football Edit

SIMMONS: Takeaways from UA All-America week

There was a lot of talent in Florida competing at Under Armour All-America game week, and I saw players shine from all over the country. But when focusing on my region, here are some takeaways from the week.

Kirby Smart and Georgia should be worried about Auburn. The chatter behind the scenes before I arrived in Orlando was the Tigers were trending, and talking to Jones and other sources, that became more clear to me. Now, is it February 5 yet? No, it is not, so this could still change at least a couple of times with three official visits and numerous in-home visits coming in January. Jones made it clear that he is still committed to Georgia, but he also said numerous times that it was “50-50” with the Bulldogs and Tigers. This will be one to watch all the way to Signing Day.

I do not see Jayson Jones ending up in Tuscaloosa. The lineman out of Calera, Ala. is set to officially visit Baylor January 17, then Oregon the following weekend. Georgia Tech had him on campus over the summer for an official visit and Ole Miss has started to talk with him too. He has talked about Alabama liking him more on the offensive side of the ball and that he could possibly be a Blue Shirt there, so although his love for the in-state school is strong, the opportunities to play defense at other schools will likely lead him elsewhere. Who pushes for Jones? That is the biggest question. Could it be the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta? What about the Ducks? Could the bears make a late push? This is one to watch.

Two opposite personalities headed to Auburn. I have covered Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby since he was a freshman and Wesley Steiner the last couple of years, and on the field, they are the same — they make plays — but off the field, they are so different.

It is hard to get two words out of Bigsby, but Steiner will talk, talk, talk and then continue to talk. For guys like me that cover recruiting, we prefer the Steiner types who are open and will communicate. Bigsby was much more reserved, tougher to get in contact with, and just different off the field. The crew at Under Armour after Steiner’s media session ended was trying to move him along, but he wanted to hang around at chat. Both are great young men, and the Rivals250 talents are excited about their futures on the Plains.

On performance, I would give the edge to Steiner with the better overall week. Bigsby looked to run a little tentatively and didn’t show the explosiveness of a back like Zachary Evans. He was solid and he did not have a bad week by any means, but Steiner stood out a little more from the practice field to the game.

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Clemson has another playmaker coming. EJ Williams had a very strong week in Florida. He may not be the fastest player when it comes to testing, but the wide receiver out of Alabama showed he can create separation against very good defensive backs all week. He is long, he glides across the field, he has a big catch radius and he is only going to get better. I would bet he moves into the Rivals100 when the 2020 final update comes out later this month.

Dacari Collins is a 2021 wide receiver committed to the Tigers, and he was one of the top performers at the Future 50 as well.

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Future Oregon Duck quarterback was up and down. Robby Ashford missed over half of his senior season, and maybe there was some rust in this setting, but overall, for the week, he did not perform to the level we would have liked to see him perform at. He has a great frame, he is a smart young man, he has a live arm and he can really run, so there is a lot to like, but he really needs to refine his skills as a passer. He was up and down when it came to accuracy and he struggled much of the week and in the game.

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Future LSU Tiger Phillip Webb was solid. Sometimes Webb shows up, and sometimes, due to his laid back style of play, he can go missing a little. He is not a vocal young man and he does not like to draw attention to himself, so sometimes you have to really focus on him to see how he is playing. He had one really good day at practice, but struggled some in that setting too. He got lost in coverage some, and when offensive linemen got locked into him, he, at times, struggled to get off blocks. I would like to see a little more aggression and intensity in Webb when he gets to Baton Rouge.

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Future Hurricane struggled. Dazalin Worsham did not have a great week. He flashed ball skills at times, but he struggled to get open and to create separation. He is going to need to refine his route running skills to elevate his game to the next level. Worsham is coming off hip injuries, so that may have something to do with his speed and cuts, so his best football is likely still ahead of him, but the Miami was not one that stood out last week.

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Five players outside my region I believe will be playing on Sundays are linebacker Trenton Simpson (Clemson), Kayshon Boutte (LSU), defensive back Jaylon Jones (Texas A&M), Julian Fleming (Ohio State) and Jalen Carter (Georgia). Many others could be on this list, but after getting a very good, in depth look at players from all over the country this week, I feel very good with those names.