SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The East team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl wasted no time getting after it on Monday during the first day of practice leading up to Saturday’s game to be played inside the Alamo Dome.
Alabama and Georgia lead for five-star OT Laremy Tunsil, Monday's top performer at the East practice in preparation for Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
In full pads in the morning the East came back in shorts and shells in the afternoon but still had a spirited and physical practice.
Top Overall Player
Laremy Tunsil represented his lofty ranking as the country’s top offensive tackle and No. 3 prospect overall according to the 247Composite. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Tunsil is very flexible and boy can he bend. Was very good as a run and pass blocker. On one rep he drove two East defenders down the field. Another fantastic play came when Tunsil was engaged in one block and he saw a blitzing linebacker coming through a gap. He fired his arm out and thwarted him as well. Alabama and Georgia lead for this special talent.
Best By Position
Quarterback… It was a tough day for the boys under center as all three guys struggled to get into a rhythm in Auburn commit Jeremy Johnson, Vanderbilt pledge Jonathon McCrary and Stanford bound Ryan Burns. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Johnson was the best of the bench. A smooth delivery, moves well and throws an accurate football. The offense just had a tough time getting on the same page today which is typical at All-Star games.
Running Back… Alabama five-star athlete commit Derrick Henry gets the nod on day one as he was able to get loose on a couple runs, but Notre Dame commit Greg Bryant had a really good second practice after missing the morning session. Uncommitted back Derrick Green had his fair share of strong snaps and also brings the element of being a factor in the passing game. The 6-foot-3, 243-pound Henry is like a freight train in the open field and he finds his top-end speed quickly.
Receiver and Tight End… Demarcus Robinson had a big day, including a sweet one-handed grab in the morning. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Robinson can go up and get the football, he has some nifty moves after the catch and is a complete receiver. He’ll choose between Florida and Clemson on Saturday, and says the Gators are his leader. James Quick was another receiver that shined. He showed he has the ability to be able to take a screen pass to the house against elite competition. Quick reports Ohio State as his leader over Louisville heading into his Saturday decision. Tyler Boyd dominated the competition in Class A (Pennsylvania’s smallest class) during his high school career and he showed on Monday that he has the goods to compete against the best in the country.
Offensive Line… After Tunsil, USC commit Khaliel Rodgers really shined. He was dominant in 1-on-1s, where he owned Keith Bryant. He also teamed up with Penn State commit Brendon Mahon to pancake his five-star high school teammate and future Trojan Kenny Bigelow. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Rodgers has a serious motor. Mahon had a nice day at center. Both Ohio State commit Evan Lisle and Georgia pledge Brandon Kublanow were good in 1-on-1s and UCLA commit Christian Morris was strong in the morning. Florida State commit Austin Golson was another that had a strong day.
Defensive Line… Led by Bigelow, this group had a dominating day in team setting. Bigelow makes first contact off the snap on every rep and has great size at 6-foot-3, 295-pounds. He was very disruptive and also does a nice job of getting his arms up and into the passing lanes. Bigelow was unblockable 1-on-1. Uncommitted defensive end Alquadin Muhammad was the top edge rusher. He made play after play and his frame is awesome with his arms basically coming down to his knees. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Muhammad plans to announce on Saturday between Miami, Notre Dame and Alabama. USC commit Jason Hatcher was also menacing rushing off the edge. It was easy to tell he was one of the more athletic players on the football field. Five-star Alabama commit Jonathan Allen also had a good day.
Linebacker… After Tunsil, Florida linebacker commit Daniel McMillian was right there with Bigelow as the next best performer on the field. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound McMillian is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker that made several plays against the pass on Monday. Florida State commit E.J. Levenberry was also strong in pass coverage and he can run, getting deep downfield to contest a couple throws. Clemson linebacker commit Dorian O’Daniel is a gifted athlete that was all over the field during the morning practice.
Defensive Back… This is a special group. So much talent but USC commit Jalen Ramsey gets the nod. He blanketed receivers in the first practice and had several pass breakups including one that was batted in the air and intercepted by Notre Dame linebacker pledge Doug Randolph. Virginia Tech pledge Kendall Fuller also showed out and was extremely tough to get open against. Uncommitted cornerback Mackensie Alexander was a playmaker as was Florida safety commit Nick Washington. Between the East defensive line and secondary, the offense really struggled to complete passes. Michigan safety commit Dymonte Thomas plays fast and was especially strong in run support.
-Virginia running back commit Taquan Mizzell played receiver on Monday and it was a good fit as the Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside standout is perhaps the nation’s top receiving threat coming out of the backfield. He had a good first day of practice.
-Ohio State punter commit Johnny Townsend has a big leg and gets a lot of hang time. He was very consistent.
-Stanford linebacker commit Peter Kalambayi is definitely part of the get-off the bus team. Has a great build at 6-foot-4, 240-pounds. He’ll be able to compete physically from day one in Palo Alto.
-Greg Bryant, Shelton Gibson and Demarcus Robinson got most of the work at kick return. Over 10 players were getting a look at punt return.
-For more on Monday's practice, visit our running blog from the morning and afternoon here.