ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- An all-star setting, like the Under Armour All-America Game and practices always provide a great opportunity for players to compete against the very best and gives us, as evaluators, the perfect venue to closely exam our current rankings and grades.
Some players come in and meet expectations like DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Pointe, S.C./South Pointe), QB Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty), DT Anthony Johnson (New Orleans, La./O. Perry Walker), S Karlos Williams (Davenport, Fla./Ridge Community) and OLB Stephone Anthony (Polkton, N.C./Anson), all ranked No. 1 at their respective positions. Others take the opportunity to showcase their skills and aexceed expectations. The prospects listed below fall into this category.
WR Eli Rogers (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern)
Whether in a game, camp setting or against the best of the best in Orlando, Rogers has consistently proved that he's a big-play receiver with a ton of ability. Some of the better corners in the country had a difficult time trying to mirror the Louisville commit off the line or out of his breaks; he is that quick and explosive.
LB Vinnie Sunseri (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge)
Sunseri is not the most impressive looking prospect off the bus, but put pads on this guy and he simply produces between the white lines. The Alabama pledge has great instincts in run and pass support and a lot of intangibles you simply can't coach. He's one of those prospects who proved this week that ideal measurables aren't everything.
LB Travis Hughes (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville)
We knew the recent UNC commit was a talented downhill run stacker with his good downhill strength, body thickness and short-area power, but he proved more active outside the tackles this week than we thought. Hughes also moved well laterally sifting through the wash well at 230 pounds.
DT Gabe Wright (Columbus, Ga./Carver)
While accurate on our evaluation that Wright needed more technical polish, we may have underestimated his quickness and get-off. Wright was one of the more disruptive penetrators on the interior and really did a good job anticipating the snap and working the edge as a one-gap defender.
DE Greg Townsend Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif./Beverly Hills)
Our main question on Townsend Jr. was whether he could adjust to the increased competition this week compared to what he faced in high school. The skilled pass rusher rose to the occasion, got better every day and showed an array of moves and good hand usage during one-on-one drills. The recent USC commit has high upside with the body length and quickness you look for in an edge rusher.
RB Brandon Williams (Katy, Texas/Brookshire Royal)
The Oklahoma commit showed he is closer to reaching his potential than we originally thought with an excellent performance. He has added size and power while retaining his great top-end speed. What surprised us this week was how low he got out of his cuts for a taller back and his ability to slice through small creases. However, he still needs 10-15 pounds of additional bulk, which should come this spring while on campus in Norman.
RB Amir Carlisle (Santa Clara, Calif./The King's Academy)
Carlisle played receiver this week and it looked like it was his natural position. So much so that he'll likely move into the athlete category and see a bump into the ESPNU 150. He has great hands, quickness out of his breaks and transitions upfield without losing much. Carlisle made a statement to earn the label as one of the top multi-purpose backs in the country.
QB Max Wittek (Newport Beach, Calif./ Mater Dei)
One of the more accurate and efficient quarterbacks in Orlando all week and he followed it up with proficient performance on game night. Wittek's arm strength was as good as we thought, but his ball placement has improved and you appreciate his athleticism more in person.
OT Giorgio Newberry (Ft. Pierce, Fla./Ft. Pierce Central)
During our initial evaluation we struggled where to place the athletic big man because he projected well at both defensive end and tackle. While we liked what we saw from him as a defensive lineman and we thought he had more upside at offensive tackle, the position which he was invited him to play in the UA Game. Throughout the week of practice and game he displayed the upside we saw at tackle but during limited reps at defensive end we are not so sure he could not shine there as well. What we do know is that he has established himself as one of the best big men in the nation.
OT Bobby Hart (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas)
Despite being the youngest player here, Hart played looked like one of the best tackle prospects in the country. He has a great frame to develop, is a good competitor and was consistently one of the top pass blockers during the week. A ton of upside when you look at Hart.
WR Jarvis Landry (Convent, La./Lutcher)
LSU could be getting one of top receivers in the country with the MVP performance we saw this week. We knew he had great quickness and big-play ability after the catch, but it was the increased physicality we saw in person that really grabbed our attention and his ability to extend and pluck the ball effortlessly away from his frame.
LB Anthony Wallace (Dallas, Texas/Skyline)
Wallace went into the week as a guy we labeled as a tough inside runner stuffer who may be limited outside the tackles. He proved to be more athletic than we thought and displayed better range. He's an ideal fit on the inside, but is not as vulnerable in space or coverage as we originally thought.
Future Aggie Taylor Bertolet (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) and USC commit Andre Heidari (Bakersfield, Calif./Stockdale) looked like college kickers during the week showing tremendous leg strength and versatility in the kicking game. They also showed great poise and mental toughness that should allow them both to compete for starting jobs as freshmen.