Of the talent on the field at Myrtle Beach High for Tuesday's first practice for the East squad, defensive end and Georgia commit T.J. Stripling was one of the standouts.
He showed explosion on the edge, and was unblockable in many situations rushing the passer. His speed around the edge gave problems to the rotating right tackle or tight end, whomever was trying to block.
The question is whether the 6-foot-6, 217-pound Stripling can be successful in college at that size, but he certainly dominated early on the practice field.
The East squad may also be thin at running back because of an injury to Georgia commit Ken Malcome of Southwest Dekalb (Decatur, Ga.). He pulled out of drills early because of an injured right shoulder, and said he was uncertain whether he would be able to play. He broke his collarbone Nov. 28, and was feeling discomfort, to the point where he couldn't hold onto the football during individual drills.
He said he will try a new pair of shoulder pads in the afternoon, but was experiencing a great deal of pain.
Florida commit Lyndon Trail said at practice today he weighed 215 pounds. The 6-foot-7 defensive end is a strength and conditioning coach's dream because of the athletic ability.
Two corners from Georgia, Georgia Tech commit B.J. Bostic and Clemson commit Darius Robinson both showed an excellent break on the ball. They displayed tremendous quickness.
Do-everything-athlete Blake Sims, a quarterback at Gainesville (Ga.) High, was invited to the game as a safety, but is playing receiver today. He is committed to Alabama, and looks comfortable at receiver, although not as polished as Penn State commit Adrian Coxson, who was the top receiver on the East in the morning practice.
The quarterbacks – Dylan Farve, Andrew Hendrix and D.J. Clower – all struggled throwing the ball in a consistent wind in the morning session. Hendrix, who is heading to Notre Dame, looked the most promising of the three.
The most physically impressive of the linebackers was 6-foot-3, 210-pound Gino Culotta, who brings an incredibly interesting story to the mix. Culotta was born in Maryland and lived at various places in the United States, but moved to Brussels, Belgium, at the beginning of high school. He plays in a military league, and went through various avenues just to be invited to the game.
Fluent in French, he is getting attention from Delaware, James Madison and several other Football Championship Subdivision teams.
Singled out for his ability to grasp the defense quickly was Jonesboro, Ga., linebacker Michael Carmichael. He is uncommitted.
The most exciting part of the first practices was one-on-ones between the defensive backs and wide receivers.
We had a chance to watch this on both squads. On a windy, cold day, the quarterbacks were throwing into a pretty strong gust and we got to see whose arms stood out.
Andrew Hendrix has a good arm and his passes cut through the wind pretty well. D.J. Clower also has a strong arm, but Hendrix was more accurate today. None of the the East quarterbacks had particularly strong mornings, but the Notre Dame commit had the most success.
On the West side, early on, Terrance Broadway was the one that stood out, but as the practice went along, Peter Thomas and Case McCoy got stronger. By the end of practice, all three had their moments.
In the one on ones for the West, the two cornerbacks, Mylan Hicks and Shaquille Richardson both stood out. Hicks was the best of the defensive backs in footwork drills. Coming off an ankle injury, he looked like his explosiveness and ability to come out of his backpedal was back. Richardson did not necessarily standout in those drills, but once balls were in the air, he made the most plays on the passes, including the only interception of the day.
In the secondary, Darius Robinson is not only the fastest player here, but maybe had the best morning. His makeup ability is outstanding and he showed good ball skills as well. Tony Grimes is physical and did a solid job.
Of the safeties, Bashaud Breeland looked the best in one on one coverage. He was physical and made plays on the ball.
While the other positions did not do a ton today, we did get a look at some of the West defenders. Zac Stout looked good in coverage drills. On the defensive line, Henry Anderson looked the best in footwork drills.
Make sure to check out the Superprep National Recruiting Forum for more live updates from this afternoon's practice.