Saturday, January 2, 2010
UA All-America Game blog
By Scouts Inc. ESPN.com
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The best of the best in the Class of 2010 face off in the Under Armour All-America Game. After days of practices, meetings and walk-throughs, the players finally line up to play the game. Keep refreshing to hear insight from JC Shurburtt and Gerry Hamilton, who will keep you up to date with all the news of the big plays, big hits, player commits and other news, notes and observations from the UA Game.
And it's in the books
The final whistle has blown and the Black team came away victorious, 32-7 thanks to stellar defense and big plays on offense. This brings a spirited week of football competition to a close for the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game.
Rettig was a steal
1:49 p.m. ET -- Though the White team's offense has struggled, we felt like Chase Rettig was the best of the three quarterbacks in this game. Boston College really got a steal. He enrolls next month and can legitimately step in and compete for a spot on the two-deep rotation. California produces a slew of quarterbacks every year, so it's easy to get overlooked. But that's BC's gain.
Rich get richer
1:41 p.m. ET -- It's not really surprisng that the Black team is running away with the game, considering the skill players and pass-rushers are all members of the top three recruiting classes in the country. Florida and Alabama recruits (Dominique Easley, Adrian Hubbard, Demar Dorsey, Jonathan Dowling, DeMarcus Milliner and John Fulton) are dominating on the defensive line and in the secondary, while future Longhorns Darius White and Mike Davis are the top playmakers on offense, combining for three touchdowns.
1:26 p.m. ET -- It comes without surprise that Jonathan Dowling has two interceptions today. He picked off double digit passes as a junior in high school. He has great range, instincts and does a great job of reading routes. Dowling proves that 40 times are often overrated. He's a football player pure and simple. He is part of the Black team's secondary that has been the catalyst in setting the tone in today's game. The combination of Dominique Easley rushing the passer and the Black team smothering the White team receivers are the difference in the game.
Making it look easy
1:19 p.m. ET -- Recent Florida commit Dominique Easley is taking over this game. He will be another great defensive lineman to come out of the greater New York area in the tradition of Maurice Evans, who had a similar great performance in a postseason all-star game and went on to star at Penn State (where Easley was committed) and ultimately get drafted by the hometown Giants.
Also, on Easley's recruitment, we can't stress enough how close he came to being an Oregon Duck. It was a done deal until the 11th hour. He came full-circle to a certain extent with this decision. There were indications he was going to commit to Florida during the summer, but he didn't and instead decided on Penn State.
1:18 p.m. ET -- Notre Dame commit Tai-ler Jones was injured earlier this week, but his return has bolstered the White offense. Jones runs good routes and has excellent hands. He has always impressed during this recruiting cycle -- in the state playoffs or various camps.
1:10 p.m. ET -- Big plays by Texas commits -- Taylor Bible's fumble recovery and long run, which set up Mike Davis' touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone leaping over two White team defenders. Bible, the nation's top defensive tackle, has been hard to move in the trenches this week. Look for him to play over the ball in Will Muschamp's scheme at Texas. Bible plays with great leverage and uses his hands well. Offensive linemen rarely extend their arms and get their hands into his chest.
Davis continues to build on his terrific week. He's proven to be a great route runner, but on the touchdown catch he showed off his high-point ball skills. Davis is a polished receiver and is likely to play early at Texas.
Slam dunk for Gators
1:04 p.m. ET -- From the time he was watching practice for the 2009 Under Armour All-America game until he committed today, Chris Dunkley seemed destined to head to Florida. His commitment, though not unexpected, was actually big for the Gators, who are in need of instant-impact players at receiver. Dunkley is in the classic Florida receiver mold -- he's not the biggest guy out there, but speed and shake make him a big play waiting to happen. He also plays with a swagger, something most of the great state of Florida teams (UF, FSU and of course, Miami) have had when they've been great as opposed to good.
Montana in the wings at Washington
1:02 p.m. ET -- Nick Montana's pocket presence has been very good. Jake Locker's announcement that he is returning to Washington bodes well for the Huskies future at quarterback because Montana can come in next year and learn the ropes under one of the college football's best quarterbacks and then be ready to take over as a redshirt freshman. He's smart, remains calm and has very good upside.
Black team defensive line dominating
12:59 p.m. ET -- The defensive line for the Black team is getting very good pressure on the White offensive line, which has been a surprise. Watching the teams practice this week, Dominique Easley and Alfy Hill were very good in practice, but so were linemen Ja'Wuan James, James Hurst, James Stone and Shane McDermott.
12:57 p.m. ET -- Five-star recruit Lamarcus Joyner has been quiet (who knows what would have happened had he not fumbled his lone punt return attempt), but a couple of times he's had blanket coverage on receivers.
Scouts Inc.'s JC Shurburtt and Gerry Hamilton break down the first half of the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game.
The next Jordan Shipley
12:51 p.m. ET -- Mike Davis is a very polished route runner. He is always working back to the quarterback. Davis will likely take the place of Jordan Shipley at Texas as a receiver that can play in the slot or on the outside. He's been the most consistent receiver this week.
Lewis good in space
12:42 p.m. ET -- Future Oklahoma State LB Shaun Lewis is playing well in space today. He's made two solo tackles one-on-one against future Miami RB Storm Johnson. He's doing a good job flowing to the football, breaking down and making form tackles. He's a legitimate candidate to replace hybrid linebacker Andre Sexton.
We will take a short break during half time, but here is some video that just came in of pre-game warm ups and the coin toss.
Much better live
12:15 p.m. ET -- Devin Gardner and Michael Taylor are players that you can't get a true appreciation for until they go live, 100 percent. Gardner is a quarterback that isn't going to wow you with his pass skills in the pocket because he makes so many plays with his feet. It was a shame to see him not complete that drive for a score, because he was a big key. He's a great fit for what Rich Rodriguez does on offense and could have a big career in Ann Arbor.
Taylor is all over the place making plays for the White team defense. During a half-speed practice for an all-star game or a camp/combine, you are not going to get a sense of how physical he plays and also the speed at which he plays. The Tennessee commit is one of the most intense players in the 2010 class.
Devin on the move
12:10 am. p.m. ET -- Devin Gardner showed his legs and ability to make plays on his first drive. On one designed run play, he showed the ability to read the end with good quickness and elusiveness to get up the field. He has to work on his mechanics in the passing game because he drops his elbow on his release. However, he showed signs all week of fitting Michigan's zone-read offense very well. His strength will be in the zone-read as a runner, on misdirection and designed waggles, which will help him get out of the pocket and stay away from batted balls.
Coleman proving he belongs
12:01 p.m. ET -- Brandon Coleman was an under-the-radar selection for this game, but he really has been solid this week during practice. It was good to see him take advantage of being in the right place at the right time on the fumble return for a touchdown. Kip Smith was the best of the two kickers, so it was also good to see him get the game's first extra point.
Snapping, holding underrated
11:57 a.m. ET -- Long snapping and holding are underrated parts of the game and its even tougher in an all-star game setting because deep snappers play other positions in this game and there isn't enough time to practice or create proper timing between snapper, holder and kicker. On the kicking side, there aren't enough reps to feel comfortable with the holder. Often times, in all-star games you don't see the laces getting turned away from the kicker. This was also a problem last year.
11:49 a.m. ET -- Dominique Easley is a huge get for the Gators. No one has been as impressive as him this week in Orlando. He's continued his strong play today with an exceptional first step and the ability to close on the football. Easley's been a pass-rushing terror all week and provides the Gators a quality interior pass-rushing specialist that they needed to fill out this class.
11:45 a.m. ET -- John Fulton's commitment gives Alabama the top cornerback class in the country. Fulton joins DeMarcus Milliner, giving the Tide two shutdown CB prospects. Fulton excels in man-press coverage, while Milliner is an all-around cover corner. Milliner showed the most fluid pedal and closing speed of any corner on the Black team this week.
Crimson Tide good at end
11:37 a.m. ET -- The future at Alabama at defensive end is looking bright as Adrian Hubbard and Alfy Hill both started opposite of each other for the Black team. While Hubbard has a long ways to go to fill out physically, he's impressed all week with his first step and ability to turn the corner, despite his 6-foot-7 frame.
Feed them the rock
11:34 a.m. -- The White team should ride their running backs -- Michael Dyer and Jordon James. It's hard to get a sense of how good the RBs are in the practice setting, but you can tell these two guys have legitimate talent when it goes live. The key to a comeback is how many touches they get.
Not special teams
11:32 a.m. ET -- Despite the Black team's 12-0 lead, it could easily be 17-0 if not for two bad snaps on extra points and a missed chip shot field goal by Cody Parkey, who has struggled early on.
Montana's strong start
11:20 a.m. ET -- Nick Montana starts for the Black team and leads them down the field, but a missed field goal leads to no points. He stood tall in the pocket under duress on every throw. He also showed good feet in the pocket and good poise. He had a third down throw to the end zone on a waggle that would have been a touchdown, if not dropped by James Louis.
Jones is big time
11:16 a.m. ET -- So far, Christian Jones has been impressive in space for the White defense, which is not surprising due to his stellar play all week. Whatever school gets Jones, is going to get a big-time linebacker prospect in terms of size and athleticism.
11:11 a.m. ET -- The top-ranked Florida recruiting class is already making big plays today. Demar Dorsey has a forced fumble and Jonathan Dowling picked off a slant route and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. While Florida will lose the top players from their secondary, the future is bright with these two five-star prospects. Dorsey has been one of the most impressive players all week.
Hailes standing out already
11:08 a.m. -- Evan Hailes has already made a couple of plays in the run game. Despite the loss of Dominique Easley, the strength of Penn States' recruiting class is on the defensive line with Hailes and Dakota Royer.
High on Hurst
11:05 a.m. ET -- We're not surprised James Hurst is starting at right tackle for the White team because he was one of the best five this week. He was very impressive.
Joyner not returning
11:04 a.m. ET -- We're very surprised Lamarcus Joyner isn't returning kickoffs for the White team, but this is what they have worked on during practice.
After practice was cancelled due to rain on Friday, the players headed over to Tropicana Field for a quick walk through. They slept overnight in Tampa Bay, Fla., had breakfast and then listened to an inspirational speech from former NFL coach Tony Dungy.
Dungy coaches em' up