Commentary

Hard to ignore the big DEs

Powell, Odighizuwa and Wilson are ready to dominate Saturday's Army Game

Originally Published: January 7, 2010
By Gerry Hamilton | Scouts Inc.

SAN ANTONIO -- Often times, all-star games are dominated by the defensive line and skill players considering it's a short week of practice combined with very little time for an offensive line to gel. Expect more of the same on Saturday when the 10th annual U.S. Army All-American Game is played.

[+] EnlargeRonald Powell
Tim Casey/GatorCountry.comFive-star DE Ronald Powell is deciding between Florida and Southern California.
If you are looking for a pick to click, the West defensive ends are a good place to start, even with ESPN.com's top-ranked prospect, DE Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, Texas/West) sitting out this week with an ankle injury.

Leading the trio of difference makers is Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde). The No. 3 prospect in the ESPNU 150 is proving to be tough to block on the edge and has been living in the backfield. The 6-foot-4, 224-pounder is a special prospect with the ability to shoot the hands, stand up offensive tackles, stay square and squeeze down or pursue the football to the perimeter.

Receiving the most reps opposite Powell has been Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Portland, Ore./David Douglas). The four-star prospect has continued to show the quick get off and great motor that has made him one of the more sought prospects in the 2010 class.

"My thought on this week is it has been great," Odighizuwa said. "Everything has been great. I have enjoyed practicing with the guys, meeting all the guys from around the country and competing with top recruits. I feel good about us (ends) as a group and how I stack up. I've held my own this whole week. We have a great defense."

Not to be forgotten, Texas commit Reggie Wilson (Haltom, Texas/Haltom) rounds out the trio of pass rushing specialists. Wilson has shown exceptional foot quickness with the ability and understanding of how to use his long arms to get into the chest of the offensive tackles and throw away would be blockers.

Future Trojans on a different level

[+] EnlargeKyle Prater
Tim Casey/GatorCountry.comFour-star WR Kyle Prater's ability to make tough catches look routine is one reason USC's future at wide receiver is in good hands.
The future of the USC receiver corps is in good hands. Two of the top players this week have been West WR Robert Woods (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Sierra) and East WR Kyle Prater (Hillside, Ill./Proviso West), both USC commits.

Woods, the No. 23 prospect in the ESPNU 150, has that special gear that every college coach desires. Tall and sleek at 6-1, 180 pounds, the four-star prospect has show the ability to easily beat press coverage, burst into a route and quickly separate out of his cuts. After the catch, he quickly turns up the field with explosive movement and reaction.

Prater, No. 43 in the ESPNU 150, doesn't possess the suddenness and explosive ability of Woods, but the 6-5, 200-pounder uses his flexibility, elite body control and length to snatch the ball out of the air and make tough catches look routine. He has shown the ability get a clean release and use his long stride to create instant separation.

East stacked at receiver
Prater isn't the lone receiving threat on the East roster. In fact, he is just one of several talented playmakers.

Tennessee commit Markeith Ambles (McDonough, Ga./Henry County) as shown a fluidity and change of direction not normally seen in tall receivers. The four-star prospect is often times running free behind coverage after a silky smooth move that turns around would-be defensive backs.

Future Clemson receiver Martavis Bryant (Anderson, S.C./T.L. Hanna) has also had his moments. Bryant has flashed the deep speed that makes him a serious vertical threat. The 6-3, 185-pounder has shown the ability to find an extra gear when the ball is in the air and locate.

Christian Green (Tampa, Fla./Catholic) is the newbie to the position, having played quarterback his last three years in high school, but he has shown the most explosive quickness and burst after the catch. The cousin of former Florida State receiver E.G. Green beats press coverage with a combination of strength, physicality and short space burst.

Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at espngerry@yahoo.com.

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