for a prospect that looks bigger than many of the defensive ends and some of the tackles in the game. On his 6-foot-4 frame, Martin could easily bulk up to 280 his first year of college if he needed to. He's expected to play linebacker in a 3-4 set and he moves surprisingly well for a big man and is a terror moving forward. Martin is a sure tackler, he loves to hit and he's very powerful when taking on pulling linemen. Linebacker or defensive end, he covers space, makes tackles and is very active.
11. Jaylen Watkins
DB, 6-1/172, Cape Coral, Fla.
Committed to Florida
Allen and Elam got most of the attention in the defensive backfield for the East and Hampton surprised everyone with his stellar play, but Watkins was as steady as the rest. He has good size, long arms, very good upper body strength and he's physical. Watkins will come up and smack you in the run game, he's not afraid to play press coverage and he has good recovery speed. He also has a short memory, a key for a cornerback, and is a competitor. True cornerbacks with size are hard to find and Watkins could be a gem.
12. Latwan Anderson
ATH, 5-11/185, Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville
Committed to West Virginia
Anderson doesn't have ideal size at safety, but it doesn't matter because of his mentality and impressive athleticism. He's not afraid to take on bigger receivers or even tight ends and he will light anyone up who comes across the middle. However, the strength of his game is in pass support where he has great instincts, he flies to the football and he has uncanny ball skills. When the ball is in the air he becomes a receiver on defense and if he picks it, he's an instant threat to take it to the house. He'll also factor on special teams in college and could see some time on offense as well.
13. Jeffrey Whitaker
DT, 6-3/295, Warner Robins, Ga.
Whitaker is a plugger who plays with great leverage, has tremendous strength off the snap and not only takes up blockers but can beat double teams. He's built like a brick, plays with a pad level that frustrates opponents and his anticipation and ability to read the play is impressive. He had a tackle for a loss in the game itself and you can pretty much count on him for one of those a game at the next level if he continues to develop. He's not a natural pass rusher, but he's great against the run whether the play is coming at him or going away from him.