December 12, 2006

Who's got the look?

They always say first impressions are the most important so when National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell checked in on Tuesday at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, he eyeballed both the North Carolina and South Carolina teams. And players like NC State soft commitment George Bryan certainly passed the test.

Bryan is listed at 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds on the North Carolina roster but he is clearly heavier than that. The burly tight end is bigger than any of the North Carolina offensive linemen and has offensive tackle written all over him.

Offensive tackle Landon Walker, committed to Clemson, also has a good frame. He's not the 6-foot-7 he's listed as on the roster but he's roughly 6-foot-6 with long arms and plenty of room to grow. He also showed quick feet and good balance in practice.

Defensive end Travian Robertson is exactly what you're looking for in a rush end. He's tall with an excellent reach and broad shoulders. He looks like he'll top out at around 6-foot-5. He was nicked up a little with an ankle or knee ding on the day so it was difficult to gauge his movement, but he sure looks the part.

Weslye Saunders looks great and a bit more defined than he did at the NIKE Camp at Clemson last spring. He moves so well for a big man that he can instantly make you believe he's a special player - until he takes the next play off. However, to his credit, Saunders was intense all day.

If there's a better looking wide receiver in the country than Dwight Jones I'd like to see him. Jones is a legit 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 and very thick with big, long arms. He's a load built like former USC stud wideout Mike Williams when he was a sophomore. However, Jones looked a bit disinterested throughout the afternoon practice and didn't run crisp routes. When the ball was thrown his way, he was erratic. But he sure looks the part.

Notre Dame commitment Kerry Neal is playing outside linebacker but he looks like a defensive end with his frame. Irish fans who were worried that Neal might be too short to play the position need not worry. He's every bit of 6-foot-3.

Rounding out those who passed the eyeball test on Tuesday is linebacker Melvin Ingram who is every bit of 6-foot-3 and roughly 230 pounds. Ingram looks like he will end up as a 250-pound SEC 'backer who will take your head off. He was one of the more physical players for North Carolina in the afternoon session.

Now to those who disappointed a bit. Running back Ryan Houston is carrying too much weight and doesn't look as much like Louisville stud Michael Bush in person as he is on film. Defensive lineman Kwamaine Battle is a bit stumpy at roughly 6-foot-0 and doesn't look big enough to play inside in college.

Fellow defensive tackle Tydreke Powell is listed 6-foot-3 but once again he's closer to 6-foot-1 than anything else. And offensive lineman Quinn Barham, headed to Penn State, has very thin legs and ankles. He'll have to carry 300 pounds on his frame to play inside in college and he might have knee or ankle troubles down the line.

On the South Carolina side of things, defensive back Mark Barnes looks much stronger and thicker than he did in the spring and also looks a bit faster. He looks like he could play either strong or free safety in college and defense is clearly his best fit.

Offensive lineman Kyle Nunn is similar to Walker in frame and has plenty of room to add weight. The tall, thin offensive tackles with good athleticism are all the rage these days and the South Carolina commitment fits the bill. Defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins, committed to Clemson, showed up in much better shape than he did at the NIKE Camp last spring and is a load to handle in the middle. He's clearly the biggest player on the South Carolina squad.

Sleeper Brian Quick looks the part at wide receiver with his 6-foot-5 frame and long arms. He's a converted basketball player and has all the physical traits needed in a big wideout. Fellow wideout Markish Jones, another Clemson commitment, looks bigger than he did at NIKE and much stronger as well and Michigan-bound wideout Junior Hemingway is as thick and strong as advertised.

Those who disappointed a bit include center Mason Cloy, who doesn't look to have the frame to be more than a 285-pound center and defensive end Cliff Matthews doesn't look any bigger than he was last spring. Matthews has a great first step but he could have trouble adding weight, especially with narrow shoulders. His shoulder pads were clearly too big for his frame.

Overall, the North Carolina squad is the much bigger group and looks more physically impressive. However, as we know, looks can be deceiving.

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