BELLEVILLE, Ill. ? Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every breaks down some of the Division I-A talent that participated in the Sept. 19 game between East St. Louis (Ill.) High and Belleville (Ill.) Belleville West.
East St. Louis turned 445 total yards of offense and six takeaways into a 61-7 rout of Belleville and star receivers Kraig Appleton and Terry Hawthorne did not disappoint.
A closer look at some key players, listed alphabetically:
ASSETS: Has excellent height and very good hands.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Needs to work some on his ability to adjust while ball is in the air.
MOST IMPRESSIVE PLAY: His effort on a 21-yard TD catch in the second quarter, using his hands to catch the ball at its highest point.
CONCLUSION: A vertical threat with deceptive speed, Appleton will also be a deadly weapon any time his team is near the end zone because of his size and leaping ability. He physically looks like a slightly taller Chad Johnson.
ASSETS: Has above-average change of direction, excellent speed and can adjust to the ball in the air. AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Needs to get stronger and add some muscle mass.
MOST IMPRESSIVE PLAY: While attempting a punt in the third quarter he took a bad snap and turned it into a 72-yard TD run, displaying blazing speed.
CONCLUSION: One of the top football players I have seen this year. Hawthorne could play either receiver or safety at the next level. He will be an impact player for the Fighting Illini as a freshman.
ASSETS: Has excellent change of direction and great lower body structure.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Needs to get stronger in the upper body and work on overall speed.
MOST IMPRESSIVE PLAY: Had a run of about thirty yards in the third quarter, zig-zagging in and out of the grasps of multiple defenders.
CONCLUSION: His abilities would fit great in the spread offense. He is short enough to make it difficult for defenders to find him coming through the line of scrimmage and has excellent hands out of the backfield.
ASSETS: Excellent upper and lower body structure and is very strong.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Needs to play with lower pad level at the point of attack.
MOST IMPRESSIVE PLAY: Switched from SDE to DT just before a third-and-one situation in the first quarter, making a key tackle for no gain.
CONCLUSION: He could play defensive end but he has the potential body size to make an excellent DT. Currently has no offers, but he recently transferred into East St. Louis. When colleges come to watch his receiving corps they will definitely take notice.
ASSETS: Is an excellent athlete with above-average change of direction.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: As a quarterback he will need to gain size and strength; as an athlete needs to decide whether he is a WR or CB.
MOST IMPRESSIVE PLAY: His overall performance going 12 of 16 for 252 yards and three TDs while rushing three times for 23 yards.
CONCLUSION: Does not have the ideal size to become a DI quarterback, but he does have the leadership skills and athletic ability to make an impact at that level.