Football Gameplan is on location in beautiful St.Petersburg, Florida for the 2019 East West Shrine Game!
Here’s our Preview, Interviews and some exclusive video from all of the Shrine Game Practices!
West Team Gets a Lot of Team Reps
It was a heavy situational football approach for the West Team on Day 3, as we saw 4 sets of team drills throughout the day: Team Run, Team 3rd Downs, Team Regular, Team 2-minutes. This gave you a good look at the quarterbacks and how they can lead a drive to either move the sticks or come away with points. In that regard, I thought Fresno State QB Marcus McMaryion had the best day out of the QBs as he was the only one to lead his unit down the field for a touchdown during Team 2-minutes.
Northwestern Corner Stacks Back-to-Back Days
I like what I saw from former Northwestern Wildcat corner Montre Hartage (6’0 195) during 1-on-1s. He has really good closing speed on the receiver, his hands stay active and he able to smoothly flip his hips and run with the wideout. He’s been really good so far here.
Oregon Ducks LB Justin Hollins (6’5 242) has been stellar throughout the week for the West Team. He’s having a Uchenna Nwosu-type all-star week, where you constantly see him popping up against the run, winning rep after rep in OL/DL 1-on-1s, he’s been everywhere. Hollins has definitely made himself some money this week.
Big 12 DL Disruptive Again
It’s becoming a broken record in talking about Kansas Jayhawks defensive lineman Daniel Wise and Texas Longhorns DT Chris Nelson. They’ve been two of the practice stars this week at the Shrine Game. Wise’s quickness and explosiveness off the ball has him in the backfield a ton. Walker has excellent hand strength/usage that allows him to get off blocks on a consistent basis. Both have been tough to block throughout the week.
More Practice Standouts
LB – Cody Barton (6’2 230), Utah: Barton does a great job against the run. He takes proper angles to the ball, gets good run fits and doesn’t allow the back to get outside. He’s been assignment sound all week.
RB – Nick Brossette (6’0 221), LSU: Brossette had an excellent day in the Team Red Zone period. He caught the football well, and has done so all week. I also thought he ran with good patience during Team Run periods, always finding open space within the defense.
RB – Devine Ozigbo (6’0 235), Nebraska: I like the way he attacks a lane when he has one. Ozigbo can really pick’em up and put’em down when plants his foot in the ground and heads up field. He had a couple of nice plays, both run and pass, during the practice.
OG – Lanard Bonner (6’5 315), Arkansas State: Bonner fires off the ball with the type of attitude and aggression that you want to see from your interior offensive lineman. Today he was stellar during the Team Run periods. He fights hard and competes to get the most out of every rep.
CB – Donnie Lewis Jr. (6’0 195), Tulane: Impressive day for the Green Wave corner. Lewis made a few plays during 7-on-7 and in Team 2-minute, ending a drive with a pass breakup. He plays bigger than his already bigger listed size.
P – Jack Fox (6’2 224), Rice: There is a certain sound that you hear when a punt is a good one. Fox is able to strike that chord each and every time. He’s been punting the ball extremely well.
Practice Highlights: Day 3 – West Team
Team-vs-Team 3rd Down
Team-vs-Team Regular & 2-Minute
Ta’amu & Dogbe Among Standouts on Day 3
In the final practice of full pads, the East Team hit the field for 2-hours on Wednesday, allowing some guys to turn it up a notch and impress. We saw a couple of prospects have their best days on Day 3 at Tropicana Field.
Jordan Ta’amu Leads the Way
The Ole Miss QB had a strong day throwing the football. Ta’amu was able to excel in both 7-on-7 and team periods, being both decisive and accurate throughout. At all levels of the field and even situationally, Ta’amu was able to come through.
DL Michael Dogbe had himself a very disruptive day. In OL/DL 1-on-1s and in the team period, you kept seeing #90 making a play at, or behind the line of scrimmage. During the team period, Dogbe was blowing up screens, regular run plays and getting to the QB in what would’ve been sacks in the game.
Backs & Backers Go Head-to-Head in Blitz Pickup
This was a really good drill as I thought there were a couple of standouts on both sides. Again, this is a drill that’s tilted in favor of the linebackers as they’re rushing with a full head of steam toward a stationary target. The trick for the backs is to get your feet underneath you, keep them moving, make first contact with your hands and wash the defender to wherever his momentum is taking him. Maryland’s Ty Johnson and UMass RB Marquis Young I thought handled themselves well in this drill. From a rush perspective, North Carolina LB Cole Holcomb proved to be a tough block, winning virtually every rep with a variety of moves.
Tar Heel Backers
Speaking of Cole Holcomb, he and his teammate Malik Carney have quietly put together a stellar week of work. Watching those two run sideline-to-sideline has been an impressive sight. Carney also sees time as a rush end during 1-on-1s, showing the explosiveness off the corner to frustrate offensive tackles.
Colonial Athletic Association Strength
Both CAA prospects Oli Udoh (Elon) and Ethan Greenidge (Villanova) were able to impose their will on opposing defensive lineman during team period. Both guys are so strong at the point of attack and really get tremendous movement up front. Both players have definitely caught the attention of multiple scouts because of their play.
Custis, Moreland & Horsted Shine Again
It has become a common theme here in St. Pete to see WR Jamal Custis (Syracuse), CB Jimmy Moreland (James Madison) and WR Jesper Horsted (Princeton) have great practices. Custis has been virtually impossible to cover in 1-on-1s, Moreland seems to always have the ball in his hands, as he did once again on Day 3, and Horsted comes up big -time during the team periods and in 7-on-7s. All three guys should shine in the game as well.
More Practice Standouts
S – Chris Johnson (6’3 200), North Alabama: The former UNA Lions star moves really well on the back end. Johnson is a fluid athlete that consistently takes the right angles to the football. It’s been a steady week for him.
CB – Tim Harris (6’1 205), Virginia: Harris had himself a day today in coverage. The 6’1 205lb corner was excellent in both 1-on-1s and team drills. I thought he did a good job in 1-on-1s using his length to make things difficult for the receiver.
OL – Joshua Miles (6’6 310), Morgan State: Another good day from the Morgan State Bear. Miles was strong in pass pro during the team periods today, stonewalling a few overly aggressive defenders.
DT – Ricky Walker (6’2 300), Virginia Tech: Walker was very disruptive on Day 3 during the Team Period. Using his quickness off the ball to split double teams and win vs 1-on-1 blocks as well.
DL – Jordan Brailford (6’3 250, Oklahoma State: I thought Brailford had a solid day overall. He was able to have success in both 1-on-1s and team periods. He’s got a pretty good shoulder dip that allows him to get past OL. He was in on a few plays against the run during team periods.
DT – Cortez Broughton (6’2 290), Cincinnati: Really good day from the former Bearcat during team-vs-team run period. Broughton routinely found himself in the backfield making a stop.
LB – Ulysees Gilbert III (6’1 230), Akron: Gilbert has impressed a lot this week. He’s got a high level football I.Q. You can see that he has taken to this defense pretty quickly because he always is in the right spot making a play. He really thrives during team drills. He’s primed for a big game on Saturday.
CB – Derrick Baity Jr. (6’3 188), Kentucky: Stacking back-to-back strong days in coverage for the Kentucky Wildcats corner. Baity really proves his worth during 1-on-1 drills. So impressive for a 6’3 corner.
Practice Highlights – Day 3 (East Team)
Wide Receivers Shine on Day 2
West Team Wide Receivers Display A+ Athleticism
It doesn’t take long to watch the West Team receivers and notice how ridiculously athletic the group is. I spoke about this on Day 1, but it’s just so remarkable to see the level of consistency of the athleticism throughout the receiver group. Not only are they explosive, they catch the ball extremely well. It’ll be interesting to see how this group fares in the game against the East Team.
Fresno State Pair Have Great Days
QB Marcus McMaryion and WR KeeSean Johnson had really good practices on Day 2. I thought McMaryion was the best QB of the day. For one, he didn’t turn the ball over. And two, he was accurate at all levels of the field. Johnson has been the talk of St. Pete so far this week with the way he’s performing out there on the field. He’s the West Team’s version of Terry Godwin, in how his explosive and makes everything look rather easy. It’s no surprise that the Bulldogs had an 11-2 season with these two guys spearheading their offensive attack.
Impressive Safety Play on Day 2
UCLA’s Adarius Pickett, Wyoming’s Andrew Wingard, Michigan’s Tyree Kinnel and Colorado’s Evan Worthington were solid on Day 2. Wingard had a pick six during practice, while Pickett and Worthington were real solid in both run support and taking away deep ball opportunities. I like how this group works together to also help out the corners during 7-on-7 and team periods.
OL-DL Play to a Stalemate in 1-on-1s
There were enough victories to go around during the OL/DL 1-on-1 period. The West Team has some pretty athletic tackles in Trey Pipkins (Sioux Falls), Jackson Barton (Utah), Ryan Pope (San Diego State). I thought those three did a great job all period long against defensive ends. On the interior, La Tech’s Oshea Dugas & Michigan’s Juwann Bushell-Beatty were excellent also. Dugas is quietly having himself a really strong week in St. Pete.
For the defense, Kansas Jayhawks DT Daniel Wise seemed to win his matchup throughout the period. He uses his hands extremely well and was almost Kung Fu like in his ability to use leverage to win. The same for Texas DT Chris Nelson. He’s been really good not only in 1-on-1s, but also in 9-on-7s and in team periods. He’s having himself an outstanding week. Texas A&M’s Daylon Mack was also able to find a lot of success during the period. It seemed as if they were in the heads of the OL, knowing how they were planning to attack them before the snap and being able to counter as a result.
More Practice Standouts
LB – Joe Dineen (6’2 235) Kansas: During the Team Run period, Dineen delivered a couple of good pops on the running back. I love how he just explodes on contact. Very good read and recognition skills in the running game.
CB – Ka’dar Hollman (6’0 190), Toledo: Every time you look up, you see the former Toledo Rockets corner making a play on the ball, staying in the hip pocket on the receiver, or flying up in run support to make a stop. Hollman has put out some good tape here in St. Pete all week long. He’s been playing great.
DL – Derick Roberson (6’4 250), Sam Houston State: Roberson is a very athletic edge rusher and showed a variety of moves during 1-on-1s. His speed off the ball and ability to dip his shoulder as he turns the corner, has made him a tough block this week.
LB – Justin Hollins (6’5 242), Oregon: Hollins was strong against the run during the team period segment of practice. He did a good job of setting the edge and making the plays that came his way.
CB – Blace Brown (6’0 190), Troy: Brown is looking like the best corner on the West Team. He does everything technically well and has displayed the ball skills that you covet at the next level.
RB – Darrin Hall (5’11 222), Pitt: Hall is another running back in this game with good, all around skills. On Day 2 we saw him add to that by catching the ball really well both out of the backfield, and downfield as well. He has a lot of Jeremy Hill-like skills that he brings to the table. Impressive footwork as well.
WR – Brody Oliver (6’3 210), Colorado School of Mines: You can see the polish in the game of Oliver. That is because of the offense he came out of at CSM. What’s impressive about his game is his explosiveness and body control. He’s another receiver that’s having a strong performance in front of scouts. And is another one that runs small but plays big.
TE – Kato Dillon (6’5 265), Oregon: Dillon is a powerful player. You can tell that in how he runs his routes. Very good acceleration for a 265lb guy, that shows above-average athleticism to make any type of catch.
Practice Highlights – Day 2 West Team
Bulldogs Dominate on Day 2
East Team Practice Notes
Georgia Prospects Standing Out
Georgia center Lamont Gaillard and wide receiver Terry Godwin II have looked like two of the best players on the offensive side of the ball for the East Team. During both OL/DL 1-on-1s and 9-on-7, Gaillard won virtually every rep. In pass rush drills, he’s able to stonewall defensive lineman, and during the 9-on-7 run drills he’s able to consistently move guys off the spot. Godwin looks to be the most explosive of the receiving corps. Everything is explosive with him, from his stem into his route, to win he snaps it off to comeback or to explode in-or-out on a cut, Godwin kills it. He also has really good hands. There’s a razor-sharp focus coming from these to Bulldogs.
Oklahoma State’s QB Sharp on Day 2
With his second consecutive strong day, Oklahoma State QB Taylor Cornelius is starting to separate himself from the pack on the East Squad. There’s a different level of both velocity and decisiveness when he throws the ball. With the way he’s throwing the ball with both timing and accuracy, you’d think these are the receivers he played with back in Stillwater. He’s been really impressive so far.
Moreland Makes Plays
Another prospect who has posted back-to-back strong days of work is James Madison corner Jimmy Moreland. I’m a big fan of corners that can find, and make plays on the ball. That’s what we got yesterday again from the former Dukes star. During team period, Moreland’s sticky coverage yielded itself to him making a couple of plays. There’s something to be said for a defensive player that always ends up with the ball in his hands.
Big Men that can Move
I do believe that once we get to the actual game, the East Team will be able to run the ball. 9-on-7 period on Day 2 was an excellent display of athleticism along the offensive line. Morgan State’s Josh Miles, Elon’s Olisaemeka Udoh and Florida’s Martez Ivey looked really good on the move. Their athleticism allows them to win in different ways, regroup-and-redirect, while also getting out on the move a well. You see a lot of the same things in Illinois center Nick Allegretti and North Carolina State’s guard Tyler Jones. Overall I think the East OL is having a strong week of work.
Jamal Custis Raises Eyebrows
What a day by the former Syracuse Orange wide receiver Jamal Custis. A 6’5 213lb receiver isn’t supposed to move so effortlessly and fluid. In 1-on-1s is where I thought he did his best work. Custis was able to easily get separation from the DB, stacking him as well, and making the reception. On one particular play you saw him explode into his route, and quickly snap it off on a perfect comeback route and make the catch. I like the versatility he’s showing as well, as a big guy who can also play inside. This has been a really good week for him.
Linebackers Have a Day in 1-on-1s
I thought the linebackers did a great job today in RB-vs-LBs 1-on-1 drills. UNC’s duo of Malik Carney and Cole Holcomb, along with Maryland’s Tre Watson made life difficult for the running backs throughout the period. You didn’t see panic from these guys during this period, as they stayed patient, trusted their own athleticism and made plays.
DTs Causing Havoc Inside
Both Tennessee’s Kyle-Lawrence Phillips and Rutgers’ Kevin Wilkins had a lot of success individually in 1-on-1s. Kyle-Lawrence Phillips hand usage was outstanding, while Wilkins ball get off and ability to use his leverage had him posting back-t0-back solid reps during this period.
More Practice Standouts
CB – Derrick Baity, Jr (6’3 188), Kentucky: Baity transitions well for a taller corner and had a really good day in 1-on-1s. Baity moves small and plays big, which is exactly how you want it to be.
RB – Jordan Ellis (5’10 225), Virginia: Ellis plays a pro game. You can tell he’s going to be a chain-mover at the next level. I was able to speak to him after practice and he explained how the offense they ran at UVa helped prepare him for the NFL. He’s got good, all-around game.
RB – Ty Johnson (5’10 212), Maryland: I really like how comfortable Johnson looks catching the ball out of the backfield. He has been showing a lot of the tools needed to have a significant role within an offense at the next level.
WR – Terry Wright (5’11 180), Purdue: The chemistry he has with his QB here David Blough is evident, but outside of that Wright still has performed really well with whoever throws him the ball. I think he matches Godwin in terms of explosiveness and athleticism. He made a fantastic catch deep downfield over his shoulder.
RB – Marquis Young (6’1 210), UMass: Young has a different burst to his game. You can see this during both 9-on-7 and in team periods. His burst and acceleration threatens angles.
TE – Matthew Sokol (6’6 255), Michigan State: I think Sokol may be the fastest Tight End here at the Shrine Game, both East and West teams. He’s such a smooth route runner, and with his speed and acceleration, he’s finding himself open a lot at practice.
LB – Takitaki Sione (6’2 240), BYU: Sione brought his A-game in 9-on-7 today, making a few big ‘thuds’ against the running backs. His run fits were where they needed to be, and he had a great period as a result.
LB – Ulysees Gilbert III (6’1 230), Akron: Quietly, Gilbert has posted back-to-back solid days during team drills. He trusts what he sees and is able to quickly react to make a play. He was solid on both ends of defense on Day 2.
EDGE – Mathieu Betts (6’3 250), Laval: The Canadian standout was much more consistent on Day 2 in attacking the leverage of the offensive linemen during 1-on-1s, now showing the ability to counter if the first move is stopped. Also, during 9-on-7, Betts had a much better showing against the run. He’s starting to really get adjusted to the American game.
Practice Highlights – Day 2 East Team
WRs/RBs/TEs -vs- LBs/DBs 1-on-1
West Team Practice Gets Underway
Initially what stands out to you about the West Team here at the East West Shrine Game, is how long and athletic they are in many areas in their personnel. What a great collection of talent put together on this team this year.
There was a lot of focus on the QBs today as Brett Rypien (Boise State), Marcus McMaryion (Fresno State) and Easton Stick (North Dakota State) took the field. I thought Rypien was slightly the more consistent today, but all seemed to throw the ball well during separate times at practice. To me, they all were about the same but Rypien probably gets the nod because of his level of consistency. I also thought he had some good pop on the ball in the intermediate range.
OT – Trey Pipkins (6’7 307), Sioux Falls: Pipkins not only looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman, but was able to play the part as well. For a taller guy, he does not struggle to get good leverage and was able to perform well on both ends of offense. I’m excited to see how he is able to build on a strong Day 1 performance.
Earlier I mentioned the length and athleticism within the personnel on the West Team and that immediately shows itself in the receiving corps. KeeSean Johnson (Fresno State), Ron’quavion Tarver (Utah State), Cody Thompson (Toledo) and Brody Oliver (Colorado School of Mines) are all 6’2/6’3 and explosive. It was impressive to see taller receivers have no problem getting in-and-out of their breaks as if they were all 5’9. Johnson caught the ball extremely well yesterday and Tarver had an excellent showing during 1-on-1s. The other receivers like Shawn Poindexter (Arizona) and Jon Duhart (Old Dominion) have that physically imposing size that yields itself to having a home on the outside at the NFL level.
TE – Kendall Blanton (6’6 265), Missouri: Blanton has impressive acceleration for a 265lber. I thought he was solid during both 7-on-7 and in 1-on-1s.
RB – Darrin Hall (5’11 225), Pitt: Hall just has a natural feel for the running game. Patient, consistent and fluid would aptly describe how he attacks the line of scrimmage when given the ball.
OT – Juwann Bushell-Beatty (6’6 318) Michigan: I thought Bushell-Beatty was outstanding during OL/DL 1-on-1s, showcasing a powerful punch and good footwork to stonewall defensive linemen.
The one defensive lineman that proved to be a nuisance throughout the day was Texas DT Chris Nelson. He was disruptive in 9-on-7, consistently finding himself in the backfield. And in 1-on-1s, Nelson showed impressive hand usage to free himself of blockers throughout the period.
CB – Blace Brown (6’0 191), Troy: Brown was as good as advertised yesterday. What’s impressive about his skill set is that he’s patient in coverage, doesn’t panic when the ball is in the air, and has good spatial awareness. I thought he had a strong opening practice.
DL – Markus Jones (6’3 260), Angelo State: Quietly, Jones had one of the more consistent days of all the defensive lineman/edge rushers. His dip under move was on point during 1-on-1s. Jones doesn’t stay blocked for long as he finds different ways to win vs an OL.
LB – BJ Blunt (6’1 220), McNeese State: Blunt’s speed and acceleration makes him a threat at the 2nd level. You were able to see yesterday him being moved around the defense, putting him in favorable situations to have success. You saw him get better with each rep during team-vs-team.
Practice Highlights – Day 1 (West Team)
East Team Kicks Off Shrine Game Week
The 94th East-West Shrine Game got underway on Monday with the East Team practice. With a bevy of NFL and CFL scouts on hand, the college all-stars went through a 2-hour workout in the mid-afternoon. What was noticeably different this year was the fact that the entire practice was held in Tropicana Field, where the game will be played on Saturday afternoon.
QB – Taylor Cornelius (6’6 232), Oklahoma State: I thought he threw the ball extremely well all day long. Cornelius was able to connect consistently in the intermediate area of the field accurately through the day, in all periods. His arm strength is something that stood out significantly, especially on deeper in-breaking routes. He was really sharp in both 7-on-7 and Team-vs-Team periods.
During OL-DL 1-on-1s, despite the drill being putting the offensive linemen in a disadvantageous situation, a couple of guys were able to win the majority of their battles against the defensive line. Tyler Jones (NC State), Joshua Miles (Morgan State), Nick Allegretti (Illinois) and Ethan Greenidge (Villanova) were stellar.
OL Olisaemeka Udoh (Elon), Martez Ivy (Florida) and Bunchy Stallings (Kentucky) thrived in the team run period.
WR – Terry Godwin II (5’11 185), Georgia: Godwin looked to be playing at a different speed on Monday. He’s very explosive out of his breaks, catching the ball consistently throughout the day. I thought he showed tremendous polish.
WR – Jesper Horsted (6’4 225), Princeton: Like Godwin, Horsted had a really good day catching the football. He moves extremely well for a bigger wide receiver, able to quickly throttle down and snap out of his breaks. He had some really good reps in 1-on-1s and during 7-on-7s.
TE – CJ Conrad (6’5 252), Kentucky: Conrad is a fluid route runner and has above-average acceleration. He is really able to get the defender to open up his hips quickly because of it before breaking off his route to get open.
RB – Jordan Ellis (5’10 225), Virginia: Ellis had a strong day running the football. During the Team Run period, he was able to consistently find the lane both frontside and backside, and quickly get there. He ran with good balance and pad level.
DE – Mathieu Betts (6’3 250), Laval: The USports star started to get acclimated pretty quickly to the American game during 1-on-1s, getting better with every rep. His next test will be to find the same growth against the run.
Speaking of stopping the run, DL Kevin Wilkins (Rutgers), Ricky Walker (Virginia Tech), Cortez Broughton (Cincinnati) and Chris Slaton (Syracuse) were solid in that regard during the Team Run period. Both Wilkins and Broughton had excellent reps in 1-on-1s as well.
I like what I saw from an athleticism perspective during the team periods from linebackers Malik Carney (North Carolina), Tre Watson (Maryland) and Ulysses Gilbert III (Akron). The trio showed good fluidity going sideline-to-sideline, with Gilbert doing a great job attacking downhill in the Team Run period.
A couple of guys in the secondary really stood out during the 1-on-1 period. Corners Rashad Fenton (South Carolina), Michael Jackson (Miami) and Jimmy Moreland (James Madison) looked good throughout the period. Fenton’s speed, Jackson’s ability to play with technique and length, and Moreland’s ball skills were on display and is what stood out the most during the period.
Practice Highlights: Day 1 – East Team
Team-vs-Team Period (Run & Full)
DL – Daniel Wise, Kansas
LB – Justin Hollins, Oregon
DL – Chris Nelson, Texas
WR – Brody Oliver, Colorado School of Mines
CB – Chris Harris, Virginia
WR – Terry Godwin, Georgia
OL – Oli Udoh, Elon
OL – Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls
DE – Derick Roberson, Sam Houston State
CB – Jordan Wyatt, SMU
RB – Marquis Young, UMass
CB – Jimmy Moreland, James Madison
RB – Darnell Woolfolk, Army
WR – Jamal Custis, Syracuse
DE – Markus Jones, Angelo State
TE – Kendall Blanton, Missouri
QB – Easton Stick, North Dakota State
QB – Brett Rypien, Boise State
LB – Tre Watson, Maryland
DE – Mathieu Betts, Laval
OL – Joshua Miles, Morgan State
RB – Jordan Ellis, Virginia
CB – Blace Brown, Troy
QB – Marcus McMaryion, Fresno State
LB – BJ Blunt, McNeese State
OL – Lanard Bonner, Arkansas State
DL – Joel Van Pelt, Calgary
WR – Jesper Horsted, Princeton
OT – Ethan Greenidge, Villanova