As we said in our preview we expected the linemen to be the strength for this East team and it is, but it was not necessarily the one player we expected to shine who is. Brennan Williams (Catholic Memorial/Mass.) stood out as the best lineman on the offensive side of the ball. Williams we knew would be good, but undersized. He has not let that slow him at all as he took reps at center and showed an outstanding get off. He had the best footwork of any of the linemen that we watched. Nick Alajajian (Naples/Fla.) is one who we expected to dominate and he struggled with defensive tackles Johnny Simon and Tyler Stockton. In fairness to the future Gator he is playing center which is new to him. Marcus Hall (Glenville/Ohio) was dominant when the East team ran the ball as was Eric Shrive (West Scranton/Pa.) a future Penn State Nittany Lion. Georgia commitment Chris Burnette (Troup/Ga.) really struggled. He is giving up a lot of size to some of these guys. During one-on-ones he was abused by Ohio State bound Simon.
So Many Quarterbacks
Terry Smith told us he has never had to use four quarterbacks in a game and it should be interesting to see how he divides playing time between all of them. This morning two things were apparent, Aaron Murray (Plant.Fla.) is the best passer and when the East wants to run the ball it will be dual-threat star Kevin Newsome (Churchland/Va.). Newsome struggles with his mechanics passing, but when he takes off running he is tough to get a handle on. Tajh Boyd (Hampton/Va.) and Tom Savage (Cardinal O'Hara/Pa.) were impressive at times, but both also pressed the action too much at times and made several errant throws.
Jeremy Gallon (Apopka/Fla.) and Bryce Brown (Wichita/Kan.) were obvious offensive stars for the East, but we didn't see a lot of firepower from this team. There are several very good players, but no one that has really stepped up as a dangerous threat every time they touch the ball. Newsome seems to be the next closest thing when he rolls out of the pocket.
A Defensive Front
The East defensive line performed very well, especially defensive tackles Tyler Stockton (Princeton/N.J.) and Johnny Simon (Cardinal Mooney/Ohio). These two were brutal on the east interior line. Donte Moss (Northside/N.C.) and Anthony LaLota (Princeton/N.J.) were dominant off the edge.
The Cream of the Crop
The East linebackers are a very impressive and versatile crew led by (Trinity-Pawling/N.Y.) and Stanford bound Shayne Skov and Ohio State pledge Dorian Bell (Gateway/Pa.). Jon Bostic (Palm Beach Central/Fla.) is very good sideline-to-sideline.
Very Special Teams
Punter C.J. Feagles (Ridgewood/N.J.) showed us why North Carolina was so excited to secure a commitment from him. He stood at the 50-yard line and was putting the ball through the end zone with ease. Then he was hitting coffin corner kicks inside the 10-yard line at will.
Leadership at the Top
Gateway head coach Terry Smith ran a very structured practice which has not always been the norm here in San Antonio. The East squad seemed very in-synch with what Smith was doing. Orson Charles and Shayne Skov seemed to take on the verbal leadership role.