The day started off with the Marines putting the West players through an intense warm-up that involved push-ups, up-downs and a lot of tough love towards the players. It was clear that no one will be treated like a star this week.
The coaching staff felt that Washington commit Jeff Lindquist had the best day and we agreed. He was crisp on his passes, was consistent and dropped in a couple great deep balls, including a deep touchdown to start off 7 on 7s. Wisconsin commit Bart Houston did have his moments. He puts nice touch on his passes, but he still has some mechanical work to do. Skyler Mornhinweg got better as the day went on. He started slow, but did well in 7 on 7s.
D.J. Foster got the most action, as he can play running back, slot and worked out at some Wildcat quarterback. He's a quick, explosive kid that catches the ball well. Tim Wright, who came in as an athlete, worked at running back and had a nice day catching the ball.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
The West has a really strong group of wide receivers. The highest ranked of them, Deontay Greenberry did not take part in the second practice, but in early drills, showed why he's so highly regarded with his effortless routes and ability to pluck the ball out of the air. The most active receivers today were probably Andre McDonald and Jaydon Mickens. McDonald, a Vanderbilt commit is big and the DBs who tried to jam him quickly found out that he wasn't an easy guy to re-route. Then he went up high and made some great catches over top of defenders. His stock is on its way up. Mickens is the smallest of the group, but the quickest. He can stop and cut on a dime and blew past a would-be corner on his first 1-1 rep. He's a very sudden and explosive kid. Another Vandy commit Coty Batey was very steady. He caught the ball consistently, as did Josh Weeks, a BYU commit who doesn't stand out physically in this group but has good, reliable hands. Javon Williams is a long strider with good deep speed, but he isn't as good in short areas and had a couple drops. He has pretty good upside though. Gehrig Dieter has good hands and made some grabs in traffic, but didn't have as many opportunities down the field. Penn State commit Jessie James, the lone tight end, caught the ball well, but we still feel his best position at the next level may be offensive tackle.
We liked what we saw from Freddie Tagaloa and Alex Kozan today and felt they were both guys whose stock could rise if they continue to perform the way they did this week. Tagaloa is one of the most physically imposing kids here and had several dominating moments in 11-11 team work. Matt Cochran had a good day. He's a true center, and when he gets his hands on someone, he wins. Adam Bisnowaty also had a solid showing and looks good on the hoof.
The top guy was a linebacker, Kendrius Whitehead, who was a handful in 1-1s. DeForest Buckner, the D-Lineman who passes the eye-test the most, also had a great day. He gets off the ball and runs better than most kids his size. Jaxon Hood is a little undersized, but had a really good day. He has good burst and explosion off the line. He had guys beat with his first step. Joran Watkins did well in 1-1s, but struggled some in the team portion. Mario Ojemudia had his moments as a pass rusher in 1-1s and scrimmages, but he's light and when guys got their hands on him, he had more trouble. He had some of the best footwork of the defensive linemen though.
They didn't get a chance to do a ton today, but a couple did stand out. Kendrius Whitehead, who also played defensive line, moved out to linebacker and showed his athleticism. He can rush the passer and drop into coverage. He's a great athlete. Michael Barton and Jeremiah Allison both made nice plays during the scrimmage. Deysean Rippy is one of the more athletic linebackers and did well during pass coverage work.
DBs coach Tony Perry felt Tee Shepard, Anthony Standifer and V'Angelo Bentley had the best days and we agreed. Shepard was excellent in practice today. He was physical, and the smoothest of the defensive backs when it came to backpedaling, changing directions and have closing burst. Standifer is long and made several nice plays on the ball. He got beat his first rep in 1-1s by Jaydon Mickens, but rebounded, showed confidence and went up against Mickens two more times, winning both reps. Bentley had two picks in practice and several pass breakups. He did get outjumped by Andre McDonald, and his lack of height is a concern, but he had a really good day. Wayne Morgan had a nice day too. He's one of the most physical defensive backs here. He may not run as well as the other guys, but he made up for it with his physicality today. Brandon Napleon is a good, quick athlete. He had a quieter day, but he didn't get beat much either. Zach Hoffpauir came up and delivered a nice hit in 7-7s.