January 8, 2007

U.S. Army AA Bowl top 10: East

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The East finished a hard week of practice with a disappointing 24-7 loss to the West in the U.S. Army All American Bowl on Saturday.

But while the team struggled on many fronts, there was also plenty of talent making an impact.

Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell ranks the top 10 players on the East team based on the week of practice and the game itself.

Army All-American Bowl Top 10: East

1. Torrey Davis, DT, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood

Davis didn't do much in the game, but his talent came forward throughout the week in practice. Davis showed an excellent motor and surprising mobility and quickness for a big man. Davis explodes off the ball, plays will excellent leverage and hustles downfield in pursuit. He was consistently one of the hardest workers in practice.

2. Marvin Austin, DT, Washington (D.C.) Ballou

Austin was limited in practice due to the defensive line strategy employed by the East. Austin's game is about quickness, shooting the gaps and mixing things up. In practice he was told to bull rush constantly, which played away from his strengths. In the game, Austin showed his true talent. He had two tackles and three hurries in the game. On one play he pressured Jimmy Clausen, lost his helmet and nearly snagged Joe McKnight behind the line of scrimmage.

3. Noel Devine, RB, North Fort Myers (Fla.)

Devine didn't touch the ball much during the week and during the game. When Devine got the ball in practice, he had the defense scrambling and missing. When his team needed a big play, his kickoff return gave the East a glimmer of hope. The bottom line is that his speed makes him a threat to score on each play, and it's only a matter of time before he breaks one.

4. Eric Berry, DB, Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside

Berry showed off his instincts early in the week with five interceptions during the first two days, and he improved on pass coverage throughout. Berry was also excellent in run support and his recovery ability was impressive. Berry was the best athlete on the East team and truly has as much upside as anyone on the roster.

5. Arrelious Benn, WR, Washington (D.C.) Dunbar

Benn is strong, plays physically and has excellent hands. He's very fast for a receiver his size, and he's elusive after the catch. He can do damage downfield or in the flat, and he'll be an outstanding blocker in college as well. Benn is also a natural leader, the kind of player to which others gravitate.

6. Gary Gray, DB, Columbia (S.C.) Richland Northeast

Gray is an outstanding cornerback despite his lack of size. He's a great open-field tackler, supports the run well and has great speed. His leaping ability helps him cover bigger receivers and he gets his head around in coverage quickly. If there were any questions about Gray's speed or size heading into this week, they were answered.

7. Martez Wilson, DE, Chicago Simeon

Wilson is an undersized end at this stage of his career. He could play linebacker in college with his speed, making him very versatile. He has long arms and the quickness to cover sideline-to-sideline. Wilson could be a hybrid player similar to Shawne Merriman in college.

8. Ben Martin, DE, Cincinnati LaSalle

Martin has very good physical skills, but it's his awareness that was most impressive. He isn't fooled by play-action or misdirection, he shows poise in lane containment and he knows when to flatten his pass rush - which allows him to play the run more effectively. Martin is a smart, heady player with a very good frame on which to build.

9. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Hampton (Va.)

Taylor was misused from the start of the week when he was asked to work with the defensive backs. By the time he was back at quarterback on Tuesday, he was running option plays and sprint-outs. Those are things he can do, but they take away from his effectiveness. Taylor is best as a drop-back passer. He showed in the scrimmage he can give defenses fits. He made a mistake in the game by locking on his primary target, which led to an interception. When it comes to overall skills, Taylor has the best upside of the East quarterbacks.

10. Greg Little, WR, Durham (N.C.) Hillside

Little is a hard worker and wants to learn, something that makes him very coachable. Little is an exceptional athlete who has learned to use his physical assets to his advantage on offense. Little's hands have improved greatly, making him an offensive threat. He made many tough catches in practice and showed off his ability to go up and get the football on his touchdown catch in the game. The best from Little is yet to come.

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