SAN ANTONIO—Former Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe visited Heroes Stadium on Thursday to deliver an important message to the East all-stars prior to Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome.
Sharpe spoke briefly with the entire squad then spent some time on the sidelines offering pointers to several different players.
“He said to just represent the name on the back of the jersey and not to mess up; respect your parents and other people,” said Notre Dame commitment Tommy Kraemer. “He said to be in it for yourself. Not many people will tell you to be selfish, but this is yourself, your brand, and not to mess it up.”
Kraemer has done a fine job all week of representing his brand, soon to be known as the Kraemer Krunch.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound tackle from Cincinnati has been dominant all week against some of the nation’s top defensive linemen including Jonathon Cooper (Ohio State), Janarius Robinson (Florida State) and Jeffery Simmons, an uncommitted prospect from Mississippi.
“Tommy is probably the only lineman here that hasn’t got a break off the reps yet,” said Notre Dame commitment Tony Jones, Jr., one of three East running backs. “I think he’s lost a handful of reps or something like that but Tommy is a beast. On all his reps he goes 110-percent. He’s a great lineman. Tommy is probably the best lineman here.”
Jones hopes to finish the weekend as the top running back at the event.
On Thursday, he showed the ability to catch the football, even with one hand, and also a quick first step with a fluid change of direction at the line of scrimmage.
“He runs hard,” Kraemer said. “He finishes the plays and cuts real well. I’m really looking forward to playing with him Saturday and the next four years.”
Notre Dame recruiting target Demetris Robertson, one of the most coveted prospects in the country, put in a light day of work on Thursday. He is suffering from a minor neck injury and did not participate in any of the contact drills.
He said he’ll be ready for action on Saturday and he expects to continue to dominate any defensive back he faces.
“It went well,” Robertson said of the week of practice. “I think I came out and dominated against the guys. It was pretty easy during the week. I’m just ready for the game. I learned I can compete with anybody. I don’t think nobody can stop me.”
Four-star cornerback Jordan Fuller turned in a standout day for the defense. He wasn't tested often, but stood up to the competition when needed. Fuller didn't allow a single reception during the team portions of East practice.
During one rep, Fuller ran stride-for-stride with four-star wide receiver Binjimen Victor down the sideline. Victor couldn't get to a slightly overthrown ball because of Fuller's solid positioning.
Fuller won another rep later by play the ball up through the receiver’s hands while never actually turning around. It was fantastic technique.
Five-star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) is probably the most disruptive lineman on other team. He's stout but quick in short areas, a brutal matchup for opposing guards. He's the type of prospect that can and should make an early impact at Clemson, which continues to load up on that side of the ball for future playoff runs.
Four-star linebacker Carter Coughlin (Minnesota) had another strong day. Like the way he moves and finds the ball. That's always the best test for a linebacker -- how often is he around the ball? Coughlin is there.
Looking for another elite defensive lineman outside Dexter Lawrence? Give me five-star Derrick Brown. Very well put together and also explosive in short areas.