Semper Fi: Practice Day 1 (East Team)

FULLERTON, Calif. -- Day one of the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl kicked off this morning and the defensive line stood out for the East squad.

It was definitely a feeling out day as the East squad opened practice Monday at Fullerton College, but two units stood out.

The East has depth and talent on the defensive line and at receiver, as was evident in the passing game.

The depth starts out in the middle of the defensive line with Maurice Hurst Jr. (Michigan commit) and Darius Paige (Alabama commit). Both play with a low pad level and are explosive in their first few steps. They combine power with very good feet.

There is also talent on the edge and two that stood out where Immaculata High (Somerville, N.J.) defensive end Tashawn Bower (Auburn commit) and Brookfield (Wisc.) High defensive end Chikwe Obasih. Bower showed a bull rush he usually didn't use in high school and Obasih was light on his feet and versatile.

The linebacker group had trouble in coverage, but Virginia commit Micah Kiser of The Gilman School (Baltimore) showed he could play in space and also was willing to come up in the run game period.

The best battle of the day was the receivers against the secondary, and both had their moments. Ahmad Thomas, a Miami Central High standout and Oklahoma commit, got beat early by North Carolina commit Ryan Switzer on a deep ball, but Thomas responded with a nifty interception when he closed on a pass over the middle.

Alabama pledge Anthony Averett of Woodbury (N.J.) High didn't play physical in high school as a cornerback, but he played safety Monday and it will be exciting to watch him in run support. He covers ground quickly and gets sideline-to-sideline well as a safety, even though his future should be at cornerback.

Offensively, the star of the day was four-star receiver Will Fuller of Roman Catholic High in Philadelphia. Cornerbacks had trouble keeping up with the Notre Dame commit, who has tremendous burst coming out of his breaks and is fast. He is 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, but the lack of girth had no impact on his ability to dominate nearly every rep.

The most intriguing player of the day was Lovejoy (Ga.) High tight end Arshad Jackson, a former Auburn commit who is now looking at Ole Miss and Florida State. His body needs to fill out a bit, but he was physical in the passing game and showed good hands. He was a factor in the passing game during the team period.

It wasn't a day for the running backs to shine because of the heavy installation and not much time was spent on the run game, but South Plantation High (Plantation, Fla.) five-star running back Alex Collins showed glimpses of great burst through the hole.

The offensive line will also take time to come together, but one player who looks heads and shoulders above the rest is four-star offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey of Philadelphia's William Penn Charter. The Notre Dame commit is 6 -7, 275 pounds and lean, but he uses his body well. He is able to extend his arms and keep defensive ends from getting around him, but he combined it with sensational balance, and all while keeping a low base.

Uncommitted King High (Lithonia, Ga.) standout Joshua Outlaw played guard and looked at home there after spending time at tackle in high school. His frame should allow for more size to be put on easily, and he performed well despite the transition to a quicker game in the middle of the line of scrimmage.

Injury update

  • Quince Orchard High (Gaitlainsburg, Md.) linebacker Marcus Newby, a Nebraska commit, did not make the trip and won't play in the game because of an injury. He was invited to still attend, but chose not to.

  • Purdue commit Austin Logan, a safety from Florida State University School (Tallahassee, Fla.) injured his left knee early in practice and did not return. He tried to warm up on the sideline but was unable to continue.

  • Virginia Tech commit Braxton Pfaff, an offensive guard from Lynchburg (Va.) Christian Academy, missed the final hour of practice with an undisclosed injury. He took part in the one-on-one portion, but did not take part in the team period.

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