Ricky Seals-Jones will tower over the East corners - Courtesy of the US Army All-American Bowl
As the 2013 US Army All-American Bowl gets ready to kick off, here are a handful of intriguing match ups to watch.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The 13th US Army All-American Bowl will get started at 12 noon CST at the Alamodome for the 13th version of the high-profile event, with the East and West set to break a 6-6 tie.
The game will include some intriguing match ups:
East running backs vs. West linebackers
The East features a pretty incredible combination of backs, from the 6-0, 220-pound bowling ball of Derrick Green to 6-3, 245-pound freak Derrick Henry to the well-balanced Greg Bryant, who has the best combination of ideal build and speed.
West linebacker Jaylon Smith is a physical specimen, but may have one of his first collisions, if not the first, with a running back of equal or greater size if he ends up meeting Henry in the hole at some point. Smith and the rest of West linebackers, including major talents like Mike Mitchell and Michael Hutchings, will all have their work cut out for them bringing down the bruising East backs.
East offensive line vs. the West defensive line
The West defensive line group includes some absolutely elite prospects like Eddie Vanderdoes and A'Shawn Robinson. The latter has been particularly impressive throughout the week, dominating virtually every lineman put in front of him with his incredible natural strength that is probably unmatched in the 2013 class.
Meanwhile, the East offensive line had some good moments on Tuesday, but were beat badly for most of the afternoon session. The East defensive linemen are talented in their own right, especially Kenny Bigelow, but the West group is a bit more talented overall.
West wide receivers vs. East cornerbacks
The West features what has to be one of the tallest wide receivers corps in Army Bowl history -- 6-7 Derrick Griffin, 6-5 Ricky Seals-Jones, 6-4 Corey Robinson, and 6-3 Jake Oliver. On the other side, the group of Jalen Ramsey, Mackensie Alexander, and Kendall Fuller was extremely good on Tuesday.
The big wideouts may have some trouble separating from the star East corners. The bigger question is probably whether the West quarterbacks can put throws in spots to allow the ball skills and height advantage held by the tall receivers to take effect. On Monday, they struggled to do so.
East quarterbacks vs. West quarterbacks
This isn't a match up that will play out directly on the field. It will, however, be significant in determining the outcome of the game. Ryan Burns was excellent on Tuesday for the East, but the other two quarterbacks were a bit more shaky in terms of there consistency.
For the West, Max Browne and Tyrone Swoopes didn't come out with a great deal of precision on the first day of practice. On Thursday, both were much better and Hayden Rettig was strong on both days.
Based on the practices, it would appear that the West has a little bit better depth and consistency across the board.