SAN ANTONIO - Rivals.com looks at the top five news items from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in the Army Express. Each day Rivals.com will break down the biggest news, player injuries and updated recruiting news in a compact and easy to digest format. Practices kicked off Monday and as expected some of the best defensive players showed why they're ranked as five-star recruits.
1) Powell's perfect
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Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell was named the West's defensive player of the day and was easily the most impressive prospect on the field in day one. Will the domination continue throughout the week? Only time will tell, but on Monday there was nobody better.
He was tough to block in one-on-ones with his explosive takeoff and the quickness to get around a very big offensive line. He also constantly showed the most vocal passion, especially in the morning session. The 6-4, 230-pounder was amped up in one-on-ones and showed why he's going to be one of the toughest players to stop off the edge for the West team.
"I mean it was great, I just went out and had fun," Powell said. "I just came to do what I do. You know, when you put the pads on, and the helmet on, it's time to go. We have a great defensive line, both the East and the West. You know Sharrif Floyd, me, and Owa (Odighizuwa)… all the ballers that we have, it's crazy."
2) Floyd's for real
Powell's performance went down as the best of the day, but not far behind was the East's player of the day - Philadelphia (Pa.) George Washington defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. In the morning one-on-one session with the offensive linemen Floyd showed just why he was a five-star and one of the top 10-ranked players in the nation.
"I love getting intense and getting after it especially when we go up against offensive linemen and kicking butt," Floyd said. "I couldn't wait to get out here."
As unlikely as it may seem it took Floyd a little while to get warmed up, but once he did he made quite a few enemies on the offensive side of the ball.
"They don't like me and that's a good thing, and I'm going to make sure I keep it that way," he said.
On the day Floyd used a variety of moves to get through and around offensive linemen. He made sure to heed East defensive line coach Otis Yelverton's advice of staying low and using his hands, and often exploded into and overpowered his opponent. As for his favorite moves, he is not one to give away his secrets.
"I don't have a go-to but I do have one that works any time, I just don't know that name of it," Floyd said with a smile.
3) Jeffcoat still on the shelf
Five-star defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat hinted that he might not practice this week, and he held true to his work on Monday. The star defensive end from Plano (Texas) West was in street clothes watching the West practice.
"It's a big accomplishment to be out here with all the players, but the bad thing is that I don't think I will be able to play," Jeffcoat said. "I sprained my ankle about four or five days ago in our basketball tournament. I'll just see how it feels, but I don't think I'll be able to play. It's a little frustrating, but I'm also disappointed. We've got district basketball coming up, and that's very important, too. It's a great honor to be here, and I just wanted to come down and be around the atmosphere."
4) Marsh: Still a Tiger
Rumors started to spring up that Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian defensive tackle Cassius Marsh was having second thoughts about his commitment to LSU and that UCLA - the school where teammate Malcolm Jones is committed to - was a viable option again.
However, Marsh put those rumors to rest.
"There is no truth to that," Marsh said when asked about the rumor that he was looking around. "There is no truth at all. I will for sure be a Tiger. I'm not swaying in any way. I loved everything about LSU. I love the atmosphere, the coaches, and the campus. I just loved everything about LSU. I just loved it there."
5) Fumble-itis hits West
The West offense ran into considerable trouble at Monday's practice with one of the simplest parts of the game - a center-quarterback exchange.
All three quarterbacks on the West roster come from predominately spread offensive systems, where they only take snaps out of the shotgun. The same can be said for the centers on the West roster.
So for West offensive coordinator and Mission Viejo (Calif.) coach Bob Johnson most of Monday morning's practice was teaching quarterbacks Connor Wood, Austin Hinder and Jake Heaps how to take basic snaps from under center.
Johnson said he had an idea that none of the quarterbacks and centers had ever taken snaps from under center before, but he didn't realize it would set them so far back on Monday morning. Johnson blames a lot of it on the spread offense and its inability to teach quarterbacks and centers how to take a regular snap.
"This spread stuff is driving me crazy," Johnson joked. "Last year when I was training Pat White for the pros, he didn't even know how to put his hands under (the center). I'm used to it, and I understand it. I don't like it and neither do the pro guys because they're under center. The trend is there for right now, it may swing back."