Opening Lineman Recap

The big boys strapped on shoulder pads and helmets over the weekend for the lineman competition. The offense and defense faced off in drills, culminating in the always exciting 1on1 competition. The staff pick an MVP and standouts for the weekend...

Offensive Line MVP: Curtis Riser, De Soto (Tex.)

De Soto (Tex.) offensive guard Curtis Riser was the star of the 1on1 session Friday. The Texas commit went 6-0 against some of the top talent in the country, almost sealing the MVP in one day. Riser wasn't as dominant Saturday, but still won more battles than he lost. Riser has great balance and flexibility, he uses his punch to get defenders off balance and locked up. Riser still has some areas to improve on technique wise, and that is a positive. Already a dominant lineman, there is no telling where his ceiling is once he makes some tweaks to his stance and footwork.

While Riser was the best player over the course of the weekend, there was little doubt as to which player stepped up on Saturday. Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes tackle Zach Banner was the best performer in a competitive group Saturday afternoon. There has never been any doubt in the potential of the 6'9" 295lbs five-star, but many wondered if that talent would ever transition to the football field. This weekend went a long way in convincing many that he is on the right track. Banner, who had typically struggled against smaller speed rushers, did the best job of any lineman in locking up Chris Casher, the most explosive lineman in attendance. Banner looks to have improved his footwork and agility which has gone a long way in helping him engage his opponents. Which for Banner is the entire battle, once the big lineman has his hands on a defender he rarely lets them free.

San Clemente (Calif.) tackle Kyle Murphy performed best of the tackles on Friday. Murphy is athletic and long, with the strength to hold his ground. He struggled a bit during drills Saturday, but was along with Banner was the best of the tackles in Portland. Murphy can sometimes be buried in the depth of line talent in the 2012 class, but the senior is a blue chip talent that any college coach would be giddy to have on his commitment list. Buford (Ga.) tackle Vadal Alexander was another prospect that used his size to his advantage. The 6'6" 310lbs prospect did well on the 1on1's, but will need to improve his quickness and agility before competing at the collegiate level.  

Two of the top guards in the country had disappointing weekends. Puyallup (Wash.) lineman Joshua Garnett  performed well on Friday, and was headed towards top honors before a leg injury prevented him from participating on Saturday. Corvallis (Ore.) guard Isaac Seumalo had probably been the most consistent performer of any prospect throughout the spring camp circuit. However, Seumalo suffered a couple of early defeats Friday that seemed to leave him as stunned as the scouts in attendance. Seumalo regrouped very well for Saturday and showed the form that had earned him MVP honors at every Nike camp he attended.

Other top performers: Maryville (Tenn.) C Jay Guillermo, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer OT Patrick Miller, Encino (Calif.) Crespi OG Jordan Simmons

Defensive Line MVP: Chris Casher, Mobile (Ala.) Faith Academy

Mobile (Ala.) Faith Academy defensive end Chris Casher was unstoppable for most of the weekend. The future Seminole passes the eyeball test and backs it up with his play, using his speed to fly around the edge. Casher is a natural pass rushing defensive end, with room to add weight on his frame and speed that no offensive lineman could match. Casher looks to be a great get for FSU and could even be used as a 3-4 rush end. Casher was stopped on very few occasions all weekend and seemed to earn the respect of his peers. When the Nike MVP was announced, and it was not Casher, one of his fellow lineman felt that Casher had been "robbed".

Honolulu (Haw.) Punahou defensive end DeForest Buckner was one of the biggest surprises of the weekend. Buckner, who stands nearly 6'7", is a prospect that most scouts knew about, but few had seen. He was explosive off the ball and usually had the lineman beat before he was out of his stance. Buckner needs to add weight to his frame, but when he does, he has the look of a future first round pick.

Shreveport (La.) Woodlawn end Torshiro Davis looks like he could be the next great defensive playmaker for LSU. Davis is a bit small for defensive end, where he worked today, and could easily move to outside linebacker at the collegiate level. Davis is chiseled and much like Casher used his speed to foil the tackles. If Davis does remain at defensive end, he will need to add some other moves to his pass rush arsenal.

The interior players had a much tougher time in the 1on1 competition. Not a single defensive tackle stood out on Friday, with the guards and centers owning the line of scrimmage. Saturday brought back a healthy Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy,  who sat out Friday with an ankle injury he picked up earlier in the week. McCarthy needs to work on using his hands while rushing, but had as good a bull rush as any player in attendance. Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony Aziz Shittu had a tough day Friday before rebounding well on Saturday.

The most consistent defensive tackle over the course of the weekend was Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central prospect Sheldon Day. The four-star tackle looks shorter than the 6'2" he is listed at, but was a wrecking ball for most of the weekend. Day got great push and has a good first step off the line.

Other top performers: Durham (NC) Hillside DE Jamal Marcus, Patterson (Calif.) DT Pio Vatuvei, Honolulu (Haw.) Punahou DE Luke Kaumatule

Jake Worthen is a West Recruiting Analyst for
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