ORLANDO, Fla. – Some players take time to adjust to the level while others just have the game. At the 2022 Under Armor All-America Game with five- and four-star players from across the country, there were a select few who took that big step by putting themselves in the spotlight.
From the start of training on December 29 until the national televised match on Sunday, the best of the best has risen to the defensive challenge.
Attention, enemies of the SEC, Nolen is on his way. Nolen brings memories of a development Reggie White with violent hands and an aggressive playing style that cannot be matched. In addition to his physical presence, his technique and power made him a dominant force when players moved to live in Orlando. Nolen finished drawing for three record-breaking solo tackles and was given a forced fumble.
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Compounding the problem for the SEC’s offensive linemen for years to come is Georgia signer Bear Alexander. Alexander joined the IMG Academy this season, taking on many of his teammates in training and during play.
For football diehards, it was a dream come true to see Alexander and Nolen in the same defensive trenches for the Legends team on Sunday. Alexander is big, strong and powerful, but his big-man athleticism and unstoppable engine make him an elite.
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Michigan fans have reason to be elated after a Big Ten title and an invitation to the College Football Playoff; and after the talent introduced during the 2022 cycle, they have more reason to be excited. Practicing against his Icon teammates, Moore was a relentless rusher using his speed and hands to outrun high-profile offensive linemen. That work resulted in a two-sack game-high for a 14-yard loss on Sunday
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Most offensive linemen never see a linebacker like Campbell during their high school career, not even the five and four stars. Campbell has a long, slender frame but plays bigger and with more power than expected.
Taking the field with the Icons, Campbell looked ready for the game, drawing for the team’s top three tackles and crediting a tackle for a defeat. Lost in the mix is seeing him do what he’s been asked to do within the defensive scheme, flip the bets on the inside, helping tighten the running lanes for the Legends.
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Johnson is another great prospect headed to Ann Arbor. Throughout the week Johnson impressed, shutting down his teammates during one-on-one sessions and bringing him into the game, covering potential NFL talent Luther Burden, Shazz Preston, Adam Randall and Chris Marshall.
Johnson has all the skills with smooth hips, speed and size. Regardless of the position or side of the ball, Johnson was one of Orlando’s best players.
Stewart is everything a college defensive coordinator would want in a defender. Another player taking the Under Armor courts already looks like a collegiate player, Stewart is consistent in his efforts and mixes the way he attacks offensive tackles and on both sides.
Stewart shined in training with his hands and footwork, and then hit a key game on Sunday with a fumble 65-yard comeback in the third quarter.
Everette was another great corner that made its presence in Orlando known. During the match, Everette overshadowed anyone who stood up against him, but it was his efforts during training that stood out even more.
Playing for the Icons team, Everette’s daily workouts were facing the aforementioned Burden, Preston, Randall and Marshall receivers, and Everette didn’t disappoint. Everette did the routine step breaks, but she was against who she was doing it and how easy it made it look that she was showcasing her four-star talents.
Even with larger receivers on the pitch, what Spears-Jennings brings in physicality and speed is unfair. Racing step-by-step against his Legends teammates in training and against Icons receivers during gameplay, Spears was apparently always able to close a window or interrupt a passage.
Spears’ wingspan at 6ft-2, is a difference maker. It is worth noting that he won the “Fastest Man” competition during Wednesday practice.
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Under Armor’s workouts were light for running backs and linebackers, but by the time they were given the option to turn it on, Hicks was ready. Instinctive with excellent footwork, Hicks was constantly in the right place ready to make a play.
Its versatility in the box is an added bonus, capable of playing outside or inside. Hicks ended the week trying teammate Jaylen Sneed for a five tackle maximum, while he was given a half tackle for a loss and a pass.
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It is easy to see that Sneed was among the most athletic regardless of position. Because of its athleticism and speed, the Hilton Head product is an outside supporter who can do it all. Sneed’s blast and speed of closing make him an elite. His ability to take down a game in an instant with those athletic prowess helped him in five tackles and a fumble 5-yard recovery on Sunday.
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