Some of the nation's highest-rated prospects have made their way to Texas for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl this week, but on Wednesday it was lightly-regarded defensive tackle Ikenna Nwafor that turned the most heads at the West camp.
West defensive tackles Ikenna Nwafor and Jaleel Johnson are a handful inside.
The three-star Stanford commitment was a last-minute addition to the roster from tiny Cistercian Prep in nearby Irving.
"I'm just out here to prove that I'm as good as some of the big, public school guys," he said after Wednesday morning's practice. "I come from a small, private school, so my goal today was to come out and see how I compare to some of the bigger recruits. I think I proved my point."
Every bit of 6-foot-4, 300-pounds, Nwafor was able to have his way at times with a tough West offensive line.
"That kid is the truth," said West offensive line coach Jerome Daniels. "He's the best D-lineman that's out here. You're not going to get many like that one. He's got everything and he's smart - he's going to Stanford."
Nwafor committed to the Cardinal in July and hasn't wavered from that choice.
"A couple schools have been coming after me. Right now it's pretty much just Stanford. Vanderbilt was the only other one that I was seriously considering," he said. "I chose Stanford because I thought the academics matched me perfectly, that's what I was looking for in a school. The football team is on the rise and is building a tradition, I'd like to be a part of that."
There's no shortage of firepower on the roster for the West squad this year. Another late addition, Greer (S.C.) Blue Ridge quarterback Caleb Rowe, has looked very good for the West. The Maryland commitment has a great handle on the offense and was able to put the ball where he wanted to more often than not on Wednesday morning.
Rowe has been the West's top quarterback.
"He's a tremendous athlete, he's got all the qualities to be a very good football player down the road," said West head coach Richard Solomon. "He's got vision, he can read defenses and he's got a good knack for the game. You can tell he's a good student of the game."
In the backfield, Ohio State has a pair of commitments leading the way in Brionte Dunn and Warren Ball. Dunn looked slightly quicker and more decisive on Wednesday, though both should get ample carries on Thursday. USC commitment Jahleel Pinner showed some nice burst from his fullback spot and will factor in the running game as well.
Wide receiver D'Vario Montgomery was the top performer on the day among the wideouts, as the long South Florida commitment was able to haul in most offerings thrown his way. What set him apart from the others in what is a loaded position group is his excellent size. Though he's listed at 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, those numbers seem to be conservative. Montgomery runs very well for his size.
Ohio State commitment Roger Lewis also has good size and showed very good hands on the day, while Penn State commitment Eugene Lewis was able to get deep a few times as well. The latter Lewis is a high school quarterback that is playing wide receiver full-time for the first time.
SMU commitment Gabriel Marks out of Los Angeles lacks size but was very precise in his route running.
Uncommitted tight end Pharaoh Brown out of Ohio has tremendous size at 6-foot-7, 220-pounds and he got plenty of reps with Auburn commitment Darrion Hutcherson sidelined on Wednesday. He's more a receiving tight end at this point and though he needs work on his hands, he does run well.
Up front, the West features two potential Pac-12 linemen that have stepped up on the right side of the line.
"We've had a few guys that have really stepped up and played well," said Daniels. "Denzell Dotson, he's really good. He's going to be a pretty good guard and he's still growing. Our right tackle, Cedrick Poutasi is a big, strong kid. They're all good kids but those two stand out right now."
Poutasi is a massive right tackle and will choose from Utah, Oregon and Oklahoma State on Thursday.
Dotson is a Washington State commitment, while Poutasi will announce his decision on Thursday. He has narrowed his choices down to Utah, Oregon and Oklahoma State.
On the left side, Texas A&M commitment Germaine Ifedi from Houston is still raw, but he's shown at times why he carries a four-star ranking.
"My left tackle, Germaine Ifedi, he's got the potential when he learns out to play this game to get to the next level," said Daniels. "He's got a lot of the tools you need to play on that side."
Uncommitted four-star guard Brandon Fanaika out of Utah also drew praise from the staff for his pass-blocking ability.
Teaming with Nwafor on the inside is Iowa defensive tackle commitment Jaleel Johnson out of Montini Catholic in Illinois. Johnson is a load inside and has done a nice job eating up space in the middle of the West defensive line. Vanderbilt commitment Caleb Azubike was very active on the edge and was able to get to the quarterback a few times on the day.
Playing on the inside, Peters, a three-star future Vol was always around the ball in both run and passing situations.
Thomas has lined up at both quarterback and cornerback this week.
"The kid Peters has definitely turned our head and been very aggressive to the ball and very active around the ball," said West linebackers coach John Jennings. "Another kid that stood out to us has been Josh Perry, he's an outside linebacker for us. Those two guys have definitely been playmakers on that side of the ball for us."
The 6-foot-3, 231-pound Perry has phenomenal size and runs very well.
"He could probably play anywhere from middle to outside to maybe even putting his hand on the ground and playing end," said Jennings. "I've coached some kids very similar to him in college and he could probably transition to any of the three based on what I've seen. He's quick enough to play outside, he's well-balanced and great in space. He's very aggressive to the ball."
Showing his Texas commitment is strong by flaunting a pair of Longhorns high socks, Copperas Cove (Texas) athlete Orlando Thomas spent most of his day at cornerback. Thomas has also lined up at quarterback at times for the West. He's showed that he's one of the most dynamic athletes on either roster this week.
Thomas has some work to do on his fundamentals at corner, but he's physical at the line of scrimmage and has the closing speed needed to take a few chances.
"Another kid that has a chance to be big is a kid that we've known about for a little while, he came in as an athlete, is Orlando Thomas," said Solomon. "He has a chance if he wants to be a DB. I don't know what he's done on offense, but he's done a good job for us."
Arkansas commitment Ray Buchanan, Jr., lacks great size, but he's made some plays throughout the week.
"He has some savvy, he has some feet, he could be a player," said Solomon. "He has the quickness and he could end up being a player like his dad."
Also patrolling the secondary is Michigan free safety commitment Jarrod Wilson out of Ohio. Every bit of his listed 6-foot-2, Wilson looks like he could grow into a weakside linebacker if needed down the road.
While special teams aren't usually a focal point in All-American games, West kicker/punter Joshua Appleby showcased a huge punting leg on Wednesday. The Louisville commitment was able to get off some very nice efforts on the day.