January 10, 2008

Offense-Defense All-Star Position Awards

Many of the nation's top prospects recently gathered in Ft. Lauderdale for the Offense-Defense All-Star game.


Rivals.com Recruiting Analyst Barton Simmons scouted the action in the game and during the week in practice and offers up his awards for the All-Americans.












Offense-Defense All-Star Awards

FASTEST PLAYER: Michael Shaw, RB, Trotwood (Ohio) Madison, [tm]Penn State commit[/tm]


Shaw can get upfield in a heartbeat. He is the type of player that can make a cut and get upfield in the blink of an eye. He looked fast all week in the cold air and made several nice gains on game night as well.


Honorable Mention: Allante Battle, ATH, Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista, [tm]Arizona State[/tm] commit; Kemonte Bateman, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, [tm]Arizona State[/tm] commit


Strongest Player: Marcus Dowtin, ATH, Fork Union (Va.) Fork Union Military Academy, [tm]Georgia[/tm] commit


Though he is athletic and looks like a linebacker in pads, you don't realize how strong Dowtin is until he makes contact with somebody. He sends ballcarriers and blockers backwards at the point of contact.


Honorable Mention: Armond Armstead, OG, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, [tm]Southern Cal[/tm] commit; Brandon Beachum, LB, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney, [tm]Penn State[/tm] commit; Cordy Glenn, OT, Riverdale (Ga.) Riverdale, [tm]Georgia[/tm] commit


BEST HANDS: Jeff Fuller, WR, McKinney (Texas) Boyd, [tm]Texas A&M[/tm] commit


Fuller showed that he can be a great possession receiver at Texas A&M. He was very natural catching the ball and made nice catches in traffic and on deep balls.


Honorable Mention: Melvin Ray, WR, Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian, [tm]Alabama[/tm] commit; Kemonte Bateman, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, [tm]Arizona State[/tm] commit


BEST ARM: D.C. Jefferson, QB, Winter Haven (Fla.) Winter Haven, [tm]Rutgers[/tm] commit


Jefferson struggled at time with accuracy in the cold weather but he displayed big-time arm strength. He has a huge body and reminds me a little bit of Byron Leftwich with his arm, though he can tuck the ball and run more effectively.


Honorable Mention: Matt Scott, QB, Corona (Calif.) Centennial, [tm]Arizona[/tm] commit


BEST VISION: Devoe Torrence, ATH, Massillon (Ohio) Washington, [tm]Ohio State[/tm] commit


Torrence was creative in finding room to run when there weren't many holes available. He made great quick cuts and ducked his head when he needed to while still bouncing the ball when there was nothing there.


Honorable Mention: Cyrus Gray, RB, DeSoto (Texas) DeSoto



BEST AFTER THE CATCH: Kemonte Bateman, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, [tm]Arizona State[/tm] commit


None of the wide receivers were able to display a great deal of ability after the catch due to the lack of productivity in the pass game but Bateman's quickness and agility make him a tough player to get a hand on.


Honorable Mention: Melvin Ray, WR, Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian, [tm]Alabama[/tm] commit; Allante Battle, ATH, Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista, [tm]Arizona State[/tm] commit


BEST COVER SKILLS: Aaron Hester, CB, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez, [tm]UCLA[/tm] commit


Hester used his long arms and great instincts to lock down almost the entire West receiving corps during the week of practice. Hester is deceptively physical and thrived on the challenges in practice.


Honorable Mention: Marc Anthony, CB, Chandler (Ariz.) Chandler, [tm]California[/tm] commit; Brandon Boykin, CB, Fayetteville (Ga.) Fayette County, [tm]Georgia[/tm] commit


BEST FEET: Matt Brown, ATH, Hightstown (N.J.) Peddie School


The diminutive defensive back came into the all-star week with no offers and a lot to prove. He compensated for his 5-foot-6 size with great quickness and very good feet. He made several plays throughout the week to stand out.


Honorable Mention: Corey Liuget, DE, Hialeah (Fla.) Hialeah, [tm]Illinois[/tm] commit; Allante Battle, ATH, Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista, [tm]Arizona State[/tm] commit


BEST CLOSING SPEED: Brandon Beachum

, LB, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney, [tm]Penn State[/tm] commit


When he recognizes run, Beachum is down hill in a hurry and he's physical once he gets to the point of attack. His ability to get to full speed out of his two-point stance is what separates him.


Honorable Mention: Nick Moody, LB, Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic, [tm]Florida State[/tm] commit


BEST SURPRISE: Kermit Tyler, OG, New Orleans (La.) L.W. Higgins, [tm]Ole Miss[/tm] commit


Tyler came into the game as a two-star prospect but by the end of the week was one or the more consistent linemen for the West team. He improved on a daily basis and he was sorely missed on Friday night when he sat out due to an allergic reaction.


Honorable Mention: > Matt Brown, ATH, Hightstown (N.J.) Peddie School


BEST RUSHER: Earl Okine, DE, Gainesville (Fla.) Gainesville, [tm]Florida[/tm] commit


This category was absolutely loaded with potential winners. Okine gets the nod because he was the best pure rusher off the edge, has a great frame and has tremendous upside.


Honorable Mention: Armond Armstead, OG, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, [tm]Southern Cal[/tm] commit; Corey Liuget, DE, Hialeah (Fla.) Hialeah, [tm]Illinois[/tm] commit; Keith Wells, DE, Gainesville (Ga.) Gainesville, [tm]Florida State[/tm] commit


BEST TACKLER: Mike Zordich, LB, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney, [tm]Penn State[/tm] commit
Zordich was all over the field on game night making tackles in the backfield and on the second level. He runs well and gets after ball carriers with high intensity. He'll be a nice addition to that Penn State linebacking corps.


Honorable Mention: Brandon Beachum, LB, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney, [tm]Penn State[/tm] commit; Marcus Dowtin, ATH, Fork Union (Va.) Fork Union Military Academy, [tm]Georgia[/tm] commit



MOST PHYSICAL: Armond Armstead, OG, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, [tm]Southern Cal[/tm] commit


Armstead bullied his way into the backfield against his own offensive linemen during practice and then again against the East starters during the game. He is a very strong player who likes to mix it up on the inside and should be a big-time player on either side of the line for the Trojans.


Honorable Mention: Nick Moody, LB, Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic, [tm]Florida State[/tm] commit


STOCK RISING: Corey Liuget, DE, Hialeah (Fla.) Hialeah, [tm]Illinois[/tm] commit


As a four-star recruit ranked in the Rivals250, Liuget was expected to perform at a high level in an all-star setting, but his dominance surpassed any expectations. He was a major factor disrupting the passing game and running game on Friday night.


Honorable Mention: Earl Okine, DE, Gainesville (Fla.) Gainesville, [tm]Florida[/tm] commit; Keith Wells, DE, Gainesville (Ga.) Gainesville, [tm]Florida State[/tm] commit; Kermit Tyler, OG, New Orleans (La.) L.W. Higgins, [tm]Ole Miss[/tm] commit


STOCK DROPPING: Beau Sweeney, QB, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West, [tm]California[/tm] commit


Sweeney had some consistency problems during the week throwing the ball and he struggled at times in the game as well. It is always tough for a quarterback to step in and in just a couple of days practice pick up an entire offense but Sweeney did not have one of his better weeks.


SPECIAL TEAMS STUD: Kemonte Bateman, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, [tm]Arizona State[/tm] commit


Bateman returned kicks and punts for his West team and though the punt returns weren't live, he showed that he has a lot of value as a special teams player at the next level.


Honorable Mention: Quinn Sharp, K, Mansfield (Texas) Mansfield Summit, [tm]Oklahoma State[/tm] commit



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