Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Updated: December 17, 11:37 AM ET
First impressions of UA rosters
By Tom Luginbill
The date is set for the Under Armour All-America Game (Jan. 2), and the rosters have been selected. Here are some things that jumped out when we first looked at both rosters. White Team | Black Team
Offensive lines challenged
Top-notch offensive linemen rarely get challenged at the high school level because, for the most part, they can simply rely on their size advantage. As a result, the week of practices leading up to the Under Armour All-America Game will be a real eye-opener. This year's class of defensive linemen is one of the strongest in the last five years.
One fewer running back
We tapered back the running back spot for each team from three to two. When each team has three running backs to work into the game, it limits the number of touches for each player. With only two backs to work into the game plan, it lets each back get into a rhythm and show what he can do. Plus, in an all-star game, most of the emphasis is already on the passing game (spread and shotgun formations), which makes it that much harder to incorporate multiple running backs.
Long snappers were a priority
Something as simple as snapping the ball on punts, PATs and field goals can sometimes be overlooked. We made sure that, by making long-snapping a priority, we wouldn't make the same mistake as we made last year. In the past, we tried just to find someone who could get the job done. This year, we brought in players like Dakota Mosley (Little Rock, Ark./Little Rock Christian) who is very experienced as a long snapper.
Players who could line up at multiple positions were coveted this year, and that versatility came into play during the selection process. The more positions a player could line up at, the better, because they could fill in for injured players -- if an injury should occur -- without too many roster changes. Players like OLB/DE Christian Jones (Oviedo, Fla./Lake Howell), DT/TE Leon Orr (New Port Richey, Fla./Gulf), DE/LB William Gholston (Detroit/Southeastern) and DE/WR Dakota Royer (Manheim, Pa./Central) benefited from their ability to play multiple positions.
Deep receiver class
This year's wide receiver class is better than last year's and more reminiscent of the 2008 class, which was highlighted by A.J. Green (Georgia) and Julio Jones (Alabama). This group also has a good mix of receivers with varying skill sets. In fact, this was one of the easiest positions to select because the talent pool was so deep. If we were unable to bring in a certain player, it wasn't a big deal because there were other candidates just as worthy.
Tom Luginbill is the national recruiting director for Scouts Inc.