Plenty pass the eye test
SAN ANTONIO -- There's looking good against high school competition, which often shows a lot.
Then there's looking good against the best of the best, and that's what some players are doing against great competition during practice for Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Here are some observations we made at practice and intrasquad practices for the East and West Wednesday:
• Several players "passed the eye test," meaning they had impressive measurables. On the East, we noticed DE Maurice Evans, DE Robert Rose, every East linebacker, WR Vidal Hazelton, and on the West we noticed QB Josh Freeman, WR David Ausberry, RB DeMarco Murray, LB Sergio Kindle and S Taylor Mays.
• It's always interesting to see how players' listed heights and weights match up to their actual size. OG Jacques McClendon was shorter than advertised but very stocky. OT Sam Young has a great frame and could put 35-40 pounds on and still be athletic. WR Barry Gallup probably isn't the 5-foot-11 he's listed at, probably more like 5-9.
• Robert Rose is the best looking defensive end at first glance on the East team.
• QB Jarred Fayson can throw better than people give him credit for. He's taller than listed and has a great release. He certainly has the potential to play another position but fits the spread offense perfectly. Fayson will be limited in the All-American Bowl by a hamstring injury.
• WR Vidal Hazelton looked great in the intrasquad game today. He won a jump ball downfield, was not afraid to catch the ball in traffic and also made a one-handed catch on a deep ball. It seems the better the competition, the better he plays.
• Akeem Hebron, who's listed as a linebacker, is built more like a strong safety. He might move into a roverback role at the college level. The East team is utilizing Myron Rolle in the roverback role for the All-American Bowl.
• OT Andre Smith looked a little overweight, but his movement skills didn't reflect it. Smith has the best physical tools at this stage we've seen in a long time.
• CB Steve Brown looks more like a safety. He's great in a straight line, but he might not have the movement skills and hips to consistently stay at corner. Physically, he has everything you look for.
• RB C.J. Spiller and Rolle are rooming together in San Antonio. Rolle has been recruiting Spiller hard to Florida State and will certainly have his ear the entire week. Don't be surprised if he's already convinced him. Rolle graduated from the Hun School and will start classes Monday at Florida State. He and his parents will make the drive from San Antonio to Tallahassee on Sunday.
• QB Jevan Snead and Freeman are the best big-arm guys on the West squad. Freeman looks a lot like Texans QB Tony Banks; his throwing motion is very similar. QB Mitch Mustain is the precision passer out of the three, you can tell he is the most polished. His arm strength might be just an eyelash under the other two. Snead has great upside and is everything you want in a college quarterback. QB Chris Caflisch is playing as a wide receiver/athlete.
• My West team surprise of the day was Texas commit CB/WR Deon Beasley, who had sensational quickness and was a very quick route runner. For the East team, it was LB Brandon Spikes -- he's got a great motor, was vocal on defense and was good in pursuit.
• DT Gerald McCoy looked awesome in one-on-one pass rushing drills. He really looked quick off the ball. OT J'Marcus Webb has a great frame and can really fill out. He shows a lot of promise and ability.
• West punter Kyle Petersen looked fantastic. Not only is he an outstanding punter with hang time, but he is a great athlete and looks like a tight end.
• ESPN/ABC analyst Craig James' son Adam James will be playing for the West squad. He is an H-back type player who is more of a pass-catching threat than he is a run blocker at this stage.
Craig Haubert and Henry Gola contributed to this report.
Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Tom will be a studio analyst on ESPNU every Thursday and Saturday, talking college football and giving updates on the latest recruiting news.
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