Tuesdays with Gorney: Thoughts on Day 1 of All-American Bowl practice
SAN ANTONIO - The first day of practice at the All-American Bowl is in the books and there are a lot of thoughts from the West and East workouts. Here is the latest:
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The opening day of practice didn’t see the quarterbacks throw too many 1-on-1 routes especially on the West team which was down a lot of defensive backs but there were still some observations. Penn State signee Drew Allar was the most impressive with his size and arm strength but on some deep balls the ball hung up so timing up with his receivers will be important.
On the West team, Ohio State signee Devin Brown and Clemson signee Cade Klubnik were right there as the top two. Both have great arm talent and precision and even though that squad didn’t throw much because not many defensive backs practiced, both Brown and Klubnik looked the part and backed up their rankings.
Running backs don’t do a ton at all-star practices but North Carolina signee Omarion Hampton stood out most during the early East practice. The 6-foot, 220-pound four-star who’s ranked eighth at the position is muscled up, ran well and caught passes easily when running routes.
Penn State signee Nicholas Singleton also looked the part as did some others but the action was limited on the West team so not much was seen there.
Three West receivers stood out most during Day 1 as four-star CJ Williams was so consistent throughout the day and caught the most passes. He regularly got open, showed off great hands and looked smooth through every drill. The best-looking receiver at the event is Notre Dame signee Tobias Merriweather, whose length stands out most. The four-star has a huge catch radius, good athleticism and other than one drop, Merriweather impressed.
Four-star Kevin Coleman was also very good. He is dynamic, speedy, athletic and time and again the St. Louis (Mo.) St. Mary’s standout was making plays. The wide receiver class is loaded but Coleman made a statement on Day 1 which was tough because practice was lighter.
The West offensive lineman was impressive with four-stars Earnest Greene and Josh Conerly standing out but Notre Dame signee Billy Schrauth leading the way. The Fond du Lac (Wisc.) St. Mary’s Springs standout played mainly right guard, looked like he was dominant physically and moved really well. Schrauth did not attend many events throughout his high school career so it was important to see him here and he’s been impressive through the first day of practices.
On the East team, Alabama signee Elijah Pritchett played mainly offensive guard even though the Crimson Tide want him at offensive tackle. The four-star was very good and consistent. Even though Notre Dame signee Aamil Wagner is a little light he more than held his own against the defensive linemen and had an impressive start.
There are a bunch of elite defensive linemen at this event and many showed out during the first practice. None were better than Penn State signee Dani Dennis-Sutton and Georgia signee Mykel Williams who both dominated off the edge with an excellent speed and then power when needed. Dennis-Sutton was particularly impressive against five-star OL Julian Armella and Williams was good against everybody.
On the West team, LSU signee Quency Wiggins and Florida signee Chris McClellan made a ton of plays and made an impact. Notre Dame signee Tyson Ford was one of the best-looking prospects at the event and Purdue signee Nic Caraway has tremendous length and was a force off the edge.
Just like the running backs, the linebackers didn’t do a whole lot during the first day of practice especially as install was a key focus of the coaches. Still, Utah signee Lander Barton and LSU signee DeMario Tolan made some plays but it was a pretty limited position.
There are not a lot of defensive backs practicing yet but already some are standing out. Five-star Iowa signee Xavier Nwankpa has been outstanding, picking off a pass in the afternoon session and just being a really smart football player on every rep. Four-star Davison Igbinosun, who is announcing Saturday at the game, had an interception. Texas A&M signee Deyon Bouie and Georgia signee Julian Humphrey showed off outstanding speed in coverage.