Secondary Leads the Way as Day 2 Wraps Up
It was an impressive day overall for the secondary as the American Team wrapped up its practice here at the 2019 Tropical Bowl in preparation for Sunday’s game. What has been consistent about the American Team practice has been the consistency of the energy level. Guys have been amped since they arrived and that yields itself to great play on the field during the practices.
Route Running Assassins
Between Robert Lewis (Washington State), Prince Gray (Jacksonville) and Ryan Schadler (Kansas), I don’t know who the best route runner is out of the three, but what I do know is all of them is the best route runner out of the three. These guys have put on a clinic this week in how to get open. Their ability in this regard has helped them look good in both 1-on-1s and in 7-on-7.
Ballin’ in the Red Zone
Inside the 20-yard line everything shrinks for an offense. What doesn’t shrink is the play of your bigger wide receivers and tight ends. WRs Kaian Duverger (6’6 212, UVA-Wise) and Quinn McElfresh (6’3 225, Mississippi Valley State) and TE Justin Johnson (6’4 238, Mississippi State) were standouts during this portion of practice. It’s all about body positioning and extending out to make the reception, and that’s what all three of these big targets were able to do throughout the day.
Running Backs Have a Day
I thought Day 2 was a good day for the running back position for the American Team. We saw guys showcase their entire arsenal today as far as running, receiving and blocking. Ryan Fulse (Wagner) is probably the most explosive of the backs and that cause problems for a defense out on the perimeter. Emmanuel Jones (Concordia St. Paul) is the best receiver out of the group. I think Jones could serve as a slot receiver if he had to. He’s been one of the better receiving backs in both the National Bowl & here at the Tropical Bowl. Both Reggie Gallaspy II (NC State) and Alonzo Smith (Miami OH) ran with really good pad level and picked up blitzes really well today. Both guys had some nice runs in team period also.
Centers Dominate 1-on-1s
The two Centers on the American Team, Byron Glass (Austin Peay) and John Yarbrough (Richmond), were flat out fantastic yesterday. Glass has excellent core strength and was tough for defensive lineman to move off the spot. Yarbrough shows really good hand placement and is patient in his approach, which lead to a lot of wins yesterday for him. Both players are creating a real buzz amongst scouts here in attendance.
Size is Not a Skill
If you follow Football Gameplan, you know this is our rallying cry. During Day 2, both defensive backs Marvin Conley (West Florida) and DeMarcus Owens (New Mexico State) were able to carry that flag in a big way. Conley, at 5’9 185, plays safety but can also serve as a slot corner. He was able to match up well against the bigger wide receivers, showing his ability to win in 50/50 situations. He already has tremendous ball skills as a Safety, showing he could effective cover 1-on-1 was a plus this week. Owens at times seems like he’s running the route for the receiver with how well his feet and hips are in coverage. He’s put together back-to-back stellar day in man coverage. Owens also does a fantastic job in playing the ball.
WR – Jaelan Austin (6’2 205), TCU: Once again Austin was the talk of the day. The former Horned Frog is able to make any, and all catches on the field. Speaking with him after practice he stated that ‘he tries to take a picture of the ball before catching it’, his attention to detail shows itself in his play.
DT – Zachary Cannon (6’3 313), Johnson C. Smith: Cannon has an effective bull rush that tends to surprise offensive lineman. His initial jolt/punch off the ball gives him an opportunity to win the rep.
DE – Chase DeMoor (6’5 250), Central Washington: DeMoor had a really good day in both 1-on-1s and in Team period. You can see him finally start to use his length to his advantage, winning multiple times because of his ability to get his hands on the offensive player first.
OL – Thomas Dennis (6’5 305), Penn: Another strong performance for the Penn Quaker. What’s interesting about Dennis is how quiet he goes about his business, showing the ability to remain consistent in his technique with each rep. He’s been impressive.
LB – Anthony Flory (6’2 235), Appalachian State: Flory made a nice play in team period, catching an interception off of a tipped pass. I’ve been impressed with how he’s moved in coverage this week.
DB – Illya Lawrence (6’0 200), South Alabama: Lawrence made some plays on the ball today that showcased his ability to be a matchup defender on the backend and not just a Safety. He has good, all-around game.
DB – Mook Reynolds (6’1 185), Texas A&M Commerce: It’s going to be interesting to see where a pro team plays Reynolds at the next level. I thought today he was excellent in press man, strong on off coverage, and drove on the ball really well. He’s versatile enough to serve multiple roles in the secondary.
CB – Darryl Randolph (5’10 190), Middle Tennessee State: Randolph was strong in Red Zone 1-on-1 drills. You can tell he understands spacing and where he is on the field. He also does a great job in getting his head around to make a play.
Practice Highlights: Day 2 American Team
Skill Positions vs Defense 1-on-1s