Team USA U-19 Practice Roundup, Day Two

A collection of news and notes about Day Two of practice for the Team USA U-19 team.

* The staff is doing an excellent job of rotating everyone through. With three fully-padded games within about a week's time, this event puts more strain on players than you'll typically see. Team USA (and every other team) will need to use its depth, and the coaches are doing a great job of developing that depth. This isn't head coach Steve Specht's first Team USA rodeo, and the St. Xavier (Ohio) coach is doing a fantastic job.


* The passing was much more on-point today. Quarterbacks Trent Hosick and Brayden Scott had much improved timing with the receivers and generally did a better job of making all of the throws. Some of the more difficult timing routes could still use a bit more work, but Hosick and Scott showed quite a bit throwing the ball.


* Both QBs also have the character you're looking for. They are both big hits with their teammates, who have given each an NFL nickname. Hosick, with his flat-top haircut and charisma, has been coined "Tebow." Scott, who has longer, wavy hair and moxie, has been nicknamed "Brady."


 

* Rodney Adams had another great day. The smooth Lakewood (Fla.) product has been the best wide receiver in attendance, and is the type of player who could play receiver for anybody in the country. So why Florida? "It just felt like home," Adams said.


* If Adams has been the best receiver, Jesus Wilson hasn't been far behind. The Florida State commitment is a high-level slot with explosiveness and has been arguably the biggest deep threat Team USA has to offer.


* Malique Belfort struggled a bit more on Sunday, dropping a few passes. But it's not really a hands issue — he's still the guy you want making the difficult catch, and the quarterbacks like throwing to him. Slot receiver Desmond Wyatt earned some touches on reverses, a good way to let him use his 4.4-second speed. He has also displayed incredibly steady hands and route-running. And Washington State commitment Demarcus Ayers of Lancaster (Texas) looks like he will be a good fit in the Mike Leach offense with his dynamism.


* Lorenzo Woodley is a guy that has steadily grown on me through the four practice sessions. He's been able to spot the cutback lane, and could be excellent with the offensive line blocking for him.


* Speaking of that offensive line, that could be the best overall position group for the USA. In Hunter Bivin, Logan Tuley-Tillman and Ethan Pocic (committed to Notre Dame, Michigan and LSU, respectively), Team USA has three centerpieces who stand 6-foot-7 and weigh between 285 and 321. Add in a savvy center in athletic Alec Abeln, and the line has the chance to be a major strong point.


* Dajuan Drennon is a good-looking defensive end for a team that doesn't have a ton of them. Team USA is using a lot of three-man fronts, with two defensive tackles, and Drennon has shown the ability to play the one end spot both against the run and to provide some pass-rushing ability.


* Playing fewer defensive ends may be a necessity, after Daeshon Hall was a last-minute scratch and defensive end/linebacker Kight Dallas went down with an ankle injury. Dallas, a South Carolina commitment, should be ready to go later in the week. He was on crutches at the morning practice, but was already off them and limping around at the second practice. He said he hopes to be ready in a couple days.


* At linebacker, Isaac McDonald appears to be potentially the top uncommitted prospect in attendance. He's a great-looking player on-the-hoof, and showcases great athleticism for his size and frame. And Sammy Douglas has been strong as well. The TCU commitment takes a business-like attitude onto the field.


* Tavares Garner had probably the best day of the cornerbacks. The Manvel product and Texas A&M commitment is the type of fighter that all teams love to have out there on an island. If he loses a battle, he's just coming back that much harder the next play.


* And Cameron Van Winkle looks like a great pick as the kicker/punter. Van Winkle boomed some serious punts on Sunday that even had some of his teammates in awe.


Horns Digest Top Stories