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January 7, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - After a week of watching practice and the game itself, Brian Perroni breaks down the top 10 players from the White team at the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando.
White Team Top 10
1) QB MATT BARKLEY
6-3/226, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Coming into the week, questions lingered about Barkley as he didn't put up the eye-popping senior stats that some of the other quarterback prospects did. However, he quickly quieted his doubters by being the most impressive signal caller on either squad, both in practice and in the game. The USC commit placed the ball in places that no other quarterback could have done. He had excellent accuracy on the deep routes as well as great velocity on the short to midrange throws.
2) DT GARY BROWN
6-3/275, Quincy (Fla.) West Gadsden
"Disruptive" is a very fitting word to describe the Florida commit's game. He was constantly in the backfield, whether it be in practice or the game. Though his squad was filled with interior offensive linemen, none of them were able to stop Brown all week during practice. The theme carried over to Sunday's contest as he ended with one sack and three quarterback hurries from his defensive tackle position.
3) RB TRENT RICHARDSON
5-11/210, Pensacola (Fla.) Escambia
Though he only carried the ball five times in the actual game, Richardson impressed throughout the entire week of practice. He received close to 75 percent of the repetitions during the week and there was a reason for it. His size makes him a great runner between the tackles, but he also surprised observers somewhat by having very soft hands as a receiver out the backfield. The Alabama commit proved once again why he is rated as the No. 2 player at his position in the entire country.
4) CB BRANDEN SMITH
5-11/171, Atlanta Booker T. Washington
Georgia fans are going to enjoy watching this lockdown cornerback for the next four years. Asked to cover every receiver ranging from the deep threat to the slot man throughout the week, Smith was able to blanket every one of them. A few players did make receptions on him in practice, but it was because Barkley would deliver a perfect strike. There were rarely any yards after the catch, however. He also led the White team in tackles during the game with seven, showing he can help with the run as well.
5) DE CRAIG ROH
6-5/230, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
After a somewhat slow start to the week, the future Michigan Wolverine really turned things up. He is the definition of a pass-rushing defensive end. He was able to use his athleticism and quickness against the much larger offensive linemen throughout the week's practices and did not give the quarterbacks much time to throw. Roh also showed a bit of surprising strength in being able to bullrush the offensive tackles at times. He had one sack and three hurries in Sunday's game.
6) OT XAVIER SU'A FILO
6-4/285, Pleasant Grove (Utah) Timpview
On a team that lacked true elite offensive linemen, Su'a Filo proved to be the exception. Likely not a left tackle in college, he manned the right side very effectively against some very good pass rushers during the week's practice. With a frame that still has room to add some very good weight, he showed excellent footwork in passing situations and was also a much better run blocker than expected. He anchored a line that did not give up a sack during the game. He could use a redshirt year to bulk up a little bit, but his future as a college tackle looks bright.
7) ATH STEPHON GILMORE
6-1/180, Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe
Gilmore was a big question mark coming into the week as he was making the transition from high school quarterback to free safety. He looked the part in practice and in the game, providing help in coverage as well as not being afraid to come up to the line of scrimmage and stop the run. His versatility allowed the White team coaches to even use him in man-to-man coverage as a cornerback at times, and he didn't seem to miss a beat. Though not as highly ranked as high school teammate, and fellow South Carolina commit, DeVonte Holloman, Gilmore could see earlier playing time of the two.
8) ATH JAMAL REID
6-1/175, Mayo (Fla.) Lafayette
Many seemed to have question marks about Reid and what position he would play at Miami. If this week is any indication, it will tough not to line him up on offense at wide receiver. Though thought of as more of a cornerback prospect coming into the game, Reid showed an ability to find the open seam in the defense and also showed excellent hands. He was the toughest player on the White squad to bring down after the catch and truly was electric at times with the ball in his hand. In the game, he had four receptions for 65 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown from Barkley.
9) LB RONNELL LEWIS
6-3/220, Dewar (Okla.) High
The Oklahoma commit was as physically impressive a prospect as any in attendance the entire week. Not many people knew what exactly to expect from the small-town star as he went against some of the top talent in the nation, but Lewis more than held his own. With only one year of 11-man football under his belt, he looked a natural in stopping the run as well as covering the flats in passing situations. A bigger outside linebacker prospect, he still showed the great speed and agility that allowed him to play safety early in his high school career.
10) CB STEVE WILLIAMS
5-10/160, Dallas Skyline
Not a big talker, Williams quietly went through the week letting his play speak for him. After struggling a bit during the first practice, the Cal commit really turned it on. During one-on-one drills, he came up with several interceptions against much larger receivers and jumped several routes for even more picks in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 situations. He did not have many balls thrown his way during Sunday's game, but he did end up with one pass breakup. Coming from a high school that is known for churning out defensive prospects, Williams could have an early impact in college as it is obvious he has been well coached.
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