On what was a warm December afternoon in Georgia the West squad took to the field to at Lakewood Stadium to show their stuff in front of scouts and make a name for themselves. Coach Paul Jones promised the scouts an upbeat and high intensity practice and that’s exactly what we got. There was some hitting this morning at the East practice but the West practice made it seem like they were playing two hand touch.
Derek Hector came out and looked smooth getting into and out of his breaks on the hitch. He’s one of the biggest receivers in the game so his fluidity came as a bit of a surprise. He showed proper tech getting into the hitch by selling the deep route and looked fluid breaking it off.
DeMario Barber also looked very effective working the hitch but looked ever more impressive coming off the slant route. He seemed to explode out of his break and looked like he could of easily created separation with just his speed.
Early on QB Casey Therriault looked like he was trying to aim the ball too much. Some of his throws were low and behind the WR’s though they were all caught passes. Later in the practice he looked like he settled down and stared deliver good deep balls down the field. We have a video of one here.
When the West added DB’s to the mix with WR’s one of the guys we really wanted to watch was Fort Valley State DB Ricky Johnson. Johnson was very effective with his jam and did a good job messing up timing on shorter routes. Johnson is still very thin in his lower body if he can bulk up and maintain his athleticism he could be a very good sleeper at safety.
OT Jarvis Canty stood out today with the way he blocked and engulfed plays at the point of attack. He was able to swallow defenders whole and seemed to move them out of the play at will on some occasions. He also showed off enough athleticism to get to the 2nd level and block. He’s been compared to last year’s HBCU Bowl sensation David Mims (currently with KC) but he’s not quite on the same player. See video of Canty here.
This afternoon we saw the player we all hopes we were going to see when Chigbo Annunbody walked into the weigh-in on Monday night. He was a dominant force in the middle who utilized a terrific bull rush along with a quick first step to provide pressure. We have video here of both Chigbo’s power and athleticism. He was a dominant force in drills today.
WR Jared Green and Demario Barber continued to give DB’s fits with their speed. Barber ran a double corner move that made the DB fall down and Green beat press a few times to get open deep down the field. Their speed has presented questions to this defense that they have yet to find an answer to.
During the inside running drill the DE Donovan Robinson showed off his ability to slip blocks and remain clean off the line, however, in doing so he lost his contain and allowed for the back to spring up the sideline for a big run.
In the same drill the loudest pop we heard all day came from the crack back block that TE Michael Byrd was delivering time and time again. He came across the line with some speed and intent and he delivered some blocks that took defenders off their feet.
In one on one pass rushing drills DT Chigbo Annunoby continued his dominance by ripping through the line and getting a would be sack. He generates good power out of his stance and uses it well on his bull rush to push the OL into the pocket. He also possesses good short area quickness that allows him to fire off the ball and gain penetration into either the A or B gap.
Adrian Hamilton continued to show why he’s the best pass rusher here. He showed off some versatility with an inside outside move on the OT which got him into the backfield. He also showed that speed off the ball that has made him into the dangerous player he has become.
DT Donte Nichools showed off some good power today. He came into this game a little shorter than expected but performed well today and showed that he still does possess that ideal 34 NT type power that so many teams covet. When working one on one he would deliver the blow to the OL and knock them backwards. He was very powerful and at times overwhelming also displayed quick hands that allowed him to disengage from blocks very quickly.
11 on 11
One of the things I immediately noticed when it went to 11 on 11 was how effective DB Ricky Johnson continued to be with his jam. He was able to neutralize their routes more often than not and when the WR did get away he did a good job remaining in the WR’s hip pocket.
Speaking of press coverage, WR Derrick Hector looked phenomenal getting off the press by using his hands and size to push the defenders hands away and get up the field. He may not be the fastest guy out there but he’s effective enough other facets that he makes a very intriguing prospect as a potential possession WR who could work in the slot.
After speaking to Jared Green’s dad yesterday afternoon I was interested to see how well he would fair once the pads got on and Green didn’t disappoint. He utilized his quickness to beat the jam and quickly ate up any cushions that DB’s offered to him. Showed off solid hands today and I’ll be sure to focus in on him more tomorrow.
A third WR who showed up well in 11 on 11 was Demario Barber but not because of his deep speed. Barber showed great awareness during the play to recognize zone coverage and that he was in a soft spot. He slowed his route down, flashed open and got a reception for a nice gain. That kind of awareness and maturity as a WR goes a long way. When you combine that with his speed, loose hips, and quickness you see why he’s a threat to take any opportunity he gets to the house.
Therriault showed plenty of touch on his deep ball and the ability to drop the ball into the bucket. I was impressed with his arm strength overall but would like to see him drive the ball a little more tomorrow. His footwork needs to be refined and he often rises onto his tippy toes when he throws which another scout and I found odd. I’d like to see him firmly plant his lead foot and drive the ball over the middle tomorrow during practice.
In case you missed the videos we posted a little while ago be sure to click here to see the full range. We plan to post even more tomorrow and will take any requests from our readers!