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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Due to the bitter cold, both the Washington D.C. and Baltimore squads practiced inside the bubble at the University of Maryland on Tuesday. However, the temperatures inside were still frigid with players and spectators alike bundled up.
The D.C. team practiced first once evening hit. Several prospects came out firing on all cylinders. The wide receivers received a lot of work with a few of them standing out.
Marshall commit Levern Jacobs showed very soft hands. He did well to keep his feet in-bounds along the sideline. At 6-foot, 162 pounds, the two-star prospect could see an upgrade in his ranking the next go-round. Najee Green and Daniel Upson both also showed good hands, reeling in some tough catches during position drills and during team.
The biggest name at wide receiver is Rivals250 athlete Brandon Phelps. The four-star Virginia commit had a few nice catches, but it is clear he is best suited to the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, he is not likely to play there this week.
"I was originally going to play defense but then they moved me to receiver," the 6-foot, 175-pound Phelps said. "I'm going to do whatever anyone asks of me. I played both for my high school so it's not a big deal to me.
"I'd rather play defense, though. That's what I'm going to play at Virginia and that's where I think I'm best. I like playing on that side of the ball and getting a chance to hit people."
MARYLAND SCORES ONE
Some big news on the day came from D.C. linebacker Alex Twine. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound defender made his college decision on Tuesday morning and it just happened to be to the school which is hosting the week's practice.
"I committed to Maryland about 9:30 this morning," Twine said. "I knew last night that I wanted to commit to them and I said that, if I didn't stay awake worrying all night, I knew I was going to commit today. I slept like a baby.
"This morning, they were at my school and I told them that I wanted to commit. Coach (Ralph) Friedgen was about to get on a plane but I called him about two minutes before he had to turn his phone off. He was really excited."
Twine says he is happy to have his decision out of the way and he looks forward to representing his future school the entire week.
"It's been cool because people have asked me where I am going and I just say, 'here,' " he said. "This is where I'm going to spend my college career. I get a chance to work out at the same facilities that I will for the next four or five years. I'm the only Maryland commit in the game so there is sense of pride that I have to represent my school."
In other news, four-star defensive tackle Darian Cooper has been on official visits to Michigan State and Georgia Tech, with the latter taking place last weekend. He says he has decided to visit Penn State on Jan. 14 and recently set up a visit to Iowa on Jan. 21. The 6-foot-1, 275-pound defender says those schools make up his top four. He may also visit Michigan but says he's not sure just yet.
Defensive end Giovani Francois, who transferred to Wise from Bradenton (Fla.) Southeast in the middle of the season, has long held offers from Louisville, Rutgers, Florida International and Western Kentucky. However, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound defender has been hearing from new schools as of late.
He says he has spoken to Cincinnati and Maryland recently, and both schools could be on the verge of extending offers. At the moment, he says Cincinnati stands out because it runs a 3-4 and he could play outside linebacker for the Bearcats.
The Baltimore squad had a solid day of practice and, though it does not have as many Division I prospects as its D.C. counterparts, the fast-paced Wing T offense could be a great equalizer.
Leading the way for the Baltimore team is the offensive line, led by two good offensive tackles. Wake Forest commit Hunter Goodwin is a mammoth at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds. He is a solid run blocker with huge legs that provide a lot of power in his base.
The most interesting fact of Goodwin was something he mentioned very casually while the offensive line and defensive line battled in one-on-one drills.
"This is the first time I've ever done pass pro drills," he said. "We almost always run the ball. When we pass it is off of rollouts. We run option passes."
For a player that has never had to truly pass block in his career to this point, Goodwin looked solid in that aspect. Though he needs to bend his knees a bit more, he got great extension in his arms and moved his feet well.
On the other side of the line was 6-foot-5, 265-pound tackle Ben Curtis. He previously played at Cardinal Gibbons before the school closed its doors this year and is now at Calvert Hall. Curtis is very bright and understands the game well. He is a good pass blocker and gets to the second level well in the run game. He has offers from New Mexico, Navy and several FCS programs, and will be a steal.
Though much of the practice consisted of installation, Connecticut safety commit Adrian Amos looked very good during one-on-ones and full speed team drills.
Amos is a big defensive back at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. However, he still moves very well and can play the run and the pass with equal effectiveness. He plays downhill from his safety spot and is not afraid of contact.
He also does not shy from competition. In fact, during one-on-one drills, his competitive fire was stoked and he decided to line up at receiver. Running a deep go route, Amos beat the cornerback and reeled in a nice catch.
On the defensive line, Virginia commit Marco Jones is having to make the transition to tackle. He played end at Boys Latin and says he plans to do the same for the Cavaliers but the Baltimore squad needs him in the middle. The three-star prospect is a bit small for the inside and struggled a bit to plug up the middle and stop the run, but he showed his athleticism. He is a bit of a tweener who could end up at either end or tackle in college when all is said and done but, at the moment, is not ideally suited for either.