Gorney’s Takeaways: Wednesday’s Under Armour All-America practice

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The first proof of the Under Armor All-America Game is in the books and there have been many impressive and extraordinary performances. Here are some thoughts from opening training:

THE DEBATE TO THE TD

The top three defensive tackles are working here and right now the order of the standings is Texas A&M signer Walter Nolen, North Carolina signer Travis Shaw and then Georgia signer Keithian Alexander.

After the first night, Alexander definitely made a case to go up. Obviously it was a workout and it was limited one-on-one, but Alexander moves so well at his size, he practically doesn’t have a negative weight and has won almost all of his reps. Of the three, Nolen had the most shots and speed with the ball, which made him very difficult to stop. Shaw also had his moments and confirmed his ranking, but I thought Alexander and Nolen stood out more.

*****

WIDE IMPRESS RECEIVERS

Alabama signer Aaron Anderson is listed at 5 feet-8 and 187 pounds, so he’s definitely small but, man, he can fly. New Orleans (La.) Star Edna Karr is so dynamic that the defenders couldn’t even keep up with him to resist as he burned virtually everyone in one-on-one. Take it into space and it’s unstoppable. There is a very small capture radius, but every path it has run, especially deep, has just burned them all and will become a massive weapon in the Crimson Tide offensive.

Penn State signer Kaden Saunders doesn’t have that level of speed, but continues to open up against everyone and make every catch. The four-star probably had the coolest catch of the night on a call that was thrown behind him in the middle where Saunders reached out to grab it.

Other receivers we liked on the first night were Missouri five-star signer Luther Burden, Clemson signer Antonio Williams, Alabama signer Shazz Preston, and Texas A&M signers Chris Marshall and Evan Stewart. Marshall beats defensive backs with his length along the sideline and Stewart is incredibly fast even through his courses, just a dynamic athlete.

*****

OTHER THOUGHTS

… Oklahoma signer Robert Spears-Jennings played defense in first training and the three-star athlete definitely had his moments breaking passes, looking good on cover and winning the event Fastest Man beating Evan Stewart in an announced moment of 4.49 in 40. The Broken Arrow, Okla., Prospect has speed, size and breadth and looked good during the long stretches of first practice.

… Georgia Branson signer Robinson looks like a professional bodybuilder, so he was the coolest running back, but four-star Jovantae Barnes wasn’t far behind. Las Vegas (Nev.) Star Desert Pines who will choose between Oklahoma, USC and Florida State at the Under Armor game continues to get bigger and stronger and he sure looked the part.

… Michigan signer Keon Sabb may be special. His length, timing and sensitivity for the defensive back spot are elite and he had at least two nice passing deflections during one-on-one or 7-on-7. Five-star Michigan cornerback Will Johnson, too, it was awesome. He’s physical when needed, but he can also turn around and run with receivers, and his length helps deflect balls. Other defensive full-backs who looked good included Georgia signer Daylen Everette and Alabama signer Trequon Fegans.

… On the offensive line, I really liked Texas A&M signer Patrick Williams Jr. Posted at just 240 pounds, the Dickinson, Texas definitely has room to fill his frame but managed his affairs against rushers during the one against one and definitely impressed. Texas signer Neto Umeozulu was also super physical, LSU signer Emery Jones is bigger than I imagined and then Texas signer Kelvin Banks Jr., five star Devon Campbell and Texas A&M signer Kam Dewberry all showed special qualities.

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