Cradle of Quarterbacks
The first sight that caught our eye during the first East practice session on Monday afternoon were the arms of the three East quarterbacks. All three were very impressive, Gunner Kiel (Columbus/Ind./East) is the nation's No. 1 quarterback for a reason and he showed why today. He is very polished and rarely makes mistakes. Chad Voytik (Cleveland/Tenn.) was pretty good in his own right.
Voytik has a strong arm and throws a very catchable ball. He may have had the best combination of arm strength and accuracy of the three. He is also a lot more mobile than people give him credit for. Anthony Alford (Petal/Miss.) looks to have the strongest arm of the trio and potentially the biggest arm we have seen here since Ryan Perriloux played in the game. Alford looks a little raw when reading through his progressions, but there is a lot to be excited about with him.
Playmakers at Receiver
The East squad has it's share of playmakers, but none better than (Olney/Md./Good Counsel) wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs at times almost seemed to be toying with defenders in the open field. If he gets the ball in his hands he is a threat to score from anywhere. Germone Hopper (Charlotte/N.C./Phillip O'Berry) is not as flashy as Diggs, but he is very consistent and makes plays. Leonte Carroo (Ramsey/N.J./Don Bosco Prep) has improved by leaps and bounds this season, we knew he was good, but today he really looked elite. He is a blazer and one of the best downfield threats in the nation.
Tight end Kent Taylor (Land O'Lakes/Fla.) is the nation's No. 1 prospect at his position and he proved today that he is deserving of that honor. He is a solid inline blocker, but he can also stretch the field in the passing game. (Demarest/N.J./Old Tappan) athlete Devin Fuller is ranked as a quarterback, but we do feel he projects better elsewhere. That elsewhere may be at wide receiver where Fuller displayed his skills at on Monday. He was very quick in and out of his breaks and didn't drop many if any passes at all. He is a playmaker, so if the ball is in his hands, he will make plays.
Where's the Beef?
Five-star tackle D.J. Humphries (Charlotte/N.C./Mallard Creek) was impressive. I hate to say this after watching him for one session, but Humphries may be the best tackle I have seen this year, it's close between him and Arik Armstead. His footwork is outstanding and he delivers and punch and keeps them coming. He just keeps reloading and keeps his feet going. He was not beaten one time today in any part of the practice. One knock on him is his size, he is listed at (260), so he may need a red shirt to allow his frame to fill out.
(Lakewood/Ohio/St. Edward) tackle Kyle Kalis was playing guard and as soon as he adjusted to the position switch he looked pretty good. Kalis is a warrior, who will battle anyone. Physically he may be best suited to play guard or right tackle. (Jacksonville/Fla./The Bolles School) tackle John Theus really struggled, especially during the one-on-one portion of practice as did Ryan Ward (New Lennox/Ill./Providence Catholic). Graham Shuler (Brentwood/Tenn.) and Ty Darlington (Apopka/Fla.) struggled at times, but never backed down and kept taking more reps. By the end of the practice session they won their share of battles.
Dominant Defensive Front
(Ramsey/N.J./Don Bosco Prep) defensive end Darius Hamilton was is straight out beast mode today and no one had an answer for him at all. To say he was dominant would be an understatement. (Glen Ellyn/Ill./Glenbard) nose tackle Tommy Schutt is built like Tony Siragusa and plays like him. He is very quick off the ball and was impossible to block one -on-one. Five-star Eli Harold had an up and down day playing defensive end. he is best suited to be an outside linebacker.
Unsettled Backers and Secondary
(Ramsey/N.J./Don Bosco Prep) safety Elijah Shumate is playing outside linebacker and playing it well. On the first play of 11-on-11 play he blew up (Memphis/Tenn./East) running back Brian Kimbrow. He made several other stops and was very good in coverage. (Miramar/Fla.) cornerback Tracy Howard played as advertised and was the most consistent cornerback for the East squad. (Miami/Fla./Columbus) defensive back Deon Bush struggled at times and looked very good at times. (Ashburn/Va./Briar Woods) Alex Carter saw a lot of action on the offensive side of the ball at wide receiver and looked good doing it.
Allen Trieu contributed to this report.