Making the Semper Fi grade

Five Notre Dame commitments went to work in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl with a sixth sidelined by injury. Irish Illustrated hands out grades for their performances in Southern California, from both practices and the game.

Six Notre Dame commitments were selected for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, but a finger injury sidelined receiver Miles Boykin for the event. That left receiver C.J. Sanders, safety Prentice McKinney, defensive end Micah Dew-Treadway and defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum and defensive end Bo Wallace in action.

Each had moments during the week’s practices, even if the group had a relatively quiet Sunday night at the StubHub Center.

Irish Illustrated reviewed the film from the week of practice and watched a video replay of the Semper Fi Bowl to accurately grade each Irish commitment on his effort during the event.

C.J. Sanders, Wide Receiver, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
A- By all accounts Sanders ranked among the best of the receivers. He was consistent in catching the football and has the speed to make a major impact at the next level.

“Sanders was easily the most consistent wide out of the week for the West squad,” said Scout.com national analyst Greg Biggins. “He catches the ball very well, always with his hands, has explosive speed and is great after the catch. He's both a deep threat as well as a sure handed receiver who can catch the underneath stuff in the slot. When you add his return skills to picture, he has a very nice skill set.”

Sanders was targeted just three times in Sunday’s game. The first ball was underthrown. He caught the second for a one-yard gain and dropped the third after making an adjustment to a ball thrown to the inside rather than the outside.

Prentice McKinney, Safety, Dallas, Texas
B+ McKinney put forth a solid effort throughout the week in Southern California and like Sanders was consistently named by the Scout.com national analysts as one of the top performers for the West.

McKinney is a bigger version of Max Redfield. He’s got a long frame with no shortage of athleticism and a very high football IQ. The West coaching staff used McKinney back in a zone defense but also brought him up to the line of scrimmage to play man defense on a wide receiver. He was competent in both situations.

“He’s rangy; good hands. The guy just has ball skills,” Biggins said. “He always seems to be in the right spot. He’s a pretty instinctual kid.”

McKinney was credited with just two tackles. He would have received a solid A but did miss a tackle in the game.

Bo Wallace, Defensive End, River Ridge, La.
B Wallace has the potential to become a premier pass rusher at Notre Dame. His frame is built to add 30-40 more pounds without losing any of his exceptional speed. He’ll need that additional size to help him eliminate the disadvantage he now faces at 215 pounds.

An outside linebacker by trade, Wallace eagerly moved up to the defensive end position during practice to help the East team fill out its two-deep lineup. He was up for the challenge and frequently made Scout.com’s top performers during the week of practice.

“I think as the week went on Bo really started to play well,” said Scout.com Atlantic Recruiting Analyst Michael Clark. “He played mostly defensive end out here. A lot of people see him as an outside linebacker. Depending on how much he grows I think he could play either. Like I said, I was really impressed with his overall athleticism. You don’t see kids at 6-4 and 215 or 220 that can run like he can. He was far and away probably the quickest defensive end off the ball. Just a lot to like about him.”

Wallace was officially credited with just one tackle but he gave the West offensive line fits throughout the game.

The knock on Wallace was his inability to beat linemen one-on-one and that’s an issue that won’t be resolved until he gets bigger and stronger. On one kickoff, Wallace was the first player downfield but was easily knocked to the ground by a West blocker.

Micah Dew-Treadwy, Defensive End, Bolingbrook, Ill.
C In practice, Dew-Treadway was explosive off the ball and utilized several different moves to beat offensive linemen. It was a different story at the StubHub Center as Dew-Treadway was essentially blocked off the field by East offensive tackle Pat Allen, a late Notre Dame recruiting target.

Dew-Treadway wasn’t officially credited with a tackle but did end up in a couple of piles and he chased the quarterback out of the pocket on two occasions.

The speed he displayed in practice didn’t show up in the game and he looked tentative in finding ball carriers.

Dew-Treadway has the size to be effective up front at the next level but he’ll have to become consistently more explosive to provide a threatening pass rush for the Irish.

Brandon Tiassum, Defensive Tackle, Indianapolis, Ind.
C Tiassum has a college-ready body but is a year or two away in technique.

He’s strong enough now to step into action if the Irish are pressed for bodies up front but he has a lot of learning to do in terms of beating offensive players with more than a bull rush or by simply overpowering them as he did at the high school level.

Tiassum recorded two tackles in the game and drew double teams early in the contest. He will draw extra attention and chew up blocks, which is part of the job of a defensive tackle.

His future depends on developing his technique and better utilizing his hands and body weight.


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