It was role reversal as several prospects that had not performed well earlier
this week stepped up their level of play while those who competently competed
Monday and Tuesday slipped a little.
A pair of defensive linemen stood out in the session. Jarrett Johnson's hard work finally paid off as the former Crimson Tide tackle was getting constant penetration up the field and beating blockers who had contained him during the initial two practices. Johnson's motor was relentless and he made a lot off positive plays. Likewise Clemson's Nick Eason was thundering past opponents with an eye catching first step off the snap and improved his draft stock during practice.
Running back Justin Fargas impressed by consistently catching the ball out of the backfield and had another solid day carrying the pigskin. On one play Fargas put a move Florence Drayton which left the nifty cornerback grasping for air as Fargas sped into the end zone. Earnest Graham of Florida possibly had his best practice of the week and had people talking.
Sam Aiken established himself as one of the better senior receivers and ran crisp routes, found the open spot on the field and caught everything thrown his way. Taylor Jacobs also continued his surge up draft boards as he's been the most reliable set of hands for the South squad and has consistently impressed with his play this week. One tight end that also showed well today was UCLA's Mike Seidman, a big, lumbering target that reads the defense and gets into the clearing. Like Aiken and Jacobs, Seidman has been a favorite target for the South's signal callers as he catches any pass thrown in his direction.
Speaking of the passers, Carson Palmer again had a strong performance while Kliff Kingsbury struggled. The Lions coaching staff implemented more of a short, quick passing game today and also asked the quarterbacks to roll out of the pocket and throw on the move. Palmer never missed a beat while Kingsbury was wild on several of his tosses.
One defensive back that stood out was Rashean Mathis of Bethune Cookman. Used at both corner and safety throughout the week, the Buck Buchanon Award Winner, given to the nation's top defensive player in Division I-AA football, moved back to centerfield in the morning and made a lot of positive plays, breaking up several throws.
The offensive linemen for the South squad were inconsistent. Torrin Tucker flashed dominance on occasion leading one scout the blurt out, "This guys a stud," but got beat several times towards the end of the session. Vince Manuwai had a difficult practice and was beaten so badly by defenders he ended up on his backside on more than one occasion. The only redeeming factor for Manuwai was the long snapping skills he displayed late in practice but his draft stock took a big hit this morning. Montrae Holland struggled as well and was not able to capitalize on strong performances earlier in the week.
After the practice, back at the Adams Mark Hotel a sense of relief came over many of the players who were almost jovial as they left the bus, realizing the grueling practice schedule was coming to an end. Only a few days to relax though as they will again be the focus of attention on Saturday.
---Tony Pauline- TFY Draft Preview