Best of Semper Fi: East Practice 1
JC Shurburtt •*FULLERTON, Calif.-*The first day of practice for the East squad at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl was a lengthy, fast-paced one that featured plenty of talented, FBS-level prospects. Held at Fullerton College, the East team installed some scheme from the Hoover (Ala.) coaching staff and also worked on fundamentals. The game will kick off at 9 p.m. eastern on Friday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with television from the NFL Network.
Best by Position
Quarterback- Austin Allen, Fayetteville (Ark.) Allen showed good arm strength and accuracy during the nearly three hour practice and the Razorbacks commit appears to be ahead of the other signal callers in terms of ability in the passing game. Also, the East team appears to be set to do some zone-read stuff in the running game and while he’s not as good as Notre Dame commit*Malik Zaire in that regard, he’s capable, making him the most complete quarterback on Day 1. Also considered- Zaire
Receiver/tight end-*Will Fuller, Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic- The Notre Dame commit has put on 25-30 pounds of good weight, runs good routes and has maintained his outstanding speed. Fuller also has advanced ball skills and had no trouble getting opened multiple times against some very solid cornerbacks during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work. Given his outstanding senior season and performance on Monday, Fuller is without a doubt a prospect on the rise.
Offensive line-*Mike McGlinchey, Philadelphia, Pa./William Penn CharterMcGlinchey has excellent size (though not quite the listed 6-foot-9) and an outstanding frame. He’s a multi-sport athlete and typically those types of athletes have great potential and excellent footwork. This is true in this case. He also is stronger than he appeared as during 9-on-7 (run game) and goal line work, he planted several defensive linemen. He may not play early at Notre Dame, where he is committed, but long term he has outstanding potential and it showed on Monday.
Cornerback-*Ross Douglas (Avon, Ohio- committed to Michigan)Douglas does not have outstanding size, but he’s got good hips and feet, can change direction well and has excellent recovery speed. In all honesty, Notre Dame commit*Devin Butler*looked to be the top corner on the day, but he had some nicks and sat out for a portion of the practice while Douglas shined. Coaches today are in love with big cornerbacks because there are plenty of big receivers, but guys like Douglas have had successful college careers and in many cases long, successful careers in the pros. Also considered- Butler
Collectively, Notre Dame had the most impressive group of commitments on Monday. Several who are committed to the Irish were the best at their positions (see above) and across the board, it’s an outstanding group. Alabama and Michigan also had players that made good showings.
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12-20-2012, 03:16 PM #11Community Moderator
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At this point, I hope they lock down Folston, Muhammad and Redfield. Anyone else after that is gravy or can feel free to ditch USC and sign with UCLA for all I care.
12-31-2012, 10:05 PM #12Gold Club Member
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01-01-2013, 06:21 PM #13Moderator
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Army Bowl: West Tuesday standouts
65 minutes ago
SAN ANTONIO – The weather for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices cleared up on Tuesday, allowing the players to showcase all they have. Several of them stood out and 247Sports takes a look at the top performers on the day from the West squad.
Overall Top Performer
Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes was nearly unstoppable on Tuesday.
-DT Eddie Vanderdoes, Auburn (Calif.) Placer – The former USC commit was simply the most dominant prospect at any position on Tuesday. Vanderdoes is a huge presence on the interior at 6-foot-3, 304 pounds. He is strong as an ox, especially in his upper body, and he used his strength in one-on-ones to blow several offensive linemen completely off the ball. He also used his quickness to beat guard Josh Boutte, which is not easily accomplished.
Offensive center Jake Raulerson raved about Vanderdoes and how he was almost unstoppable. The defensive line also dominated team drills and Vanderdoes was a big reason why. He was disruptive in the middle and, at one point when the defense had four consecutive sacks or tackles for loss, he was in one three of them.
Other Top Performers
-TE DeSean Smith, Lake Charles (La.) Barbe – The 6-foot-4, 225-pound LSU commit is the No. 5 tight end prospect in the country but he could make a case to be moved up even further. Smith was used in every way imaginable on Tuesday. At times he had his hand in the dirt as an inline tight end while at others he was flexed out. He even spent some time at outside receiver as well.
Smith has some of the best hands of any player on the West squad. He never uses his body to catch the ball and has strong hands to grab onto it as it comes to him. He also has very good field awareness and always knows where the sideline and first-down markers are. He may need to bulk up a bit to play inline at times in the SEC but he is already very well-rounded.
-WR Steven Mitchell, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany – At 5-foot-10, 180-pound speedster is the only wide receiver on the West roster that is under 6-feet tall but he is also the fastest. A high school running back, the USC pledge is a surprisingly good route runner and has a knack for finding seams in the defense. The quarterbacks especially loved finding him on crossing routes.
The No. 6 wide receiver prospect in the country is incredibly dangerous in the slot as linebackers and safeties both have trouble covering him and he is very dangerous with the ball in space. His breakaway speed is also a huge asset. Mitchell will be a deep man on kickoff returns for the West too.
-CB Jourdan Lewis, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech – The Michigan commit is one of the more versatile prospects in the country. Though he could play on either side of the ball, he was very impressive as a cornerback on Tuesday. After a relatively quiet first day, he blanketed the big receivers deep used his speed to keep up with the faster ones. He is somewhat slight of frame but still has some strength that gives opposing wide receivers trouble off the line.
LSU wide receiver commit John Diarse has done a good job the past two days getting open on just about every one-on-one rep but Lewis had a great pass breakup against him. Lewis needs to add some mass to his frame but he has the fundamentals of the cornerback position down.
-RB Thomas Tyner, Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha – Even though these events are not usually conducive to running backs being standouts, the Oregon pledge made all kinds of plays on Tuesday. Listed at 6-foot, 207 pounds, the nation’s No. 4 running back is likely even a little bigger than that. Despite his size, he still showed great speed though. In one-on-ones with the linebackers, he beat an athletic Josh Banderas by three steps on a deep ball.
Though the offensive line struggled to make holes for the backs during team drills, Tyner had the most impressive run of the day when he showed an incredible burst and then sustained his speed to gain 15 yards before the play was blown dead.
-There was a new face at practice on Tuesday. Though he was wearing a defensive jersey, Iowa State offensive tackle commit Jake Campos was a late addition to the roster after fellow offensive tackle Chris Fox suffered an injury before game week. He lined up at both left and right tackle at times.
Notre Dame receiver commit Torri Hunter suffered what appeared to be a serious injury.
-There was a big scare in the morning when Notre Dame wide receiver commit Torii Hunter went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury after being hit in the leg by a defensive back. After laying on the field in obvious pain for a long time, he was eventually taken off the field on a cart in an air cast. Though unconfirmed at this point, the initial diagnosis seemed to be that he likely tore his quad. It’s a tough blow as he is a dual-sport star and baseball season is set to start in a couple weeks. Several players on his team were visibly upset about the injury.
-LSU cornerback commit Tre'Davious White, Monday’s overall top performer, had another strong day on Tuesday. During the team drills, he cut in front of a Chase Rettig pass that was a big underthrown to Ricky Seals-Jones for a nice interception.
-Ohio State running back commit Ezekiel Elliott is one of the more versatile players on the roster. Though he will play running back for the Buckeyes he has spent a lot of time this week at safety as well. It will be interesting to see if he gets more reps on offense or defense during the game.
-For the second day in a row, the quarterbacks struggled quite a bit. Rettig was the most consistent on Monday but he struggled the most on Tuesday. He overthrew several receivers and then was way short with a couple throws on intermediate routes. Tyrone Swoopes looked tentative and tended to check down to his shallow receiver quite often but he did have one impressive play where he rolled right and found Mitchell in the end zone.
-Big wide receivers Ricky Seals-Jones and Derrick Griffin, both Texas A&M commits, had much better days on Tuesday than on Monday. Both had a couple great catches on fade routes while Seals-Jones did a good job beating safety Tahaan Goodman deep in one-on-one drills.
01-01-2013, 06:23 PM #14Moderator
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No Steve Elmer for some reason.
01-02-2013, 02:15 PM #15Moderator
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Even the US Army All American Game realizes kids like swag ...
01-02-2013, 03:17 PM #16Gold Club Member
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2013 Commits - All Star Game Participation
It's great that the practice jerseys look just like our practice jerseys. Maybe all Adidas practice jerseys look like that perhaps. But Adidas supplying the gear... Hopefully AQM and Vanderdoes love it. Just need one of them from that game.
01-03-2013, 08:52 PM #17Moderator
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Army Bowl: Thursday Notebook
THURSDAY, 03 JANUARY 2013 20:34 ERIC NAHLIN
SAN ANTONIO - I finally discovered the answer to the time-honored question, ”What do you get when you genetically splice Secretariat with Mike Singletary?”
No other player gets the SMH from his contemporaries like Smith. I was in an elevator with Su’a Cravens and after asking him if he was Tahaan Goodman (lol), I told him about my recent write-up where I stated how impressed I was with both he and Smith’s natural football ability on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He gave me a look that said, “I’m not in Smith’s class.” Never mind that Cravens is in Smith’s class, but it goes to show you the level of respect Smith’s peers have for him.
Cravens went on to say, “Have you seen Smith? He’s rocked up. That guy is big.”
He is. In fact, he’s not nearly as lean as I anticipated which removes my lone concern about him; acclimating to the size/strength of college players.
Another player that was effusive in his praise of Smith was Alief Taylor (Texas) defensive end, Torrodney Prevot. When I broached the possibility of playing with Smith, Prevot (pictured) also mentioned how easily Smith is packing on the muscle. Like Cravens, Prevot gave me a look that said, “It’s an honor to be in the same conversation with Smith.”
While I had Prevot’s ear I queried him about his Notre Dame interest.
“They’ve been on me hard for about a month now,” he said. “I’ve been talking to Coach (Kerry) Cooks and I’ll be visiting Notre Dame on January 25th. They’re recruiting me as a linebacker.”
I went on to ask him about the National Championship game and he said he’s really excited to see how the Domers do against the SEC powerhouse. He also relayed that the Notre Dame coaching staff sounds very confident going into the game.
Prevot may also visit Texas A&M, but I can’t see him in College Station. Prevot’s a different kind of kid, one that would rather read than listen to music. He’s inquisitive with a certain level of intelligence that’s hard to describe. I’m not saying he’s Myron Rolle out there, but there’s a lot of snap to him. I just don’t see him in Aggieland and going for that doctorate in taxidermy.
Neither does his coach, Jody Jordan. I’m writing this from a Hooters (don’t judge, I need Wi-Fi), pretty much the most overrated place in America outside of California, and lo and behold Prevot’s coach is sitting next to me, so I did the natural thing. I bought his drinks and tried to steer Prevot to Notre Dame in order to bring an SMU sized heap of NCAA sanctions against you.
Not really though.
Coach Jordan seems to think Notre Dame is the team to beat. Not only did he say he can’t see Prevot signing with A&M, he also stated he doesn’t think he’ll go to USC.
Just like I can’t see Prevot in College Station, I don’t think he’s too keen on attending college in South Central Los Angeles. I’m sure playing for the Trojans appealed to the literary romanticist within him, but if any school can match Southern Cal in prestige, it’s Notre Dame.
I’ve been to South Bend (this year’s Michigan game), and while there’s not a lot there, I can really see Prevot immersing himself in life there.
My new buddy Dave Beaudin is going to cover the Eddie Vanderdoes interview for you guys, but it really sounds like he’s interested. When interviewing a player, I pay as much attention to how they say something as I do to what they say. You guys are definitely on his radar and he’s done a great job of doing his homework on the benefits of a Notre Dame degree and not just a letter jacket.
I wanted to talk to Michael Hutchings, but dropped the ball as I somehow missed him. I’ll be trying to gather intel on him in the next two days.
I talked to Corey Robinson briefly and he’s really enjoying having some of his future teammates in his hometown. He said it was funny that he and Steve Elmer are rooming together and will do so again in a couple weeks (I didn’t realize they were both early enrollees). He also said that Torii Hunter Jr.’s surgery went well and that he’s resting comfortably with his family. As the son of The Admiral, I wasn’t surprised one bit to find out that Robinson has already visited Hunter and will do so again.
I need you to stick with me here and put down the Irish coffee. My buddy, David Robinson, is one of the best personal wide receiver coaches you’ll find. He’s obviously not THAT David Robinson, but we did talk about Corey quite a bit. D-Rob, as we call him to keep from confusing the 5-foot-6 former Sooner receiver with the 7-foot NBA Hall of Famer, is a big fan of Robinson and was familiar with him previously. He relayed this to me:
“He’ll be fine on the next level even though he’s been playing poor competition,” the wideout coach said. “There’s a lot of zone in college routes so lack of precision doesn’t really hurt you until you get to the NFL where they run tons of man. Justin Blackmon is a great example of that. Robinson’s not just a tall guy, he’s actually pretty quick so even when he doesn’t get free access, he’ll be able to beat jams. I wasn’t sold on him from watching his tape, but seeing him in person I think he’ll be fine.”
I’ll leave you with some news I picked up today that has nothing to do with the Army All-American game. I was talking to DeCarlos Holmes, one of the coaches at St. Augustine (Louisiana). Holmes of course coaches 2014 running back Leonard Fournette. If you’re unfamiliar with Fournette, remove the Singletary from the Secretariat gene pool and add Hershel Walker. He’s the top back in the nation in what appears to be a loaded class.
I was talking to Holmes for Texas reasons, but he told me that Notre Dame has been recruiting Fournette very hard of late. Here, I’ll let him tell it:
“You know we’re a Catholic school and I think that kind of appeals to Leonard,” said Holmes. “That and of course they’re back on top. He’s aware of who Notre Dame is with the history of the school.”
It’s the knee jerk reaction in my fair state to discount the chances of landing any kid from Da Boot because of LSU’s kung fu grip on in-state prospects, but that’s not necessarily the case here.
In Holmes, Fournette has a coach that will shoot him straight and doesn’t just blindly default his top players to LSU. In fact, he’s been sort of black-balled in Louisiana for “allowing” Torshiro Davis to leave his home state for Texas.
Along with LSU and Alabama, the Longhorns will figure into the Fournette equation. Bama of course already has Bo Scarborough (Keep the Secretariat, remove the Walker, add Adrian Peterson) in the fold for 2014 so I’m inclined to discount them for Fournette’s services.
01-03-2013, 09:04 PM #18Moderator
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Hunter Bivin @HunterBivin
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8:44 PM - 3 Jan 13
01-03-2013, 09:09 PM #19Gold Club Member
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McGovern and Bivin are some big damn boys! Anzalone is not a small guy, but next to those two he is.KeiVarae Russell: "When the coaches told me over the next few days in the film room that I was gonna start I was like ‘Uh Oh’.”
01-03-2013, 09:13 PM #20Moderator
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Army Bowl: Practice Reports
THURSDAY, 03 JANUARY 2013 21:01 DAVID BEAUDIN
SAN ANTONIO – Weather affected both practices on Thursday here at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but I was there for both and was also able to catch up with former USC defensive line commit Eddie Vanderdoes for his thoughts heading into the final weeks of the process.
While the West chose to stay indoors and walk-through plays during the morning session, the East hit the field at Heroes Stadium on an unusually raw and bitter cold, windy, and wet morning here. While the blustery weather and sleeting rain didn’t keep them from practicing, it certainly didn’t serve well for the quarterbacks.
Uncommitted wide receiver Marquez North did not practice in the morning and none of the coaches offered any insight as to why. And while he might have missed practice, he didn’t miss much through the air as the story of the practice was the lack of completions and quarterback accuracy as the wet ball was all over the place. The erratically thrown balls didn’t stop Florida commit Demarcus Robinson from drawing some “oooh’s and ahhh’s” from his teammates as he made several of his East ally defensive backs slip and fall with his stellar route running.
The only Notre Dame offensive skill commit on the East squad still continued to impress. Greg Bryant looked “undersized” next to Alabama commit - and Trent Richardson imposter - Derrick Henry all practice, however he more than held his own during pass protection drills and blitz pickup period. This is a good sign for the Irish if they’d like to use him next year and that is usually the biggest challenge and adjustment for freshman running backs cracking the lineup in their rookie seasons.
Bryant showed off his quick feet and sound footwork in the backfield prior to getting the ball (i.e. on counters, stretch, powers, misdirections and swing screens) and displayed his uncanny quick burst through even the smallest of holes. He did a great job hitting seams with one cut and exploding through the line of scrimmage.
Irish offensive line commit John Montelus was thrown from working with the second group at tackle to the first East offensive line group at guard. The massive Massachusetts native looked a little out of place as he struggled to learn the new spot. His novice guard play stuck out most when working inside and trying to climb to the next level.
Unaccustomed to being the one who usually goes up to the linebackers in the outside zone scheme, he tended to work flat down the line and miss the linebackers shooting open air. The good thing for the Irish is none of his deficiencies were due to a lack of physical skill (and of course certainly not lack of size) and they were all corrections that are coachable if they decide to move Montelus around on the line in the future.
Oftentimes, while just an exhibition contest, these all-star games are an opportunity for young men like Montelus to be exposed to slightly different positions and most definitely a lot better talent, which can only serve him and the Irish well in the future.
Unfortunately for Notre Dame, the starting right guard for the East, USC commit Khaliel Rogers showed tremendous athleticism. And while 6-3 may be just a tick generous on the roster, there isn’t anyone in the secondary looking forward to seeing him hustle down the line on screens.
Irish hopeful Al-Quadin Muhammad may have been the player of the day.
The Don Bosco (NJ) product is relentless in his pursuit of the ball, displays a great attitude, and can just flat out play football. While his 6-4 frame may be a bit leaner than the other defensive ends, it is not an indictment of his physicality. I loved watching Muhammad initiate contact with stout offensive tackles, using great get-off and shooting his hands lightning fast, shedding blocks and flying to the ball. His effort as he sprints to the ball in an exhibition practice on a cold and raining morning only enhances his natural quickness and lends me to believe he will have a noteworthy career.
While Doug Randolph’s position listed on the future Notre Dame roster may be unsure, there is no uncertainty in my mind that he belongs and will be an asset regardless of position. Randolph practiced today at inside linebacker and was really impressive scrapping to the ball downhill and reading flow extremely fast. He shot open air great during inside drill and team. If Notre Dame decides to keep him at linebacker, he needs to be able to do a better job working over the top of blocks as he scrapes laterally. This is certainly something that is a learned skill and his great natural instincts should make it very easy to coach.
The West squad got out for a light afternoon practice as the rain and sleet subsided, while the cold hung around.
The word around the West practice was that Torii Hunter Jr’s surgery was a success. Irish commit Corey Robinson says that Hunter has a great support system. Robinson saw him at the hospital yesterday and didn’t hesitate while commenting on the injury, “I’ve never seen anyone in that much pain.”
Robinson went on to say that he is doing well due to all of his support and encouragement.
“Torri has a very supportive family, along with all of the ND guys here pulling for him, and really all of the West team lending their support as we have grown close this week.” says Robinson.
Another West teammate and future Irish teammate Robinson has grown close with is offensive lineman Steve Elmer. Elmer and Robinson are rehearsing their roommate skills this week as they are staying with each other in Robinson’s home city of San Antonio. They both agree it is going real well, which is good news because they will rooming with one another in South Bend in less than two weeks as they will both start in the spring semester.
Robinson was forthcoming with how overwhelming and hectic it has been to finish high school this fall semester, as he had to take an extra economics course and still needs to finish one test before January 12th, when he heads up to South Bend. Still, he has made time to be a very gracious host in the Alamo City according to multiple West Team Army All-Americans. When asked if Robinson wanted to “show off” his talents this week, he humbly said, “I’d like to get a West Team win and the main thing is to just enjoy the experience.”
Future Irish linebacker stud Jaylon Smith was his usual self at the West practice. And to say that he is a great player would be the understatement of the year.
By now, we have all heard the praise and accolades that have deservingly been thrown Smith’s way. However, Smith’s latest good work has gone in the way of trying to convince recent USC decommitment, defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, that Notre Dame is the right place. The good thing for Irish fans is that Vanderdoes has done a lot of homework on the prestigious school himself.
“The big thing for me is the academic prestige and ND graduating 99 percent of their athletes and it’s obviously a football program back on the rise.” says Vanderdoes.
He is a well-spoken young man who seems to have a firm grip on what he wants from his collegiate experience both on and off the field.
Vanderdoes reiterated multiple times the importance of Notre Dame’s academic reputation and their graduation rate. And while USC would keep Vanderdoes in his native state of California, he doesn’t see going to school far away as an issue.
“They recruit guys from all over America, so they are all going through the same thing,” said Vanderdoes. “Jaylon says it’s a great place and something I really need to see for myself.”
And while Smith has helped talk up Notre Dame, Vanderdoes does state that none of the players at the practices have been pushy and they have all been understanding of the recruiting process and they are obviously going through or have been through the same type of things.
Vanderdoes loves Notre Dame’s academic reputation, but isn’t shy to express his affection for what they do on the field as well.
“I love that they are very multiple,” he says. “They play the 3-4 and the 4-3 and I really like how they mix it up.” says Vanderdoes.
Notre Dame is looking at him to play the five-technique and occasionally the seven-technique and even move into the three-technique and one-technique at times. His eyes lit up when talking about possibly moving all over the place as a part of the Irish scheme.
He stated this all while unassumingly saying that he would be willing to play anywhere along the defensive line, even the nose (one-tech) that most schools have recruited him as. The Notre Dame coaches believe they can make better use of his unique talents by playing multiple positions.
I feel he looks and plays as your prototypical five-tech who could eventually move down after a few meals at the North and South Dining Halls, plus the hearty Notre Dame training tables.
Vanderdoes stated that his reason for decommitting from USC had nothing to do with what they did wrong. In fact he was high in his praise of Ed Orgeron, who the Trojan coach recruiting him. He simply wants to open up his recruiting and given his intellect, really make an educated decision while having all of the information.
Plus, Vanderdoes said that he has been “100 percent honest,” throughout the entire process and he feels he has received that from USC as well. With that said, he did not want to mislead them and be the only recruit to flip in that class right before signing day.
“When I get home, I am going to sit down with my parents and come up with the actual dates of my visits.” says Vanderdoes.
We do know one thing; he will be paying close attention to the National Championship game. He stated that he will visit Alabama and Notre Dame for sure. The others on his list of five continue to be USC, Washington, and LSU. Though, he did not comment on whether he would take any other visits besides the two who square off this Monday night.