MONTGOMERY, Ala.- The 26th annual Alabama-Mississippi practices are officially underway with a two-hour workout that began at 9 a.m. in chilly weather. As is usually the case, the opening workout was more of a teaching and introduction practice than anything, but several prospects still managed to stand out in limited reps.
Top247 defensive tackle Darius Paige, an Alabama commit, showed excellent quickness off the ball Tuesday morning.
Reuben Foster, ILB, Auburn (Ala.)
The five-star prospect looked to be in the best condition in quite some time this morning. The former Alabama and Auburn commitment has trimmed down from 252-pound in July at Nike’s The Opening to 234 reported pounds Tuesday morning. He showed that bounce, quickness and acceleration in 7-on-7 and in red zone situations that showed up as a sophomore and junior.
Darius Paige, DT, Foley (Ala.)
The first thing that stands out about Page is his body type. The Alabama commitment is a legit 6-foot-3, has long arms, skinny ankles and the type of frame that will stack considerable muscle mass in time. While the practice was a shorts, shoulder pads and helmet affair, Page showed his quickness off the ball, and ability to extend and dispose of would be blockers consistently.
Jason Smith, WR, Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen
Of all of what is a talented wide receiver corps for the Alabama team, Smith was the quickest in and out of cuts. While the Auburn commitment definitely has to get stronger and add some muscle mass to his wiry frame, he has nearly all of the physical ability one can’t teach. He is quick off the line, can sink the hips and get in and out of cuts; and showed the ability to track the ball in air and run precise routes.
Cameron Echols-Luper, WR, Auburn (Ala.)
The Texas A&M commitment was one of the top route runners on hand, as one would expect with his background. The well put together 192-pounder was easily able to beat press coverage with a combination of quickness, strength and use of his hands with arms extended. He also got in and out routes with fluidity. Once the ball was in the air, his strong body allowed him to play through contact and come down with a pair of impressive grabs.
Texas A&M-bound receiver Cameron Echols-Luper impressed during Tuesday morning's practice for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
ArDarius Stewart, CB/S, Birmingham (Ala.) Fultondale
Of all of the talented defensive backs on hand, the 6-foot-0, 185-pounder showed the most versatility in 7-on-7 at safety and covering man in the slot in one-on-one’s. Stewart’s quickness and ability to react and change direction stood out against talented slot wide receivers like Smith and Echols-Luper. He wasn’t overmatched by either in terms of quickness and change of direction ability, and also finished a pair of reps with an interception (ball was thrown late) and a pass break-up in recovery situations.
- Vanderbilt running back commitment Johnathan Ford (New Hope, Ala.) didn’t get a lot of chances to show all of his ability in this practice, but his burst and athleticism were apparent on two or three carries. He’s a fast starter with quick feet, plus balance and the ability to burst to the second level.
- Arkansas commitment Shaun Rupert (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) has an impressive body type. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder has the frame to add 15-pounds or more over time, and possesses good arm length. He mentioned that he will make visits other than Arkansas with Purdue and Minnesota being mentioned.
- Louisville commitment Finesse Middleton (Gadsden City, Ala.) is just a solid football player. While he is undersized as a defensive end at 6-foot-0 (and likely a shade under) and 247-pounds, he has the ideal bounce in his step, quickness, physicality, active hands and love for the game college coaches covet. If he doesn’t play defensive end at the next level, he could be a more than capable fullback in the right scheme.
- Florida State commitment Marquez White (Dothan, Ala./Northview) is full of upside ability. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder will add the needed strength and weight in time, but he has the type of quickness, reactive ability, jumping ability and ball skills college coaches covet. While he worked out exclusively at corner today, he could end up on either side of the ball at the next level. He wants to play corner.
Note: Nebraska commitment Jonathan Cook (Spanish Fort, Ala.) had tests at his school Tuesday morning, but is expected to arrive in Montgomery and participate in the afternoon practice session.