In or out of pads, Jalen Ramsey is a star. - Bud Elliott (SB Nation)
Thoughts and observations from the morning session of the East team's practice on Tuesday.
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. -- On a chilly, gray, windy day at Heroes Stadium in preparation for the 2013 US Army All-American game, the East team practiced during the morning session and was probably grateful that it wasn't raining, as it was throughout both practices on Monday.
Here are some impressions from the practice, which included lengthy individual position drills before a team portion later in practice.
-- During the defensive line drills, Virginia Tech commit Wyatt Teller and LSU pledge Frank Herron looked like two of the more bouncy players, despite their size, two-foot jumping over a series of huddles.
-- Derrick Green has the ideal build for a running back. While he doesn't have elite breakaway speed, once he gets going, he's like a tough guy to stop because of his low center of gravity. The East defense was mostly in thud tempo, but it was clear that Green is a load to bring down, running through numerous arm tackles and clearly ready to get in a game situation and punish defenders, comparing favorably to former Alabama star Mark Ingram.
-- Green's backfield partner in crime is another massive back -- 6-3, 240-pound Derrick Henry, the record-setting back from Florida. Due his height, it's hard to say that he has the prototypical build of Green, but he does have remarkable feet and athleticism for his size. Henry looks like a tall running back rather than an athlete playing running back.
-- When the East wants to work the ball to the edge, Greg Bryant is the choice with his lateral quickness, though Henry was also able to get outside as well on one notable play he took down the sideline for a big gain.
-- Working in team drills, the East defensive line won the majority of the battles early on, but then had some trouble dealing with the strong, squatty interior of the East offensive line, which includes the massively strong, if undersized, Khaliel Rodgers. Overall, the offensive line is said to have dominated most of the proceedings against their counterparts over the last two days.
-- USC cornerback commit Jalen Ramsey is a stud -- big, fast, and physical. He was really good at The Opening out of pads and just seems to get better when he gets them on and he can really get his hands on receivers. If a defensive coach could design a cornerback in a laboratory, they would basically produce Jalen Ramsey.
-- Virginia Tech commit Kendall Fuller just has star defensive back in his genetics and showed the ball skills of a wide receiver pulling a ball away from Tyler Boyd in the air after it appeared as if Boyd had come down with it. While Ramsey simply didn't give anything up at all, it was Fuller who was making the solid and sometimes spectacular plays in the East defensive backfield.
-- Boyd was able to come up with a play adjusting to an underthrown ball that it looked like Nick Washington was going to be able to intercept. The quarterback had scrambled out to the right and noticed Boyd breaking deep, but the ball was late coming out and hang in there. Boyd just wanted it more on this particular occasion.
-- Florida wide receiver Tony Stevens is tall and lean and needs to add some muscle mass in college. However, he was able to win one big battle by using his hands to beat press coverage and get open deep during one-on-one drills.
-- The match-up between the massively talented East cornerbacks and the extremely tall West wide receivers will be fun to watch on Sunday. Don't look for the East duo of Ramsey and Fuller to give up much separation down the field, but they do give up quite a few inches in height to Derrick Griffin and Ricky Seals-Jones.
-- Jonathon McCrary at his best during the morning session getting outside the pocket and scrambling. Both he and Jeremy Johnson were inconsistent hitting receivers in stride and on time.
-- Stanford commit Ryan Burns was the most consistent passer by far, with a strong arm and good accuracy, but got some tough coaching for one ball coming out too late and fumbled another snap during the team portion. Considering the circumstances, including windy conditions and unfamiliar teammates, Burns performed about as well in the morning as any quarterback can at a postseason all-star game practice. At 6-5, 220 pounds, he has the size that may remind some of former Cardinal star Andrew Luck.