MOBILE, Ala. –
– The South team took its turn on the practice field this afternoon with a big crowd in attendance. It’s common practice down here for the South team to draw more attention than its northern counterparts. That’s because the South is full of SEC players and we are here smack in the middle of SEC country. This year’s team is loaded with Alabama and Georgia players, in particular.
– Let’s get the proceedings started with a couple of under the radar names that seem to be making a strong impression in the first two days.
– Perhaps no player seems to be doing that more than Rice TE Vance McDonald. McDonald wowed scouts just by showing up and checking in at 6’4, 262 pounds. But McDonald is fast, shows the ability to separate and seems to have strong route running skills. He seems to clearly be the best TE in attendance but he could make a case to be one of the top TE’s taken in April if he continues to show strong here this week.
– Another pair of smaller school guys that are drawing some eyes are Southeastern Louisiana CB Robert Alford and Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton. Patton apparently made some big plays in Monday’s practice and he followed with a few more during the team portion on Tuesday. Alford is a smooth athlete with a lot of upside. Those two could join Missouri Southern DT Brandon Williams as the small school standouts here this week.
– Southern Miss LB Jamie Collins did not practice with an apparent injury. Also, as expected Alabama OT D.J. Fluker did not participate and he departed Mobile because of an injury suffered while training.
– I have a strong suspicion that Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson is going to make himself a lot of money here this week. Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher is going to get much of the hype but Johnson might be right on his heels as the best tackle here and potentially the second best tackle overall when it’s all said and done. Johnson seems to be the more balanced prospect. The scary thing about Johnson is he’s only been playing football for a few years. He’s considered a bit raw as a prospect but the polish seems to be coming fast.
– Speaking of somewhat raw prospects with major upside, BYU DE Ezekial Ansah has major motor and athleticism. He hasn’t necessarily been consistently dominant and wasn’t Tuesday but you can see why NFL types are intrigued by him.
– Was told that Florida OT Xavier Nixon struggled a bit on Monday but he had a couple of nice moments on Tuesday. Nixon popped a big block to open a hole for a long run during team drills by his teammate, Florida RB Mike Gillislee.
– Gillislee has a nice afternoon, particularly in team drills. He broke some long runs and showed good burst.
– Most of the players in attendance here are pretty polished products. As seniors, that goes with the territory. But you might be hard pressed to find a more true to form, downright football player than Georgia S Shawn Williams. Bacarri Rambo might steal a lot of the headlines, maybe because he has a cool name, but Williams seems to do a little of everything and do it all well. He’s an interesting guy to watch, certainly.
– WR Terrance Williams had another good day and continued to make a case to be one of the top receivers taken or at least the top senior WR.
– Didn’t watch too much of the QBs but seemed that Florida State QB E.J. Manuel did a nice job going through his reads and delivering strikes during today’s practice.
– That’s all for today. I’ll have much more coming for the centerpiece of the site today and back in the morning with an update on the North’s final padded practice.
– Thanks for reading.
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