Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Army Bowl: Wednesday notebook
By Damon Sayles and William Wilkerson
SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a day off for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams. Instead of working out and participating in drills, the players took in visits around the city -- including a stop at the Alamodome for photo opportunities and to see their game apparel -- and used the day to recover from two days of practice.
2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl
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The teams will return to the fields on Thursday in arguably the most important practice of the week. Here are five things to keep an eye on for Thursday’s practice:
Quarterback play: Instead of naming one, we’ll name all seven: USC commit Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline), Stanford commit Ryan Burns (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge), LSU commit Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles/Cathedral), Auburn commit Jeremy Johnson (Montgomery, Ala./Carver), Texas commit Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas/Whitewright), Vanderbilt commit Johnathon McCrary (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) and uncommitted Asiantii Woulard (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park). The combination of inclement weather and bad snaps from unnatural centers haven’t given the quarterbacks the best settings to succeed. There has been plenty of underthrowing and overthrowing, but the third day of practice hopefully will bring better results. Woulard is expected to join the East squad on Thursday.
Big back and contact: Alabama commit and national career-rushing leader Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee), thrives on contact. At 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds, he hasn’t had the opportunity to dish the type of punishment one would expect, primarily because the East has not gone full pads much. The last two afternoon practices have involved shoulder pads and shorts. Thursday should be different. Look for Henry to shine.
Tenpenny breakout: Another Alabama commit, running back Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock) arrived in San Antonio with high expectations from his followers. In two West practices, however, Tenpenny hasn’t been much of a factor. Some of that could be credited to a talented West defensive line. Look for Tenpenny to be more of a breakout player in the final days before Saturday’s game.
West cornerbacks: As good as the West defensive line has been, the cornerbacks arguably have stood out most during practices. LSU commit Tre’Davious White (Shreveport, La./Green Oaks), Michigan commit Jourdan Lewis (Detroit/Cass Tech), Texas commit Antwuan Davis (Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop) and USC commit Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) all have had their moments and are getting the job done against much bigger receivers.
Can anyone stop Bigelow, Vanderdoes?: USC commit Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian) and former USC commit Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) both have caused havoc in the interior through two practices. Bigelow has been the best defensive lineman so far for the East, highlighted by his three-consecutive-sack performance on Tuesday. Vanderdoes has been the most consistent for the West, and that's saying something with the talent on the West's line. Can they be stopped?
A little off-the-field humor: When Ricky Seals-Jones (Sealy, Texas/Sealy) put on his game jersey during Sunday’s registration check-in, he wore it around the host hotel proudly. In fact, the nation’s top-ranked athlete was so excited about the No. 89 jersey, he didn’t even recognize the jersey’s error.
“Someone came to me and asked, ‘Do you know that your name is misspelled?’” Seals-Jones said. “I said, ‘What do you mean?’ Then I saw it was missing an S. It kind of got to me, but they said they’d have a new one ready for me before the game.”
Sunday’s jersey read “Seal-Jones,” but when the teams made their way to the Alamodome on Wednesday to check out the facilities and see the locker rooms -- which had their jerseys and gear for Saturday -- he was happy to see his new game jersey with his name spelled correctly.
Status update: In addition to playing for their country as U.S. Army All-Americans, many West team members are dedicating Saturday to ESPN 150 wide receiver and Notre Dame commit Torii Hunter Jr. (Prosper, Texas/Prosper), who broke his femur during non-contact drills Tuesday morning.
ESPN 150 offensive lineman and Texas commit Jake Raulerson tweeted this via @JakeRaulerson55 late Tuesday: “@THunterJr we are praying for your surgery tomorrow and we are playing for you on Saturday #WestSquad #ArmyBowl”
What’s on tap: ESPN 150 wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) has yet to arrive in San Antonio and won’t until Thursday. That will give him one practice to get acclimated to the East playbook. Asiantii Woulard is in the same boat.
ESPN 150 OLB Mike Mitchell is one of eight players expected to commit on Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The following players are expected to announce their college futures at the game on Saturday:
ESPN 300 ATH Tyler Boyd (Clairton, Pa./Clairton): Expected to choose between Pitt and Michigan State
OG Reeve Koehler (Honolulu/St. Louis): Expected to choose between Kansas and Tennessee
ESPN 300 DE Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland): Expected to choose among Washington, USC, UCLA and Alabama
ESPN 150 OLB Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian): Expected to choose among Ohio State, Texas A&M and Oregon
ESPN 150 DE Alquadin Muhammad (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep): Expected to choose among Notre Dame, Miami, Rutgers and Alabama
ESPN 150 WR James Quick (Louisville, Ky./Trinity): Expected to choose among Ohio State, Louisville and Oregon
ESPN 300 WR Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, Ga./Peach County): Expected to choose between Florida and Clemson
ESPN 300 WR Tony Stevens (Orlando, Fla./Evans): Expected to choose among Texas A&M, Florida State and Ohio State