Team USA U-19 Practice Roundup, Day One

Taking a look at the top plays, and players, from the first day of Team USA U-19 practice.

* The catch of the day had to go to Malique Belfort. The rangy 6-foot-4 wideout from Tottenville (N.Y.) cut to the inside just as quarterback Trent Hosick threw a dart to the outside. Belfort planted his foot, leapt back the other way and brought in the ball one-handed for one of those "ooohhh" moments. Belfort is being recruited by a number of top schools, and said he had a top-five at one point, but says his recruitment is wide open.

* The player of the day might have gone to 6-7 offensive tackle Hunter Bivin of Apollo (Ky.) High School. The Notre Dame commitment and four-star prospect was especially strong in inside drills, when every time you looked over, he was picking somebody off the turf. Somebody that he had just put there. Biven also looked good in pass-pro, though it's worth noting that Team USA is largely practicing with a 3-4, without great pass-rushing defensive ends, so his strength was tested more than his ability to move his feet. And his strength is considerable.

* Probably the top two receivers on Day One will be headed to rival schools. Lakewood (Fla.)'s Rodney Adams, a Florida commitment, was the best performer, using both his 6-1 size and speed to boot. On one play, he outran the cornerback on a go route, then came back and won a jump ball by outleaping him on an underthrow. Jesus Wilson, a Florida State commitment from Christopher Columbus High in Homestead, Fla., looked to be the most athletic receiver in attendance and made the two longest catches of the morning session. I was also a fan of Rashad Kinlaw, who was a smooth 6-1 receiver with nice feet.

* Desmond Wyatt, a graduated senior who is undecided, and who had offers from Texas State and Air Force, didn't look out of place, consistently getting open against a good crop of defensive backs and showing off his route-running skills. Wyatt appears to me to be a BCS-level slot receiver, especially at a school like a Kansas, Iowa State or a Kentucky. He was evaluated by BCS schools through the recruiting process, but none bit.

* Both quarterbacks — Hosick and Brayden Scott — struggled to throw the ball, which wasn't a surprise, both because both quarterbacks are still developing as passers, and because their timing in the offense and with the receivers aren't down yet. Look for them to improve as the week goes on. Both passers threw a few really nice balls.

* Durham Smythe is a much better football player in pads than he is in a 7-on-7. He doesn't seem to lose any speed, and was athletic enough that he was playing some split end in pass skeleton situations. At 232 pounds, the Texas tight end commitment needs to fill out more, but he also showed the requisite physicality for the position.

* Somebody asked me to describe the level of talent on hand, and just then, an All-SEC play happened. Hosick (headed to Missouri) threw a pass to Adams (Florida) and it was broken up by linebacker Khan Harding (committed to Arkansas). There are a lot of really good players in attendance, and the offensive line especially seems strong.

* Along with Bivin, the standout linemen were Logan Tuey-Tillman, a Michigan commitment, and Ethan Pocic, headed to LSU. Both had great size and knew how to use it. In talking with some defensive linemen after the second session, multiple ones singled out Missouri center Alec Abeln. Abeln had a strong second practice, and is exactly the kind of smart, athletic lineman the Tigers have had success with in the past. He struggled at times with the size and strength of the defensive tackles, but once he fills out, that shouldn't be an issue.

* The one big hit that I saw came courtesy of Iowa commitment Malik Rucker, who belted a receiver going over the middle. Of course, that caused a bevy of "great hit, but don't do that again at practice" type comments from the coaches. Still, you like the physicality from the 6-0, 175-pound safety.

* Dashon Hunt was the best cornerback on Day One. He was beaten at times, but was always competitive, and made a few plays just based on that competitive nature. The Westlake (Calif.) product appeared to have great ball skills. Texas A&M commitment Tavares Garner had some nice reps too, at one point jamming Adams and keeping him on the line.

* There are some great-looking linebackers in attendance. TCU commitment Sammy Douglas has a long frame and is more filled out than his 180-pound listed size. Here's guessing that he's at least 10 pounds heavier than that, if not more. Athletic kid, too. Isaac McDonald certainly passes the eye test as well. Whoever lands him will have a nice future linebacker there. And Missouri commitment Chase Abbington made a few really, really athletic plays for an outside linebacker. He's listed at 210 pounds, and when I gave him a look, he told me "I know, I know. It's all down here," pointing to his lower body. Plenty of size potential there.

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