Top performers from the West

The Recruiting Network knows
how much fans love lists, so with that in mind editors Jeremy Crabtree
and Bobby Burton put together a look at the top 10
performances from the West squad at the U.S. Army All-America Bowl this past
Saturday at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas.
The list doesn't necessarily reflect how would rank the players, but how they looked based upon their
performances against other blue-chippers.
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Ngata –
knew that Ngata was good. He wouldn’t be a five-star prospect if he
wasn’t, but oh boy was he impressive to watch in person. Easily the
biggest guy there at the game, Ngata also proved that he was big-time off of
it. In one series alone, he sacked a quarterback, ran five yards down the
field to lay a devastating hit on a running back and then he bolted through
the line of scrimmage and tackled another running back for a three-yard loss
on third down.
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Young – ranks Young
as the No. 1 player in the nation and he did nothing to disappoint. Young
was the driving force behind the West’s touchdown drives with his ability
to hurt you with the run and the pass. But he was truly special in the open
field. For example on one play, Young broke away from a blitzing Buster
Davis and Jim Unis and flushed to his left. Then off of his back foot, he
heaved a bomb that was right on target to his receiver Tyler Littlehales.
The only thing was that Littlehales didn’t help Young and dropped his
pass. There were quite a few other drops, but Young showed his ability to
kill you so many different ways. And it was EPSN announcer Jim Donnan said
to us the day before the game – “he’s a war daddy.”

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Booker – Another easy one to point out. Booker was everything he
looked to be on both junior and senior film in person. He was silky smooth
with the ball in his hands and could both glide through the hole or turn on
the jets when he had to. He did have a tendency to always attempt to cut the
ball to the outside and use his speed to outrun defenders, and he’ll
probably learn to grow out of that in college. But there is no questioning
his game-breaking ability. He did have one of the more impressive plays of
the game when he scored on a touchdown run of about 25 yards. On that play
he took the handoff, bolted toward the line of scrimmage and found a hole
off the right side. He then got a few yards up field and was faced with a
horde of East defenders. Booker simply put the afterburners on hold and
allowed the defenders to close in. And in like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, he
then turned the jets back on and allowed the linebackers to fly right past
McNeal (UCLA) – Watching McNeal on film doesn’t do him justice.
He’s one of the better looking and physical defensive backs that has seen in person this season, and that says a lot. In the
All-America Bowl, McNeal’s only mistake was that he dropped a pass on a
fake punt that might have been a sure touchdown. But other than that, he was
all over the field making big plays on both pass and run defense. The Bruins
got themselves a heck of player with McNeal and he proved why he’s a
member of the team.
Williams – When stated that there might not be a better
pass blocker in the nation than Williams many fans snickered. Nana, nana boo
boo on you. Williams came to play on Saturday and simply proved that he’s
one of the top players in the nation regardless of his position with his
sterling pass pro technique and his ability to always get lower than the
defender. The entire East squad talked about how Jim Unis was going to tear
through the West offensive line, but it didn’t happen. Unis was manhandled
by Williams and at halftime, the East moved Unis away from Williams because
he couldn’t get any push at all.
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Wimbley (Florida State) – They do play football in Kansas after all,
and Wimbley represented the Sunflower State with great pride and great
playmaking ability. He still has to grow into his frame, but Wimbley looked
like Spiderman out there with his long arms and long legs. He often used
those long arms to simply suck up rushers and bring them to the ground.
He’s also one of the greatest kids that has run into this
season and should be a great pleasure to watch in Tallahassee.
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Studdard – You have to love a lineman that goes both ways in all-star
games, and that’s what Studdard did on Saturday. College coaches have been
bragging on him all season long, and it looks like they were right. He has a
great frame, great footwork and the ability to make the right play at the
right time. He should be a heck of an offensive guard on the next level.
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Morton (Notre Dame) – Bobby might not be the highest ranked offensive
lineman around, but you’re sure not going to find many more that work
harder than he does. Morton – with his trademark cowboy hat – looked
great out there on the field and was impressive on running plays. He used
his lower-body strength to get great push off the line-of-scrimmage.
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Byrdsong – The one knock that heard from college coaches
was that Byrdsong couldn’t move from sideline to sideline. Boy did he ever
blow that connotation away with his play in the all-star game. He was flying
around the field making big play after big play. He said that is leaning
toward Arkansas and Oklahoma on the sidelines.
rest of the West offensive line which consists of Justin Blalock (Texas),
Cody Douglas (Tennessee), Scott Raridon (Notre Dame), Josiah
Vinson and James Bonelli (Notre Dame). While the skill players
stole most of the show the West offensive line simply dominated the game up
front – paving the way for big play after big play. Blalock looked solid
as usual. Douglas looked better than he did late in the season. Heck,
Raridon even caught a pass as a tight end.