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January 4, 2009

Under Armour Analysis: Stars of the game

MORE: Under Armour AA Game gallery | Army All-American Bowl coverage | More all-star coverage

ORLANDO, Fla. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg breaks down some of the top performers from the 2009 Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando.

Under Armour All-American Game Standouts
QB Matt Barkley, 6-3/226, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
ASSETS: Good fundamentals with a strong and accurate arm.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Has a tendency to press and throw into coverage.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Barkley made some money throws, starting with his first pass of the game, hitting Marlon Brown on perfectly-thrown slant route for a 71-yard score. He showed touch with a 35-yard scoring strike to Jamal Reid. But his best pass of the first half was an out route to Brown. He trusted his receiver and threw to a spot. Another impressive pass was when he looked off the safeties left and threw down the seam on the other side of the field.
CONCLUSION: Barkley showed tonight why he's the top-rated passer in the country . He threw the ball very well, looking off safeties and making good reads and decisions. Barkley was named MVP.
DT Gary Brown, 6-3/275, Quincy (Fla.) West Gadsden
ASSETS: He has great quickness off the ball and shows the ability to play in the opponent's backfield.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Brown will need to gain some size and strength for the SEC battles.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Brown was an active presence in the middle for the White. He played hard and well for four quarters.
CONCLUSION: He's one player that impressed all week. Brown's a penetrator that disrupts. Brown's got a quick first step, plays low and has good speed for a big man.
WR Marlon Brown, 6-5/205, Memphis (Tenn.) Harding Academy
ASSETS: Has great size, good speed and does things with the football that 6-foot-5 receivers shouldn't be able to do.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Brown needs to get more consistency with his hands and continue to improve his route running.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Brown showed great speed to outrun safety Darren Myles to the end zone on their first play from scrimmage that resulted in a 71-yard score. He also had a nice reception on a long out route thrown by Barkley.
CONCLUSION: This kid has so much upside with his combination of size, speed and athleticism that once he puts it all together, watch out.
DE Justin Chaisson, 6-4/252, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
ASSETS: Plays with high energy and a great motor. Has good size and can really get after the quarterback.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Plays a tad high and needs to play with better technique.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Chaisson had a big first half that included two sacks.
CONCLUSION: Chaisson had a big first half that included two sacks.

LB Ronnell Lewis, 6-3/220, Dewar (Okla.) High
ASSETS: Lewis has very good size, speed and athleticism.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Lewis just needs to get better acclimated to the game, after playing eight-man football for most of his high school career.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: In a game that featured many big-time linebacker prospects Lewis showed the nation why he deserved to playing alongside them. He had a 24-yard fumble return for a score, forced fumble and made several big hits for the White defense.
CONCLUSION: He is a big hitter that can play downhill and run sideline to sideline. This kid has tremendous potential and upside.
DE Craig Roh, 6-5/230, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
ASSETS: He plays with a great motor and excels as a pass-rusher.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: He will have to get bigger and stronger for Big Ten ball.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Roh showed quickness off the ball, speed off the edge and the ability to rush the passer.
CONCLUSION: Roh got better as the week of practice progressed. He had a big first half. Once he gains some size to his frame, watch out.

WR Terry Hawthorne, 6-0/178, East St. Louis (Mo.) High
ASSETS: An athletic wide receiver prospect with good hands and play-making ability.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Hawthorne needs to get bigger and improve his route running
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Hawthorne led all receivers with six receptions for 120 yards. He had a brilliant catch on the game's final play, climbing the ladder to make an acrobatic catch over cornerback Darrell Givens.
CONCLUSION: Illinois is getting themselves one heck of a receiver. Hawthorne had a big game and a solid week of practice. He's overshadowed by some of the "bigger" receiver names but he more than held his own.
LB Jelani Jenkins, 6-2/220, Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel
ASSETS: A smart and athletic linebacker prospect with good speed. He plays downhill and is very physical.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Jenkins needs to play with more discipline.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Jenkins had a huge collision with White running back Trent Richardson when trying to tackle him. He made some nice plays running sideline to sideline. Jenkins finished with five tackle.
CONCLUSION: At only 16 years of age Jenkins future is so bright. He's just an explosive linebacker prospect that can make plays all over the field.
DT Demonte McAllister, 6-3/263, Tampa (Fla.) Alonso
ASSETS: Has a nice blend of size, speed and power.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Will likely play on the inside at defensive tackle, so he will need to hit the weight room and training table hard.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: McAllister made the move to defensive end for this game and he does have a strong-side end build. He had a dominant first half, constantly in the White backfield and putting pressure on their quarterbacks.
CONCLUSION: McAllister had a great week of practice and it showed in the game. He surprised me with how well he played on a down-to-down basis, especially in the first half.

DT Jacobbi McDaniel, 6-0/267, Greenville (Fla.) Madison
ASSETS: Strong and powerful defensive tackle prospect that plays low and knows how to use leverage.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Strong and powerful defensive tackle prospect that plays low and knows how to use leverage.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: McDaniel commanded a double team but still freed himself up to penetrate and disrupt. He has tremendous strength, quickness and he can run. He uses his hands well.
CONCLUSION: McDaniel was the most impressive defensive lineman on either side all week. He is physically ready to make an impact at Florida State next season.
ATH Greg Reid, 5-9/175 Valdosta, (Ga.) Lowndes County
ASSETS: Has all the skills you look for in a corner and is a threat with the ball in his hands.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Has all the skills you look for in a corner and is a threat with the ball in his hands.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Reid showcased his skills against the bigger receivers of the White team. Reid had two interceptions, blanket coverage all night long and one big kick return.
CONCLUSION: Reid was one of the most impressive players all week and had a great game defensively for Black. He showed he could man up against much bigger receivers and more than held his own. This kid is a stud. He was voted the MVP for Black.
QB Russell Shepard, 6-1/179, Houston Cypress Ridge
ASSETS: Speed, speed and more speed. This kid is so electric with the ball in his hands.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: If Shepard wants to play quarterback at LSU he has to become a better passer and improve his arm strength.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN THE GAME: Shepard threw a couple of nice passes but he dazzled with his feet. He showcased his speed and quickness with some nice runs.
CONCLUSION: This kid has an incredible first step, superior quickness and speed. In the open field he is deadly. While he needs to improve his passing skills, he did make a couple of nice throws in the game. LSU is getting one heck of an athlete.



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