East All-Stars Coach Gives Pugh High Marks

Chuck Granatell, offensive line coach of the East squad, gives his take on Auburn commitment Ryan Pugh.

San Antonio, Tex.--Auburn commitment Ryan Pugh has made a name for himself in San Antonio in preparation for Saturday's East vs. West Army All-American Bowl. As a 6-3, 275-pound center prospect, Pugh has been rated by Scout.com as the 11th best player out of 80 of the best players in the country invited to the national all-star game.

He's also left a strong impression on Chuck Granatell, the offensive line coach for the East who has had a close eye on Pugh during the week.

"We've had some good guys to come through and Ryan's right up there with any of the best I ever saw," Granatell says. "He's breaths football, he understands it quick, he knows what it's all about and he's a hard-working guy. He's just a joy to be around.

"They're all great kids--don't get me wrong. They're all great kids, but from the moment we first sat down together there was something about him that football is his life and football is real important to him. He's an extremely hard-working guy.

"Right away he wanted to sit down after our first meeting and everyone had left," Granatell continues. "He walked back into the room and asked if I had a few minutes. He goes, ‘I'm going to be the guy in the middle and I want to know what everybody else is going to do.' He's the kind of guy now who is coming out and taking charge."

Granatell is the offensive line coach at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., and he has coached several players in recent years who have made it to the collegiate level including Brian Roche of Louisville and Eric Cumba of New Hampshire. Notre Dame commitment Justin Trattou and Louisville commitment Matt Simms, who is the son of Phil and younger brother of Chris, are also representing the East from the New Jersey prep power.

Going against some of the best interior defensive linemen in the country like Marvin Austin and Torrey Davis, Pugh has done better than just holding his own this week during practice.

"He's doing very well and he doesn't back down from anybody," Granatell says of Pugh. "If he gets knocked down he's the first guy getting back up. He wants to get better every time he's out there and he's just a great guy. He's the guy who is in the middle of that action and wants to make sure he knows what's going on on either side. He's playing that role at the center.

"He picks it up just like we're talking English. He just picks it up and it's great. He's just a tough guy. The throwback of a tough guy, that's Ryan."

Pugh shown at practice in the AlamoDome.

Rating Pugh's potential as he prepares to make the move from left tackle at Hoover High to center at Auburn, Granatell says he has what it takes to succeed in the SEC.

"He's got to work on his pass blocking a little bit," he explains. "Some of the stuff that we're doing is a little new to him, but he picks that up well. He's got to work on his quickness and strength. He's strong now, but he'll continue to get that.

"He's quick enough to get to the next level. The height thing is always a factor with those guys (offensive linemen), but if anybody can get away with it then it's probably the guy in the middle. He'll go up and punch anybody in the mouth."

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