It was role reversal as several prospects that had not performed well earlier
this week stepped up their level of play while those who competently competed
Monday and Tuesday slipped a little.
A pair of defensive linemen stood out in the session. Jarrett Johnson’s
hard work finally paid off as the former Crimson Tide tackle was getting
constant penetration up the field and beating blockers who had contained him
during the initial two practices. Johnson’s motor was relentless and he made a
lot off positive plays. Likewise Clemson’s Nick Eason was thundering
past opponents with an eye catching first step off the snap and improved his
draft stock during practice.
Running back Justin Fargas impressed by consistently catching the ball out of
the backfield and had another solid day carrying the pigskin. On one play
Fargas put a move Florence Drayton which left the nifty cornerback grasping for
air as Fargas sped into the end zone. Earnest Graham of Florida possibly had his
best practice of the week and had people talking.
Sam Aiken established himself as one of the better senior receivers and ran
crisp routes, found the open spot on the field and caught everything thrown his
way. Taylor Jacobs also continued his surge up draft boards as he’s been
the most reliable set of hands for the South squad and has consistently
impressed with his play this week. One tight end that also showed
well today was UCLA’s Mike Seidman, a big, lumbering target that reads the
defense and gets into the clearing. Like Aiken and Jacobs, Seidman has
been a favorite target for the South’s signal callers as he catches any pass
thrown in his direction.
Speaking of the passers, Carson Palmer again had a strong performance while
Kliff Kingsbury struggled. The Lions coaching staff implemented more of a
short, quick passing game today and also asked the quarterbacks to roll out of
the pocket and throw on the move. Palmer never missed a beat while
Kingsbury was wild on several of his tosses.
One defensive back that stood out was Rashean Mathis of Bethune Cookman.
Used at both corner and safety throughout the week, the Buck Buchanon Award
Winner, given to the nation’s top defensive player in Division I-AA football,
moved back to centerfield in the morning and made a lot of positive plays,
breaking up several throws.
The offensive linemen for the South squad were inconsistent. Torrin
Tucker flashed dominance on occasion leading one scout the blurt out, “This
guys a stud,” but got beat several times towards the end of the session.
Vince Manuwai had a difficult practice and was beaten so badly by defenders he
ended up on his backside on more than one occasion. The only redeeming
factor for Manuwai was the long snapping skills he displayed late in practice
but his draft stock took a big hit this morning. Montrae Holland struggled
as well and was not able to capitalize on strong performances earlier in the
After the practice, back at the Adams Mark Hotel a sense of relief came over
many of the players who were almost jovial as they left the bus, realizing the
grueling practice schedule was coming to an end. Only a few days to
relax though as they will again be the focus of attention on Saturday.
---Tony Pauline- TFY Draft Preview