Under Armour All-America Game 2013: Top 5 Standouts from Practice
Some of the top high school players from across the country will soon showcase their talent in the Under Armour All-America Game. It is an all-star event that will give some of the top recruits one final chance to show the college football world what they are made of before they officially become collegiate players.
But much like any game that takes place, there are practices leading up to the big day. While there shouldn't be much invested into these, this is also a chance for some of the guys to make a name for themselves and gain everybody's attention.
With a couple days of practice already in the books, here are some of the top performers so far.
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Carl Lawson is somebody who is explosive off the ball and has one of the quickest first steps you will ever see from a defensive end. Due to his natural pass-rushing skills and relentless pursuit, a lot of positives come out just by watching him, according to Kipp Adams of ESPN.
Andrew Bone of Rivals.com also gave us an idea of just how much other players have been struggling to keep Lawson in front of them.
The OL coach just told Na'ty Rodgers to at least try and get a hand on Carl Lawson.— Andrew Bone (@AndrewJBone) January 2, 2013
The 5-star recruit is the complete package on the defensive side of the ball and should instantly help out a Tigers unit that was beyond brutal this year.
Henry Poggi, DT, Michigan
Henry Poggi has been one of the biggest surprises in practice throughout the week. While he is considered a top defensive lineman in the 2013 class, many have wondered if he is big enough to play defensive tackle in college at 6'3", 260 pounds.
Those questions may still linger, but Poggi did a terrific job in the one-on-one drills and showed that he can get off the ball well. He has been a player that guys have had a tough time blocking and according to Andrew Bone of Rivals.com, he has been great at rushing the passer.
Henry Poggi excellent on back-to-back reps in pass rushing drills. #Michigan.— Andrew Bone (@AndrewJBone) January 2, 2013
Whether he slides over to defensive end or adds on a few pounds, Poggi appears to be a solid recruit for the Wolverines.
Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Uncommitted
The fact that Robert Nkemdiche has been one of the top performers really shouldn't come as a surprise. Arguably the best recruit of the 2013 class, the 5-star defensive end has really lived up to his reputation and has everybody raving about him each and every day.
His combination of speed and power has really tested opposing offensive linemen when he has lined up outside. But due to his size and strength, Nkemdiche also has the ability to line up inside and create mismatches with offensive linemen.
According to Lyons Yellin of Nola.com, Nkemdiche won't participate in today's practice.
Robert Nkemdiche is out of skills competition and practice today. He's banged up #nolaprep— Lyons Yellin (@LyonsYellin) January 2, 2013
However, something tells me we have seen enough of him to know he will be alright.
Chris Jones, DE, Mississippi State
While Nkemdiche has the household name and has been pegged as the top overall recruit, it is Chris Jones that is beginning to make people wonder who the top player truly is. He has a massive frame at 6'7", 260 pounds and his ability to move from sideline to sideline is impressive. Somebody his size should not be able to move as well as he does.
Andrew Bone of Rivals.com believes that Jones may actually have more upside than Nkemdiche at the defensive end position.
Robert Nkemdiche is an absolute freak. No question about it. IMO though Chris Jones may have a higher ceiling. #MSU.Some here would agree.— Andrew Bone (@AndrewJBone) January 1, 2013
Mississippi State may have landed its most impressive player in years.
Artie Burns, CB, Miami
There isn't one player that has turned more heads during practice than Miami commit Artie Burns.
The 4-star cornerback has shown that he has the potential to be a lockdown corner, as he has shut down everybody the coaches have matched him up against. He has knocked receivers off their routes, batted passes down and has even come up with a handful of interceptions.
He uses his hands well and could end up playing either the safety or cornerback position when he steps on campus.