Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Players have fun at Skills Challenge
By Jenny Zimmerman
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Most of the Under Armour All-America Game players expected a rest Tuesday -- and got it -- after the third day of practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
That didn't include the participants in the American Family Insurance Skills Challenge, who found during the surprisingly grueling two-hour competition that their day and their workout weren't anywhere near done.
Speaking between gasps after his run at the Under Armour Hands Competition, safety Landon Collins (Geismar, La./Dutchtown) said by the time he got through the course and into the end zone for his 13th and final catch, he was too winded to make it count.
"Coming out the machines you don't know how they're coming out," Collins said of the footballs he needed to catch while being timed. "In the third one, it came out kind of weird. I still caught it, but coming back around two times, they're coming fast. As soon as one comes and it touches your hands, they're shooting the next one. So you've got to make sure you catch it and drop it and get to the next one."
To mix things up a bit, Hueytown, Ala., quarterback and FSU commit Jameis Winston stood in as the fourth throwing machine, fresh off his win in the American Family Insurance Pass Attack.
Second-place Pass Attack finisher Chad Kelly (Buffalo, N.Y./St. Joseph's), a Clemson commit, said the quarterbacks knew they could count on their first throw of the competition being a little bit of a mess.
"You've just got to get used to the speed of trying to get to the next ball to make that a more accurate throw," Kelly said after three throws at moving targets at 20 yards, three at 30 yards and three at 40, along with one long bomb.
"So you've got to set your feet, and that took a lot more time. After the first one you got used to it, though. You don't realize how fast it's going, and then the second one, it's already there, and you've got to hustle up to the other stands to get the ball."
The other winners included Oklahoma commit Sterling Shepard in the Under Armour Hands Competition, Miami commit Randy "Duke" Johnson in the American Family Insurance Obstacle Course and Jordan Jenkins in the Lineman Challenge.
The skills challenge, which will air at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday on ESPN2, also featured an obstacle course for DBs and RBs, and a lineman challenge.