Stephen Atkinson contributed to this report:
San Antonio, Tex.--Day one of the U.S. Army All-American Junior Combine went off without a hitch on Friday as over 600 of the top juniors in the country converged on the Alamodome to show they belong among the best of the best for the class of 2008.
It didn't take long to make out several of the top players in the morning session as the skill players took the field to work out in technique and one-on-one drills. Among the quarterbacks massive D.C. Jefferson from Winter Haven, Fla. was hard to miss. The 6-6, 240 Jefferson showed a very strong and accurate arm and was easily the top quarterback among the dozens of signal callers. Alabama was well-represented at quarterback as Briarwood's Barrett Trotter looked good throwing the ball and had a solid session.
While the quarterback position wasn't loaded with talent that was not the case at wide receiver with several players trying to stake their claim as the best in class for next year. Perhaps the top performer was Gerell Robinson from Hamilton High in Chandler, Ariz. but many others were close enough to make it a race before the weekend is done.
Although he's not the biggest and possibly not the fastest there it little doubt that Torieal Gibson from Glenville High in Cleveland, Ohio is the quickest of the receivers and showed that by jumping in for rep after rep during the morning workout. Just behind him in the quickness department is standout Rodriquez Wilks from Smyrna, Tenn. Known as a human highlight reel, Wilks already reports offers from several SEC schools.
Locally several of Mobile's finest held up very well against some of the nation's best. Speedy Burton Scott from Vigor High was one of the top athletes in attendance and worked at wide receiver Friday morning despite wanting to start at quarterback. Watching him run it's obvious his future is either at wide receiver or defensive back.
St Paul's receivers Destin Hood and Mark Barron both have big frames and the ability to separate from the defensive back with the ball in the air. Barron was slowed by a sprained ankle but Hood was all over the place making catch after catch. With good size and speed Hood is easily in the Top 10 receivers at the combine.
Destin Hood is one of the top receivers in attendance.
While there's not a Caleb King type player among the running backs at this year's combine there are several quality players including big Jonas Gray from Country Day High in Detroit. Another back with moves is Joe Johnson from Valley High in Des Moines, Iowa. Martin Ward, a Georgia commitment, is one of the top backs at the combine and looks good catching the football.
On the other side of the ball the top players were easier to spot as two defensive backs rose to the top of the board quickly by shutting down opponent after opponent in the one-on-one drills. Athletic Patrick Johnson from Ely High in Pompano Beach, Fla. is a physical defensive back that could play corner or safety on the next level. The cousin of current Auburn defensive back Walter McFadden, Johnson has offers from Florida and Florida State already and says that Auburn has sent him letters.
If Johnson isn't the most impressive then that honor goes to Boubacar Cissoko from Cass Technical High in Detroit, Mich. A smaller cornerback prospect at just 5-9, Cissoko is a physical presence who plays aggressively at the line of scrimmage and can cover down the field.
Another standout on the defensive side of the ball was linebacker Adrien Cole from McGill-Toolen in Mobile. At just under 6-0 tall and weighing in at 217 pounds Cole showed the ability to cover backs out of the backfield while also closing on the ball well. Also an excellent fullback, Cole will be a player to watch next season for the Yellow Jackets.
Another linebacker that looked the part is athletic Tenarius Wright from Whitehaven High in Memphis. Measuring in at 6-2, 207, Wright has already started for three years and his experience shows in drills as he comfortably covers backs both in the flat and down the field. Originally from Arkansas, Wright says he grew up a fan of the Razorbacks but doesn't have any early offers at the moment.
Up front the stars abound on the offensive side as J.B. Shugarts from Klein High in Spring, Tex. was one of many quality offensive linemen in attendance. Massive Vinston Painter from Norfolk, Va. swallows up opponents with his physical play at tackle. Center Michael Brewster from Edgewater High in Orlando showed his nasty side with several brutal blocks in Friday's drills. Defensively the star of the show is Shawntel Rowell from Glenville. At 6-3 and over 300 pounds he's quick off the ball and virtually unblockable at the point of attack.
Shawntell Rowell is a force at defensive tackle for a very talented Glenville squad.
Saturday the prospects will have their day in the sun as the testing portion of the combine takes place beginning at 7 a.m. The testing will last until just before noon with the Army All-American Bowl scheduled to kick off at noon on NBC.