LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The second day of the 2013 Under Armour All-America practices are in the books with a three hour workout having concluded at 1pm. While the top prospect and highest ranked prospects seemingly always get the most mention, as they should, there is also room at an event this talented for surprises performances.
Five-star Carl Lawson has shown he is more than an edge rush specialist this week.
Through two days, here are five surprise prospects.
1. Carl Lawson, WDE, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton
While the soft commitment to Auburn is already a five-star prospect, the 6-foot-2.5, 250-pound Lawson has shown he is more than a one trick pony with a truly special first step. Lawson has proven he can take on a tackle with size and not only win with an electric edge rush, but also with a combination of power and leverage. While taking on a 315-plus pound tackle at the point of attack may never be his calling card, he has certainly shown he has the ability to be an every down defensive end.
2. Artie Burns, CB, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern
Artie Burns high-ceiling potential and special ability on the track burning through hurdles is well documented, his on the field play is at times questioned. If the first two practices are any indication, the 6-foot-0, 183-pound Miami commitment has begun ascending toward that very high ceiling. Burns has been strong in press coverage, recovered with burst, accelerated out of T-steps and played physical in attached coverage situations with the ball in the air. He has made countless pass break ups over the first two practices.
3. Hunter Henry, TE, Little Rock (Ar.) Pulaski Academy
The four-star Arkansas commitment came in as a guy we were excited to see, and he certainly hasn’t disappointed. While he may not quite be at the athletic level of fellow teammate and Ohio State commitment Marcus Baugh, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Henry is athletic in his stance, quick out off the line of scrimmage for his size, is deceptive with his ability to run by linebackers into the seam, and has shown plus ball skills and the ability to track and run through the football for a tight end.
4. Tarean Folston, RB/Ath., Cocoa (Fla.)
Folston, who is expected to commit to Notre Dame on Friday, has impressed in a number of way thus far. First, he has a terrific running back body type when looking at his likely future position on the next level. He’s got an ideal strong look to his legs with the ability to add muscle mass, a compact upper body with ideal arm length to pocket the ball, a streamline waist and the frame to carry 210-pounds in time and the feet and quickness to go with the body type. At corner, his quick feet, and ability to react to quick lateral movement in front of him have been evident, as well as his physicality.
5. Henry Poggi, DT, Baltimore (Md.) Gillman
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Poggi has lineup over the ball in one-on-one’s, and been very tough to block due to a quick first step, active and quick hands, a strong initial punch and the awareness to get small. While all of that ability is not in question with Poggi, his ability to carry the desired weight remains in play. While he can certainly carry 20-25 more pounds on his frame, there is a question of if he can carry the ideal weight to play over the ball at the next level. Either way, Poggi looks like a good bet to be a solid lineman for the Wolverines down the line.
- With the good comes the not as good – with the understanding it’s day two of four practices and most importantly, the game. One of those not having as good of a start to the week is Michigan quarterback commitment Shane Morris (Warren, Mi./De La Salle). When we have seen Morris in the past, his release has been more compact. Through two days, his release is elongated and is causing the ball to be two split seconds late on throws down the seam and deep – and it shows up against closing windows and attached coverage. With that being said, when he is active and quick with the feet and reacts in the short passing game, he has been very accurate.
Miami commitment Kevin Olsen has shown tremendous command of the quarterback position through two days.
- Also not as good as expected has been the hands of Ohio State commitment Jalen Marshall (Middletown, Oh.). The wide receiver with a running back body type to carry 210-pounds or more has fought the ball all week – for the most part – with few clean, sure handed receptions. Some of it could be he is not used to running routes and having to quickly get his head around and hands in a position to catch the ball, but it’s also likely that the 5-foot-11, 196-pounder is not a natural pass catcher.
- Miami commitment Kevin Olsen (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Hills) has impressed with his command, compact release and pocket presence. While the 6-foot-2.5, 190-pounder is already a four-star prospect and member of the top247, he has been calm, cool and collected in a fast paced environment which has caused a lot quarterbacks through the years to look the opposite in the opening days of practice.
- Texas A&M commitment Noel Ellis (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) has been as a fluid in his pedal, and instantly reactive with his feet and hands. While there are better pure athletes playing the position, Ellis continues to show his instincts and reactions are among the best in the class at his position.
- Running back Alvin Kamara (Norcoross, Ga.) carried in the reputation as one of the quickest and fastest backs in the class, and he has certainly looked the part. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has got the edge with easy on several occasions thus far against a number of very quick and fast defenders.
- The hands of Washington commitment Demorea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, Calif.) showed up in a big way at The Opening in July, but he has been just as impressive this week. The difference now is that he is playing in full pads and the body contorting receptions are against attached coverage and playing through contact. His sure hands, concentration and body type make him a terrific red zone prospect - to start.
- Along the same line of Stringfellow, Ohio State commitment Marcus Baugh (Riverside, Calif./North) has shown the same terrific hands as he did at The Opening, and this week playing through contact and in crowded space.His hands and quick reactions to a ball with velocity in the short passing game has truly impressed.
National analyst Keith Niebuhr contributed to this story.