Army All-American Bowl 2013: Players Who Improved Stock During Week of Practice

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2013

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The 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl is set to take place this Saturday 1 p.m. EST in San Antonio, Texas.

Set one day after its rival event, the Under Armour All-American Game, the Army game will feature a number of the country's top recruits.

What transpires on the field is always fun to watch, but the real show usually comes on the sideline, where prospect after prospect declares which school his auspicious future holds. 

Accordingly, the best scouting usually comes not during the game itself, but during the week of practice. Devoid of spectacle, the practice field provides coaches and scouts a good glimpse into where the All-Americans stand relative to their peers.

Here are three guys who have improved their stock on the practice field this week:


DT Kenny Bigelow, USC

The massive, USC-bound tackle prospect has had an interesting week, both on and off the field.

He caused a minor tiff on Tuesday when he tweeted "Been hanging with @KingHenry_2 and Tenpenny they really opening my eyes to the Tide," in reference to a couple of Alabama recruits he'd been spending time with.

But Bigelow dismissed the tweet as nothing more than a mere jest, so the Trojans have nothing to worry about. The guy's twitter handle is @4_fighton_0, for God's sake, I think that is pretty apropos for a Trojan-to-be.

On the field, Bigelow has been turning heads for all the right reasons. The 6'3'', 297-pounder has wreaked havoc during East practices all week. On Tuesday, he even had a streak of sacks on three consecutive plays.

He's looked utterly unblockable during practice and could be poised to jump right into the Trojans rotation next year.


QB Tyrone Swoopes, Texas

 Poor passing conditions and dissonance between the centers, receivers and quarterbacks has made this an up-and-down week for signal callers. No passer, not even Swoopes, has shone from start to finish.

But Swoopes stole the show at Thursday's West team practice and, for a prospect with much riding on his performance, that couldn't have come at a better time. Amid the company of top quarterback prospects from across the country, he proved that he could hold his own through the air and then some.

The 6'5'' Swoopes is listed as an "athlete," as whether he is a bonafide quarterback has been called into question on more than one occasion. Many wonder whether or not he'll witched to tight end, receiver or safety upon arriving in Austin.

A good game on Saturday will probably earn him a shot to start his career under center.


Shelton Gibson, Undecided

The undecided speedster from Cleveland Heights has looked, time and time again, like the premier slot receiver in this year's Army All-American Game.

Now he just needs to decide where he'll take his talents.

Both West Virginia and Ohio State are in his final four (along with Tennessee and Kentucky) and both would seem a logical fit for the skill set he's flashed in San Antonio. 5'11'' and lightning-quick across the field, Gibson would thrive in both of those space-oriented systems.

Gibson mentioned to that playing time is a concern for him at Ohio State, but went on to say that "Urban Meyer is one of the best coaches." He also said that West Virginia is selling him by comparing his skills to current Mountaineers star receiver Tavon Austin.

After his performance in practice this week, that doesn't seem like too farfetched.