ESPN/Under Armour Day One Notebook

The opening day of the ESPN/Under Armour is officially in the books. The first practice was a spirited one in which one on one battles ruled the day. All five Texas commits had their moments on day one with Mason Walters turning in the best performance.

Day one in Orlando was just what the doctor ordered. This morning couldn't have been better when speaking of the weather, partly cloudy, mid-70's with a nice breeze. Practice got going around 10am with the Black and White teams stretching together.

After finishing calisthenics, the teams split to fields separated by ten yards. As is usually the case with day one all-star practices, there was some time for teaching and getting familiar with each other before the competition got going.

Garrett Gilbert

All of the quarterbacks got off to a slow start working against the crosswind. Early on the routes of choice were fades and outs. Gilbert under-threw his first few deep balls, two of which were intercepted. After adjusting to the wind and the speedy receivers, he dropped a couple of beautiful fade routes in the bucket placed perfectly along the sideline in which his receiver could only make a play on the ball.

Gilbert looked best when throwing the out route. He had good timing from the start and placed the ball in the correct spot every time.

When the team when live 11-on-11, Gilbert was faced with some tough throwing situations. The Black defensive ends created a lot of outside pressure, while Florida State commit Jacobbi McDaniel and LSU commit Josh Downs provided quickness inside that collapsed the pocket. Gilbert threw a terrific seam route splitting the corner and safety for a near 20-yard gain and stepped up in the pocket and hit his hot route on a couple of occasions for nice completions.

Mason Walters

Walters, physically doesn't have a peer in the game on the offensive line on either team. Early on in one on ones, Walters struggled with pad level going against the 6-0 and very quick McDaniel. After adjusting, Walters won a couple of battles with ideal knee bend, active feet and lateral movement.

Walters stoned three or four defenders in one on ones and in 11-on-11. Walters displayed his combination of strength, quickness and ability to move laterally as well as run several times on Wednesday.

The 6-6.5, 290-pounder played less than a handful of snaps at left tackle.

Thomas Ashcraft

Ashcraft excelled at guard in the one on ones locking on, turning and drive blocking opponents on three occasions. At tackle, Ashcraft handled the inside moves well and did a good job of redirecting.

While he played left tackle and left guard on Wednesday, Ashcraft has the appearance of a player that will be more comfortable on the inside. The Cedar Hill product is light on his feet for a 300-pounder and is at his best when the feet are moving and he is drive blocking.

In one on ones, he gave up the outside pass rush on a few occasions.

Paden Kelley

Kelley played left tackle only today backing up Ashcraft for the most part. When Ashcraft moved to left guard, Kelley was the starting left tackle. At 270-275 pounds Kelley isn't yet strong enough in the lower body to roll the hips and drive block consistently.

Where Kelley is at his best right now is in space down the field and picking up inside moves. He has a high football IQ and has good feet, but just needs time to grow into his frame.

Like Ashcraft, the outside pass rush moves in which the opponent played with a low inside shoulder and first step quickness off the snap gave Kelley trouble.

Kelley is likely another prospect that could end up inside. A redshirt year to gain size and strength is needed.

Barrett Matthews

It was a quiet day for the tight ends in general. The Black team worked in the four wides for the most part. When Matthews was in, he showed his terrific feet and agility making three blocks in space on linebackers and safeties.

Matthews moves with quickness, agility and speed on par with the linebackers for the Black team.

Look for Matthews to line up both in the slot and with his hand on the ground.


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