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Polynesian Bowl: Thoughts after day one of practice in Hawaii

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

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

Lavon Bunkley-Shelton
Lavon Bunkley-Shelton (Rivals.com)

HONOLULU - The Polynesian Bowl kicked off practices on Tuesday with both teams taking the field together inside historic Aloha Stadium. Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst Woody Wommack was on hand and shares his observations from the day.

RELATED: Notes from Polynesian Bowl media day

MORE: Should Harrison Bailey get a fifth star?


*****

Demas puts on a show  

After missing his entire senior season after being declared ineligible, five-star Texas A&M wide receiver signee Demond Demas has been off the national radar for the most part. While others were putting up big stats and highlight-worthy plays, Demas was hard at work.

After missing the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Demas showed up in Honolulu ready to perform. Tuesday, he was his normal impressive self during 7-on-7 drills, getting open and laying his body on the line to go up and make some tough catches. Demas then stole the show during a mid-practice “dunk contest” when he jumped over three teammates to dunk the football through the goalposts.

Demas is an electric talent on the field and an even bigger personality off of it, so it’s no surprise all eyes were on him Tuesday. Demas even took time to get in a trash-talking match with Texas signee Prince Dorbah. All-in-all, it was a good return to the field for Demas, who we will continue to keep a close eye on, especially with the final rankings being released next week.

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*****

Five-stars impress  

Justin Flowe
Justin Flowe (Rivals.com)

It wasn’t just Demas among the five-stars who impressed on Tuesday, as Justin Flowe was locked in, engaged and anchoring the middle of the Team Makai defense. Flowe only has one speed and his intensity was on full display as he flew around the field.

The same can be said for five-star Texas running back signee Bijan Robinson, who flashed his ability as a pass-catcher during 7-on-7 drills. Robinson is ranked as the No. 1 all-purpose back in the country for a reason and his ability to catch the ball and make people miss in space is one of the reasons his game translates so well to the next level.

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*****

Keshawn Lawrence returns to action  

A surprise attendee at this year’s game is Rivals100 Tennessee defensive back signee Keshawn Lawrence. After suffering a foot injury during the fall, Lawrence missed the All-American Game in San Antonio but elected to return to action in Honolulu. Lawrence was on the field Tuesday and said he was a little sore, but other than that he felt great to be back playing. Lawrence is also a talented basketball player and said he will return to the hardwood when he gets home next week.

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*****

Pac-12 wide receivers make for tough covers  

Defensive backs are always at a disadvantage when it comes to non-padded practices, but the group had a rough go of it trying to cover some of the event’s slippery receivers. The impressive showings were led by future Pac-12 wideouts Kris Hutson (Oregon) and Lavon Bunkley-Shelton (Arizona State). The Sun Devils have produced their share of talented wide receivers over the past few years, and Bunkley-Shelton looks like he will be a great weapon for quarterback Jayden Daniels. The same can be said for Hutson, who had defensive backs on skates with his ability to stop and cut on a dime.

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*****

Light day for linemen   

While the skill players did plenty of competitive action during practice, including 7-on-7 and some one-on-ones, the offensive and defensive linemen spent the day doing mostly walk-through and positional-specific drills. With so many physically impressive offensive and defensive linemen in attendance, it will be fun to watch - if and when they are turned loose later in the week.

*****

Others who impressed 

Noah Sewell
Noah Sewell (Rivals.com)

Michigan wide receiver signee Roman Wilson catches seemingly everything thrown his way and his catch radius far exceeds his physical stature. Wilson could be the type of weapon that Michigan doesn’t have on its current roster.

*****

Five-star linebacker Noah Sewell stands out so much physically that he often looks like a defensive lineman and not a linebacker. But one he starts moving, it’s easy to see why he was so coveted. His combination of side, speed and athleticism is unreal.

*****

One under-the-radar prospect I have my eye on this week is three-star linebacker Bodie Schoonover. The one-time BYU commit is now looking at the Cougars as well as UCLA and has a versatile skill-set for a player his size. He will be one to watch closer when it comes time for full contact.