Photo: Wescott Eberts // @SBN_Wescott
Today's schedule will feature more 7 on 7 play, linemen thumping, and the crowning of champions in each.
I'll update as best I can, so check back from time to time.
Jake Raulerson was held out of lineman drills with a minor shoulder injury. He watched and iced.
Met A'Shawn's mother, and enjoyed chatting with her while we chuckled at A'Shawn challenging Ndamukong Suh to a mid-field dance contest. It was...interesting. The big fella has some dance game.
Had a great talk with former Miami DE Kenard Lang about his impressions of the top performers in the DL group. Or more precisely, he quizzed me on my opinion and then nodded approvingly if/when I said the right things before adding his own comments. Kenard is a head coach in Orlando now and shared some nice insights on Robinson, who he mentioned without prompting. Aside from commenting on A'Shawn's obvious power and natural man strength, he also mentioned that Robinson is very coachable. "Most of these kids nod, but they go right back doing what they're comfortable with. He's putting it to use." When I asked if Robinson has limited upside at DT and might see his performance checked when he encounters comparably sized athletes, he shrugged. "Hasn't been taught anything else. I understand why you want him on OL, but why not DT? He's a big kid that can move and he'll add tools with good coaching."
Seeing a motivated A'Shawn Robinson is definitely changing my mind on my previous opinion with respect to OLvs. DT.
We asked to see Robinson go against FSU commit Ira Denson - Robinson's physical equal at OG and star of yesterday's camp - and the coaches mentioned that this was already in the cards.
They met up in a pass-rush drill.
First bout, Robinson tried his bull rush and tried to take a shoulder (which he's been doing unresisted all camp) and the 6-4, 315 pound Denson got a fantastic initial punch on Robinson, staggering the big man. He brought his feet and completely stoned the big DT, shutting him down. The entire camp went wild. Both players ended the exchange barking and with a little scuffle.
Second bout, Robinson worked to an angle, pushed and pinned Denson's arm, and got around for a big sack, barking the last three yards. Everyone went nuts. Another scuffle.
Robinson vs. Denson will be repeated this afternoon. Should be a treat. Later, Robinson went against a Colin McGovern, a well-regarded but more mortal OL from Illinois, and destroyed him.
Overall, the elevated competition has been good for A'Shawn and we're seeing him at his best. His competitive juices are stoked and I'm seeing elements of him as a DT that weren't apparent on his junior film. He'll be on the camp standout list for any recruiting service worth its salt.
Jake Oliver couldn't play with a minor concussion.
Torrodney Prevot sat out with a rolled ankle. I chatted with him a bit. Nice kid. He needs to find a 3-4 defense where he can play OLB. If he goes 4-3 DE, he's probably relegated to pass rushing specialist. Cal would be a good place for him.
Jacorey Warrick had a couple of catches in 7 on 7. He certainly has quickness and he passes the eyeball test as a slot WR, but he hasn't been a particular stand out among 3-5 star peers. Not 6' tall either.
Ricky Seals-Jones caught a game-winning TD in a quarterfinal and continues to be a handful for anyone lined up across from him. Held him in very high regard before this camp and that's still the case.
Tyrone Swoopes. I didn't get a chance to see Swoopes as I was focusing on other athletes, but apparently he had a better morning in Game 1. He's still learning the craft of QB and attitudinally I'd like to see him exhibit more emotion and leadership.
Marcel Harris. Continues to play at a really high level in a format that doesn't allow him to utilize his best attributes, i.e. knocking the crap out of people. Talked to some recruiting guys and they all seem to think his continued interest in Texas is genuine. Very difficult to pull a player like him out of Florida.
Other players of note
The treat of the morning was watching the spectacular athletic ability of Miami, Florida LB Matthew Thomas. 6-4, 215, built long, with outstanding fluidity. Evaling LBs in a 7 on 7 format is generally useless, but Thomas wouldn't be denied. He bated the opposing QB successfully on three different occasions for interceptions, which he plucked from the air and ran with like a 5-9 cornerback, bringing one back for six. Every program in the Southeast is after him. Remember the name. The guy is special.
In a similar vein, OL Denver Kirkland from Florida has been just outstanding over the last two days. Amazingly, he plays at the same high school in Miami as Matthew Thomas. Strong, great pass set, active feet. Just stonewalling guys in drills that actively favor the DE. Remember the name.
OJ Howard, 6-6, 230 pound TE recruit committed to Alabama, is basically a human action figure. Impressive physique and legit high point ball skills. He has a real chance to redefine the Alabama TE position.
The NFL coaches are almost all approachable and willing to talk. It has been fun to grab these guys and pick their brains.
END OF DAY UPDATE
A'Shawn Robinson just learned some new swim/rip combos and destroyed everyone in front of him, including former nemesis Ira Denson. HE IS NOW FULLY WEAPONIZED. Ndakumong Suh and Chuck Wiley were beaming like proud fathers. Fear him. He showed me facets of his game that I didn't think he had and though I'd already considered him a Top 10 state of Texas recruit whose best realization would eventually be as an OL, but it's pretty clear that he's much more than that. I'll share more later.
Texan WR Torii Hunter blew up. He was the best performing wide receiver in today's session. Showed great high point catching ability, good speed after the catch, and a great instinct for finding space in zone coverage. Had four eyebrow raising catches between the morning and afternoon sessions. Texas may wish they'd gone after him.
Really liked QBs Shane Morris (Michigan), Cooper Bateman (Bama), and Max Browne (USC). Obviously the format rewards their skill sets, too.