SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The first full pad practice at the US Army All-American Bowl kicked off at 10 AM at the Blossom Athletic Complex with the West team, a team featuring the top two players in the nation in the 247Sports Top247.
Arik Armstead was part of a strong defensive line group for the West.
We break down the top performers from the first day of practice for the West, including a star-studded offensive line.
Top performer: Cyler Miles
Physically, Cyler Miles has all the tools. He’s a big strong quarterback with plenty of arm and as much athleticism as any other true signal-caller in the 2012 class. On Monday he added really nice touch to his arsenal and was probably the most consistent of all the passers on day one for the West.
With the added threat of 4.5 speed, if Miles – a Washington commit - has a strong week and game on Saturday, that could spell trouble for the rest of the Pac-12.
Other standout: Tyler Matthews
Matthews is not going to wow you on the hoof, he’s not going to blow you away with his arm strength and he’s not the athlete of some of the other quarterbacks out in San Antonio but he is just a very solid quarterback that makes good throws, is natural on the run and should be a productive player for Gary Patterson at TCU.
Top performer: T.J. Yeldon
Yeldon is beginning to make it a habit of dominating all-star games. Already Yeldon had an impressive week of practice at the Alabama-Mississippi all-star week preceding an MVP performance in the game itself. This week has been more of the same.
For a running back of Yeldon’s size, he has a remarkable ability to accelerate in tight spaces and find holes that are minimal. He’s a big back, but Yeldon accelerates and plays with a pad level that you would expect out of a back much shorter. Yet still he possesses the power you want.
Other standout: Trey Williams
It’s a wonder Williams has the energy to show up after the 3,000-plus yard season he complete just a few short weeks ago. But Williams is here and he’s showing the explosive in-space ability that makes him one of the top open-field backs in this 2012 class.
Top performer: Bralon Addison
Even with the No. 1 wide receiver in the country in his position group, it’s hard to argue that anyone other than Addison was the top performer on day one for the West among the wideouts. Addison looks like a perfect fit as a slot guy in a spread offense because of his amazing ability to get open, sink his hips and stop on a dime. When the ball arrives, he has ball skills that are unmatched, even at an event like this.
Though size will always be brought up with regards to Addison’s potential, you’re not going to find anyone that has any issues with the things he can control: feet, hands, and savvy at his position.
A lot of the work on Monday for the West was done on air as the team continued to gel and learn the offense. In that setting it is hard for a player with the physical gifts of Green-Beckham to really assert his dominance but he still looked remarkably graceful for a player of that size.
As a tight end, McNamara showed some solid pass-catching ability but he where he really showed some encouraging signs was as an in-line blocker in the run game. He’s an athletic passer, but showing that toughness is what sets him apart.
Top performer: Kyle Murphy
With Murphy, you get an athlete first and an offensive lineman second and that is a good thing and a rare thing. He just moves like most offensive linemen aren’t able to. Murphy’s size and athleticism allow him the ability to play four of the five offensive line positions and he’s got the smarts to boot.
Murphy is a long way away from reaching his full potential and already he is a special performer on the offensive line.
The offensive line group has some of the best star-power on the west squad and Max Tuerk star is on the rise. He helped lead his team to a California state championship and he looks ready to bring the same kind of success to USC on the college level due to his frame and toughness. Tuerk is just one of several offensive linemen that really had nice showings on day one.
Top performer: Javonte Magee
Javonte Magee’s stock has soared this fall as a senior and it will continue to climb with a week that looks anything like his day one performance. It didn’t take long for the big 6-6, 265 pounder to stand out. In position drills, Magee moves like a linebacker with light feet and good knee bend,
When faced with an offensive lineman in front of him, very few were able to slow him down. Magee showed a combination of length and athleticism that brought him around the football and in the backfield all morning.
Among the other standouts at the defensive line position, Pipkins had the best case for top performer honors. He is a wide-bodied, stout defensive lineman that is much more than a bull-rusher or space eater. When engaged with offensive linemen, Pipkins usually dictates the movement. He also beats interior linemen with his quickness on plenty of occasions.
Top performer: Brian Nance
Despite a setting in which it can often be tough to separate yourself as a linebacker within your position group, Nance found a way. He doesn’t stay blocked easily and if you don’t get to the second level quickly he brings the fight to you in a hurry.
Nance showed very good instincts and physicality, having a real nose for the football. In coverage, his drops are natural and he looks very comfortable in space.
In Biegel and Ruffin, you get two linebackers that really look the part. Ruffin absolutely has the body that you want out of your linebackers and has the athleticism to go with it. Biegel also has a great linebacker frame and showed good feet and quickness from the first snap of practice.
Top performer: Shaq Thompson
With limited opportunities in 7on7 or 1on1 type situations, the defensive backs had limited opportunities to really flaunt their ability but Thompson really shows everything you want out of a five-star. He can roll into the box and be a 8th man presence with a fantastic physical frame and when he moves around in coverage, he there isn’t a hint of stiffness.
Seymour is quickly emerging as not just one of the top talents in California at the defensive back position but one of the top corners in the country because of the blend he has of size, hips and burst. Sanders also made a strong case as one of the top cornerbacks in Texas despite starting out at wide receiver for the Longhorns.