Daniel Campbell has had his struggles early this week trying to block the West's defensive tackles Solomon Koehler and Baker Steinkuhler but the big man from Aldine High School (TX) has steadily improved with each practice and today it all came together for Campbell as he had his best practice. Campbell had the block of the day when he pancaked a defender to spring Sam McGuffie for a touchdown run during the morning practice.
DJ Shoemate is the type of player that coaches love to have on their roster. He has been the hardest worker for the receivers all week. Shoemate had his most productive practice of the week today. His highlight play was a 50-yard reception from Dayne Crist in the afternoon session. The West coaches have also been working on ways to get the ball in Shoemate's hands in various ways. Yesterday he got a few carries on some trick plays and today they continually had him run the bubble screen and he was able to use his speed and strength to dish out some blows to the West linebackers and pick up yards after the catch. Shoemate is starting to become a favorite of the recruiting experts at the game.
Future Trojan tackles Matt Kalil and Tyron Smith had a very good performance today as the offensive line is starting to catch up to the defensive line. Earlier in the week R.J. Washington was nearly unblockable but as the week wears on Kalil is starting to get the best of the match up. Kalil has been the best all-around offensive tackle. He is the most polished of the big tackles and looks like the type of player that could see early playing time on the college level.
Tyron Smith has also matched up well against the West's defensive ends. Smith isn't as technically sound as Kalil but he is such a good athlete that it is easy to see that he could have the most upside of any linemen on the West squad. Smith will benefit a lot from Pat Ruel's coaching and could be an elite tackle by the time his career is done at USC.
Wes Horton, the Trojans lone defensive player in the game, has done a lot to elevate his stock this week. Horton didn't get much pressure on the quarterback at Thursday's practice but he did look good against the run. The athletic defensive end has had fun trying to chase down his high school teammate and future rival Dayne Crist.
I have spent most of my time watching the west squad but when I asked some of the other scouts and recruiting experts their thoughts about Brice Butler I was pleasantly surprised that they had dubbed him the, "Jerry Rice of high school football". Butler has received rave reviews for his route running ability and his terrific hands. Butler already plays like a veteran and like DJ Shoemate, he gets more impressive each time you watch him play. Butler is the most savvy receiver on the East squad and understands how to get open against man coverage as well as find the holes in a zone.
With Butler and Shoemate in this recruiting class the Trojans' are bringing in two receivers that work very hard and have great football instincts.
News and Notes
I caught up with Detroit defensive end Nick Perry and he is very excited to checkout Los Angeles. Perry will officially visit USC on Jan.18th. The big defensive end has played outside linebacker this week but said the USC coaches want him as a defensive end.
The top juniors in the country will be in San Antonio tomorrow for the Army National Combine Presented by Reebok. Stayed tuned to the premium board for regular updates.
Top performers at each position (West team):
QB- Dayne Crist
RB- Darrell Scott, Justin Johnson
WR-Dan Buckner, Michel Floyd, DJ Shoemate
OL- Matt Kalil
DL- R.J. Washington, Solomon Koehler
LB- Lynn Katoa, Mike Mauti
DB- Robert Golden, Aaron Williams
USC recruits Brice Butler, Wes Horton, DJ Shoemate, Tyron Smith, Daniel
Campbell and Matt Kalil.