Day 1 Notebook: Team USA

Team USA had its first practice on Sunday afternoon in preparation for Wednesday's match-up with the world team, a team of 19 and under prospects from 16 different countries around the world. was on hand to see the action.

Day 1 Defensive MVP

Stephon Tuitt, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end is a complete load to handle off of the edge. He was one of the most physically impressive players, if not the most physically impressive, but he also produces.

Coming off of the edge he has a nice burst and really long arms to initiate contact well away from his body. For a taller player he plays with nice leverage and keeps his body low. He is also super strong and sheds blocks with relative ease when his speed does not get him easily by his man.

"Tuitt is a long good looking body he is really going to be a force out there for us," explained defensive coordinator, head coach at Miami Central in Fla.

Day 1 Offensive MVP

Jaxon Shipley, a 6-foot-0, 180-pound wide receiver from Brownwood High was a late addition to the roster when La., product Jarvis Landry no showed for the game and it was an addition that the Team USA quarterbacks are going to be thrilled with. He has anice combination of skills.

Shipley proved that he was a slick route runner and is hard to handle underneath, especially out of the slot, but he also split out wide and made plays over the top of the defense. He had the two biggest offensive plays of the day. On one catch, a fade, he skied over the defender and hauled the ball in over the top of his helmet while keeping his feet in bounds.

"I was impressed with all of the guys since they walked in to the hotel," began wide receiver coach Jeff Rhoads. "Jaxon Shipley is pretty to watch. He is so graceful but still fast. He is very good."

The Best of the Rest

In an all-star game you could usually write about every single player on the roster as a standout in one way or another, but there were a few players who did stand out above the rest.

Ty Montgomery, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound wide receiver from St. Marks in Dallas, Texas may have been the most physically impressive player on the field. He is completely ripped and has those long arms built for going up to snag balls out of the air and/or awy from his body. He had a really strong day until he tweaked his right ankle towards the end of practice.

Kiaro Holts, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound offensive tackle from Indianapolis Warren Central in Ind., and Jamelle Naff, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive guard from Del City High in Okla., were probably the two strongest offensive linemen of the group, at least on this day. Holts looks like a prototype D1 tackle prospect and Naff is as strong as they come at the point of attack.

Running backs do not usually get the chance to shine in a setting like an all-star game practice, but Aaron Green, showed some serious flashes of ability. He is a stop and go type of runner who has the speed to get to the edge in a hurry. He can take a run to the middle of the field and he is always just one move away from busting it out wide and scoring a touchdown.

Kris Harley, 6-foot-0, 290-pound defensive tackle from Indianapolis Warren Central seemed to be the most charismatic player on the defensive side of the ball and he was pretty solid in the OL/DL one-on-ones and was tough to block in the team drills, but he also was unable to finish practice with an undisclosed and apparently minor precautionary injury. He stays low to the ground and uses his strength and low center of gravity to beat linemen to the gap he is responsible for. Kevin McReynolds was equally impressive in the middle and maybe even a little bit stronger than Harley.

In the defensive backfield it was Wayne Lyons, a 6-foot-0, 190-pound safety from Dillard High in Fla., and Jabriel Washington a 5-foot-11, 165-pound corner from Trinity Christian Academy High in Tenn., were both excellent in his coverage assignments. Lyons has an effortless backpedal and is able to patrols the zone like a veteran and Washington made the biggest plays on receivers from his corner spot.

"In the secondary I really did like Lyons and Washington. Very athletic and you can tell they are really going to be going were they were going," explained Merritt.

The Team USA vs. The World game will be played on Wednesday Feb 2nd at Austin Westlake High. To buy ticktes follow this link: Ticket Purchase Link

And for all other information on the game please visit: USA v. World

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