ATLANTA - At Rising Seniors practice on Thursday, the one thing that was impossible to ignore is the quality of the defensive linemen that will participate in the game Monday at 1 p.m.
UGASports was on hand to watch the West squad practice Friday morning, and a number of defensive linemen were impressive.
At defensive end, Josiah Coatney (Chapel Hill) and Andrew Williams (Eagles Landing Christian Academy) had extremely strong practices in the morning. Both were explosive off the edge and when offensive linemen made the mistake of over-extending on the edge, Coatney showed and impressive bull rush move.
Coatney has the frame at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds to grow into an interior defensive lineman at the next level, but he has an impressive first step and an incredible motor.
On the inside for the east, Chris Williams (Sandy Creek), Justin Jones (South Cobb), and Dontavius Russell (Carrollton) all looked immovable and dominant during the morning session. The west's offensive lineman had no match for any of those three during inside drill or 11-on-11.
UGASports took a look at the East's practice in the afternoon and saw much of the same. The defensive tackle duo of Elisha Shaw (Tucker) and ]db\Kendall Baker[/db] (Marist) were unblockable all morning. Both have the length to play offensive tackle at the next level, but they are also tremendous athletes that have the ability to play low and still flip their hips to chase the football.
At defensive end for the west squad, Bryson Allen-Williams (Cedar Grove), Caleb Samuel (Stratford Academy), and Dante Sawyer (North Gwinnett) all flexed their muscle in the afternoon.
Allen-Williams is shorter than his listed height of 6-foot-3 and appeared to be borderline 6-foot-2, but was clearly the quickest athlete on the field. He has an impressive lower half and the speed to chase down plays from the backside. He is also strong at the point of attack.
Samuel and Sawyer are very similar in their ability to play the run at the point of attack while still being explosive enough to apply pressure from the edge.
Four-star running backs impress
One player that really stood out in morning workouts was Cedartown running back Nick Chubb. The four-star ball carrier looked a tad uncomfortable carrying the ball out of the I-formation early because most of his experience has as a fullback in the Wing-T system, but he caught on quick and really opened some eyes with his ability to make one cut and get downhill.
Chubb's teammate on the West team, Thomas County Central running back Adam Choice also had to make some adjustments. Choice plays quarterback for the Yellow Jackets, but was the deep back in the I-formation on Thursday. After a couple of early fumbles that can be attributed to a poor mesh point between he and the quarterback, Choice rebounded with a couple of explosive runs on the inside where he found daylight quickly and accelerated to the second level.
Walton Academy running back Stanley Williams was clearly the fastest player on the field for the East team in 11-on-11 period. Williams made something out of nothing a number of times, and has the kind of speed to make a huge play out of the smallest of creases.
Familiar names dominate
One of the most dominant players of the day was Sandy Creek wide receiver Demarre Kitt. Kitt caught everything thrown his way, and got consistent separation from the West's defensive backs.
Kitt is a smooth receiver with long arms and does a nice job plucking the ball out of the air. He rarely allows a cornerback to make contact because of his quick hands and feet, and while he doesn't have great speed, he has the ability to separate with quick, timely bursts.
Gainesville quarterback DeShaun Watson was arguably the best quarterback in the state of Georgia this year but he was clearly the best quarterback for either squad on Thursday.
Watson has a quick release and is excellent when throwing on the run. He made very few mistakes and showed tremendous field vision despite not being able to use his legs much in the team scrimmage period.
The four-star signal caller was fairly adamant about wanting to play in a spread offense at the next level when asked by reporters after practice.
A new name
The 2014 class doesn't appear to be a strong one on the offensive line, but one player that really stood out was Collins Hill offensive tackle Christian Harris.
At 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, Harris carries no bad weight and is very lean. He is a tad raw as an offensive lineman but has excellent footwork in pass protection.
He bends at the knees very well, and also has extremely long arms that make him an ideal left tackle prospect at the next level.
As a run blocker, he needs to be stronger and more explosive at the point of attack, and Harris will also need to improve his punch.
Harris currently has no offers, but that could change soon as he says Georgia has showed strong interest along with Alabama and LSU.
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