December 18, 2006

Shrine Bowl scouting breakdown by category

The 70th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is in the books and the North Carolina players hold bragging rights for a year. In scouting the players all week and during the game, there were many players on both teams that impressed. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell breaks down the players in many different categories led by Clemson-bound wideout Markish Jones, who checks in as the fastest player at the event.

Fastest: Markish Jones showed top-end speed throughout the week and in the game. He gets off the ball quickly which allows him to beat press coverage and he has an extra gear.
Honorable mention: Chris Culliver

Strongest: Jarvis Jenkins was a pocket crusher all week long in Spartanburg and handled double teams very well. He didn't have a great Shrine Bowl despite being in on a few tackles, but he still has tremendous strength and plays with great leverage.
Honorable mention: Tydreke Powell

Best hands: Jason Barnes not only showed excellent hands all week in practice but he was outstanding in the game itself. Barnes made a few nice plays on high passes and took the hit that followed without coughing the ball up.
Honorable mention: Mario Washington

Best arm: Willy Korn struggled throughout the week with consistency and he was pretty awful during the game, but he still has good zip on his ball when needed and throws a rope downfield. Korn can make all the throws, he just needs to gain his confidence back.
Honorable mention: Scott Riddle

Most accuracy: Scott Riddle is a sleeper to keep an eye on. He was pinpoint sharp in the game itself and he improved his accuracy all week after a rough start. Riddle still needs to deliver the ball in better position for his receivers but he has upside.
Honorable mention: Matt Lentz

Best vision: Jonathan Williams was a bit of an unknown on the national scene, but regionally many people were high on him. During the game I could see why. He has excellent body lean and always seems to fall forward. He shows toughness and gains a lot of yards after contact.
Honorable mention: Jae Fitzgerald

Best after the catch: Dwight Jones is too big for most cornerbacks to handle so he can often break tackles and gain extra yardage. He also has very deceptive speed and a bit of wiggle. Jones will be a load for anyone to handle in coverage. Honorable mention: Markish Jones

Best coverage skills: Marcus Gilchrist is like glue when it comes to single coverage. He may be small but he gets a good bump off the line when playing press coverage and he reads the tendencies of the wideouts quickly. He has the speed to recover if he guesses wrong and excellent ball skills.
Honorable mention: Gary Gray

Best pass rusher: Cliff Matthews is a pure pass rusher with great speed. He's quick off the ball and pursues from the backside as well as anyone. He's long enough to harass the quarterback even from a distance and he'll bat down plenty of passes. When he gets to lay a hit on the quarterback, he causes turnovers.
Honorable mention: Travian Robertson

Best tackler: Melvin Ingram is going to be a very good SEC linebacker. He has excellent instincts, takes good angles to the ball carrier and his long arms allow him to make tackles he seems out of position for. Ingram delivers a blow but more importantly he wraps up well.
Honorable mention: Gary Gray

Most upside: Dwight Jones is 6-foot-4 and around 210 pounds with long arms. He'll top out around 225 pounds and will be very hard to stop near the endzone. The only thing that could stop Jones from being great would be his work ethic.
Honorable mention: Travian Robertson

Best route runner: Jason Barnes runs excellent routes. He sells fakes well, gets to where the quarterback expects him on time and doesn't get lazy. Barnes takes sharp angles on his cuts and sells pass even when the ball isn't coming his way.

Most physical: Scotty Cooper loves to hit, you can just tell by watching him in practice. He was killing people on Monday went the South Carolina team was hitting live and he was itching to lay some people out the rest of the week. He didn't get any big hits in the game itself, but when he's in position, he'll smack you.
Honorable mention: Cliff Matthews

Stock rising: Melvin Ingram entered the week as a little known three-star player. He leaves the Shrine Bowl as a potential four star with tremendous upside. Beyond his physical skills, Ingram has a love for the game that aids his intensity and he's a natural leader.
Honorable mention: Jonathan Williams

Stock dropping: Ryan Houston has been labeled as lazy and as a fumbler and he lived up to both of those reputations throughout the week. It's no coincidence that he was the third running back off the bench for the game and he put the ball on the ground numerous times. If you're big and can run, you should be doing a lot more than Houston does.
Honorable mention: Willy Korn

Special teams stud: Marcus Gilchrist will be a tremendous return man in college because of two things. First, he can reach top speed after just a couple of steps and secondly, he's fearless. Gilchrist is very elusive in the open field and, despite not doing much on returns in the game, he is a threat every time he touches the ball.

Best feet: Landon Walker is tall and rangy and uses his long arms and frame to keep pass rushers at bay. But it was his footwork that was the most impressive thing about him during the week. Walker moves like a basketball player and not only uses great footwork to protect the quarterback's blind side, but it also allows him to pull and get downfield.
Honorable mention: George Bryan

Best hips: Gary Gray has loose hips, an important trait for any cornerback. Gray is smooth in his backpedal and changes direction very well. His hips allow him to react to most moves and he can recover well even if turned around.
Honorable mention: Marcus Gilchrist

Best closing speed: Dominique Ellis flies to the football and closes on passes quickly. He has good read and react ability and excellent speed. He is excellent in run support and his timing in pass defense is impressive.
Honorable Mention: Stanley Hunter

Best instincts: John Stamper is often the smartest player on the field. He reads the play quickly and does a great job of avoiding blockers to get in on a play. Stamper also watches tendencies as practice and games go on, making him more effective near crunch time.
Honorable mention: Melvin Ingram

Biggest surprise: Kwamaine Battle doesn't look like a DI-A defensive tackle in person, at least not one who is headed to defensive-minded Virginia Tech. During practice he doesn't show much as well, but when the lights got turned on and the real game began, Battle was one of the best players on the field.
Honorable mention: Mario Washington


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