Army Bowl: West Tuesday standouts

SAN ANTONIO – The weather for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices cleared up on Tuesday, allowing the players to showcase all they have. Several of them stood out and 247Sports takes a look at the top performers on the day from the West squad.

Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes was nearly unstoppable on Tuesday.

Overall Top Performer


-DT Eddie Vanderdoes, Auburn (Calif.) Placer – The former USC commit was simply the most dominant prospect at any position on Tuesday. Vanderdoes is a huge presence on the interior at 6-foot-3, 304 pounds. He is strong as an ox, especially in his upper body, and he used his strength in one-on-ones to blow several offensive linemen completely off the ball. He also used his quickness to beat guard Josh Boutte, which is not easily accomplished.

Offensive center Jake Raulerson raved about Vanderdoes and how he was almost unstoppable. The defensive line also dominated team drills and Vanderdoes was a big reason why. He was disruptive in the middle and, at one point when the defense had four consecutive sacks or tackles for loss, he was in one three of them.

Other Top Performers

-TE DeSean Smith, Lake Charles (La.) Barbe – The 6-foot-4, 225-pound LSU commit is the No. 5 tight end prospect in the country but he could make a case to be moved up even further. Smith was used in every way imaginable on Tuesday. At times he had his hand in the dirt as an inline tight end while at others he was flexed out. He even spent some time at outside receiver as well.

Smith has some of the best hands of any player on the West squad. He never uses his body to catch the ball and has strong hands to grab onto it as it comes to him. He also has very good field awareness and always knows where the sideline and first-down markers are. He may need to bulk up a bit to play inline at times in the SEC but he is already very well-rounded.

-WR Steven Mitchell, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany – At 5-foot-10, 180-pound speedster is the only wide receiver on the West roster that is under 6-feet tall but he is also the fastest. A high school running back, the USC pledge is a surprisingly good route runner and has a knack for finding seams in the defense. The quarterbacks especially loved finding him on crossing routes.

The No. 6 wide receiver prospect in the country is incredibly dangerous in the slot as linebackers and safeties both have trouble covering him and he is very dangerous with the ball in space. His breakaway speed is also a huge asset. Mitchell will be a deep man on kickoff returns for the West too.

-CB Jourdan Lewis, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech – The Michigan commit is one of the more versatile prospects in the country. Though he could play on either side of the ball, he was very impressive as a cornerback on Tuesday. After a relatively quiet first day, he blanketed the big receivers deep used his speed to keep up with the faster ones. He is somewhat slight of frame but still has some strength that gives opposing wide receivers trouble off the line.

Notre Dame receiver commit Torri Hunter suffered what appeared to be a serious injury.

LSU wide receiver commit John Diarse has done a good job the past two days getting open on just about every one-on-one rep but Lewis had a great pass breakup against him. Lewis needs to add some mass to his frame but he has the fundamentals of the cornerback position down.

-RB Thomas Tyner, Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha – Even though these events are not usually conducive to running backs being standouts, the Oregon pledge made all kinds of plays on Tuesday. Listed at 6-foot, 207 pounds, the nation’s No. 4 running back is likely even a little bigger than that. Despite his size, he still showed great speed though. In one-on-ones with the linebackers, he beat an athletic Josh Banderas by three steps on a deep ball.

Though the offensive line struggled to make holes for the backs during team drills, Tyner had the most impressive run of the day when he showed an incredible burst and then sustained his speed to gain 15 yards before the play was blown dead.

Quick Hitters

-There was a new face at practice on Tuesday. Though he was wearing a defensive jersey, Iowa State offensive tackle commit Jake Campos was a late addition to the roster after fellow offensive tackle Chris Fox suffered an injury before game week. He lined up at both left and right tackle at times.

-There was a big scare in the morning when Notre Dame wide receiver commit Torii Hunter went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury after being hit in the leg by a defensive back. After laying on the field in obvious pain for a long time, he was eventually taken off the field on a cart in an air cast. Though unconfirmed at this point, the initial diagnosis seemed to be that he likely tore his quad. It’s a tough blow as he is a dual-sport star and baseball season is set to start in a couple weeks. Several players on his team were visibly upset about the injury.

-LSU cornerback commit Tre'Davious White, Monday’s overall top performer, had another strong day on Tuesday. During the team drills, he cut in front of a Hayden Rettig pass that was a big underthrown to Ricky Seals-Jones for a nice interception.

-Ohio State running back commit Ezekiel Elliott is one of the more versatile players on the roster. Though he will play running back for the Buckeyes he has spent a lot of time this week at safety as well. It will be interesting to see if he gets more reps on offense or defense during the game.

-For the second day in a row, the quarterbacks struggled quite a bit. Rettig was the most consistent on Monday but he struggled the most on Tuesday. He overthrew several receivers and then was way short with a couple throws on intermediate routes. Tyrone Swoopes looked tentative and tended to check down to his shallow receiver quite often but he did have one impressive play where he rolled right and found Mitchell in the end zone.

-Big wide receivers Ricky Seals-Jones and Derrick Griffin, both Texas A&M commits, had much better days on Tuesday than on Monday. Both had a couple great catches on fade routes while Seals-Jones did a good job beating safety Tahaan Goodman deep in one-on-one drills.

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