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January 12, 2005

The Hot 11: East's beasts own Tuesday's drills

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio is an opportunity for many of the nation's top players to show out and either improve or decrease their stock in the eyes of national recruiting analysts. Rivals.com now presents a look at the Hot 11 players from Tuesday's practices in the evaluations of recruiting analysts Jeremy Crabtree, Mike Farrell and Jeremy Patterson.

1 Patrick Turner, WR Turner has absolutely dominated practices all week long. Very few players can come to an event like this and be considered unstoppable. Adrian Peterson and Ted Ginn did it last year and Turner is doing it this year. No one knows if Turner will have the impact as a freshman that those guys had their freshman year, but he certainly looks like he has all of the tools to make a strong impact as a true freshman. 1
2 Eugene Monroe, OT Monroe brought his "A" game to practice on Tuesday, dominating the one-on-one pass rush drills against nearly all of the East defensive linemen. James McKinney, Ryan Bain and Earl Heyman all tasted the artificial grass thanks to Monroe as he wasn't satisfied with just blocking them, but insisted on planting them in the turf. A knee injury, not considered too serious, was the only thing that could slow Monroe on the day.


3 DeMarcus Granger, DT Granger continued his dominant play on Tuesday, battling through double teams and one triple team in one-on-one drills. Granger can't be single blocked and on one occasion spun off one lineman, bull rushed the next before a third finally stopped him short of his goal, to which Granger remarked, "that's a lot of people to go through." In full 22 situations, Granger blew up the backfield on at least three occasions and continues to make a case for the coveted No. 1 defensive tackle position. 2
4 Melvin Alaeze, DE It was a dominant Tuesday of practice for the East offensive line except for one problem, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound problem named Melvin Alaeze. The big rush end from Maryland didn't use any fancy moves or rely on stunts to get past blockers, he simply used his powerful bull rush and speed around the corner. Once he dipped his shoulder and turned the corner, it was over when Alaeze decided to go outside. And when he decided to go right at you, he was five yards deep in the backfield without a problem. Alaeze is the best defensive end on either squad - hands down. NR
5 Jonathan Crompton, QB Each of the East quarterbacks have turned in solid performances, but so far this week Crompton has separated himself from the others. His throws have been precision, his timing has been perfect, his touch has been sweet and his instincts are impeccable. Crompton is also the biggest of the three and is physically ready to compete on the Division I level right now. If you think the Vols have a quarterback controversy on their hands now, wait until next year.


6 DeSean Jackson, WR Everyone wants a big wide receiver these days, but don't sleep on little Jackson, who plays bigger than his size and always at 110 miles-per-hour. Jackson runs the best routes of any of the West wideouts, has speed to separate and great hands. He and Mark Sanchez have a bit of chemistry going already this week which could bode well for the West (and the Trojans?) as Jackson seems to know where Sanchez wants him to be. Smaller wideouts are often considered fragile or ineffective against bump-and-run coverage but Jackson can get off the line well and isn't afraid to make his mark over the middle if needed. He's the most dangerous weapon on offense and special teams for the West so far. NR
7 Chris Scott, OL Scott, was considered to be one of the top offensive lineman in the country coming into the All-American game in San Antonio, but he may be increasing his stock even higher this week. Behind only Eugene Monroe, Scott has been the best offensive lineman on the field during the first two days of practice. Scott goes hard every play and always finishes his block. It's hard to say he has a strength, but he may be a better run blockier than pass blocker. He is playing tackle this week in the game, but his agility may make him a guard on the next level. NR
8 Roy Miller, DT On film throughout his senior season, Miller has been one of the most rugged and hard-nosed players in the state of Texas. While other prospects were wilting under the January heat that hovered in the high 80's, Miller excelled and showed why he's one of the nation's top defensive tackles. Miller stood toe-to-toe with any West offensive linemen and quite often came away with victories on plays. By the end of practice, Miller was starting to pick up more double-teams, which is why he'll be one heck of a pickup for Texas when he commits on Saturday at the game. NR
9 Derek Nicholson, LB A month ago in the North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl Nicholson was virtually non-existent the first two days of practice. However, when he got he going he couldn't be stopped and it appears he is following the same course this week. The one exception being that it only took him one day to get rolling. Nicholson swarms to the play and always seems to be in on or around the tackle. NR
10 Eric Huggins, WR Huggins had the best catch of the day on Tuesday and began to show signs of shaking off the rust from a somewhat disappointing Shrine Bowl performance. The first circus catch came in seven-on-seven passing drills when he was teamed against cornerback Victor Harris. Huggins streaked down the left sideline and quarterback Jake Christensen lofted a pass to him that was first tipped by Harris. Huggins then left his feel and dived horizontally and snared the ball off the ground for the great catch.


11 Daniel Borg, OL There are bigger names and bigger bodies on the East and West offensive lines, but future Arizona Wildcat tackle Daniel Borg is as technically sound as anyone. Borg won't win any straight-line races, but he does just what a tackle needs to do - he gets out of his stance quickly, moves his feet well, sets a solid base and uses his arms to ride the defender away from the pocket. The West defensive ends haven't been lighting it up for the most part, but much of that could be attributed to solid play by Borg who rarely gets beaten. He can also get to the second level on screens and is a powerful run blocker. He doesn't do anything spectacular, but he does everything well.


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