Commentary

What to watch for

WR Peake vs. CB Thomas highlights the matchups to watch in Army All-American Bowl

Updated: January 8, 2011, 1:28 PM ET
By Craig Haubert and Billy Tucker | ESPN Recruiting

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl should provide some good clashes and here are a few matchups in the game we feel are worthy of keeping an eye on.

East WR Charone Peake vs. West ATH DeAnthony Thomas

Thomas
Thomas
Peake
Peake
This is a battle between the nation's No. 1 wide receiver and top-ranked athlete. It features a receiver with a combination of good size, athleticism and an athlete who lacks ideal size, but possesses outstanding speed and quickness. Peake, from Dorman High School in Roebuck, S.C., has good height and the speed to stretch the field and possesses soft hands to pluck the ball out of the air. The Clemson commit offers a tough matchup and big-play ability. If he squares off against Thomas, from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, Calif., it could be real interesting. Thomas gives away a good amount of overall size to the top wideout, but he has more than enough speed and quickness to run with and close on Peake.

While the top athlete is transitioning to corner -- a position we feel will be his best fit in college -- he has the tools to excel as a corner. There are several aspects of this matchup that interest us. Can Peake use his size to out-muscle and shield the smaller Thomas from the ball, as well as use his good leaping ability to high-point and exploit the size advantage? Will Peake be able to create any separation from Thomas who has quick feet, smooth hips and outstanding quickness? Can Thomas bring down Peake if the bigger receiver catches a pass in some space? Peake has shown good short-space quickness and ability to elude after the catch for his size, but Thomas can close and if he can wrap him up and bring him down he could limit Peake's yards after catch. Lastly, will Peake rise to the occasion? The top receiver has tools you covet in a receiver, but can seem to disappear at times. Thomas may be small and raw, but could silence Peake. That being said, the top wide receiver could show Thomas that he has more work to do in his development as a corner.

East DE Aaron Lynch vs. West OT Matthew Hegarty

Hegarty
Hegarty
Lynch
Lynch
The highest-rated offensive tackle in the game is Hegarty, from Aztec High School in New Mexico, and coming out of New Mexico we are excited to see him against better competition. He displays the physical tools to be a very good college tackle, but a battle with Florida State commit Lynch, from Island Coast High School in Cape Coral, Fla., should be a good gauge of how ready the No. 4-rated tackle is for college. Lynch possesses good size for a high school defensive end and has good quickness with raw strength. Hegarty does not carry ideal bulk, but the Notre Dame commit has good agility, balance and initial quickness to deal with Lynch, if he can handle him physically.

In passing situations, Lynch can attack with speed and power and if he uses his hands as weapons he can be real dangerous. The four-star tackle, who is a little further advanced as a run blocker, may need to jump set Lynch and be sure to get his hands on him quickly to limit his options. He has long arms, quick hands and good feet, but dealing with a player like Lynch who can go through or around a blocker can be challenging. Conversely, Lynch will need to be sound in his play and be sure to have a plan because Hegarty has the tools to contain him.

West RB Aaron Green vs. East ILB Curtis Grant

Grant
Grant
Green
Green
Green, from Madison High School in San Antonio, Texas, is a five-star back with the tools to make a potential push for the top spot at the position with a strong showing at the Army All-American Bowl. The competition is tough as two very good runners are slightly ahead of him, but the Nebraska commit has the ability to be a big-play back. He has excellent burst and quickness to daylight and reaches top speed quickly. He runs very well and finds creases, but its his ability to redirect and cut on a dime that makes him tough to corral.

Grant is a linebacker from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va., with good size and excellent athleticism and can be tough against the run. Running downhill, between the tackles is not Green's strength, while Grant can be stout between the tackles, if he can play off blocks. Grant also displays enough agility and speed to defend the run off-tackle, but the vision and speed of Green allows defenders little room for error. Grant has the physical tools, but does not always seem to display a great natural feel for the position and he cannot afford any false steps or misreads because Green can exploit mistakes like that for big gains.

West OL Gregory Robinson vs. East DE Ray Drew

Drew
Drew
Robinson
Robinson
The highest-rated prospect in the game, Drew, is the nation's No. 2-ranked defensive end. He has good size, runs well and can create problems for an offense coming off the edge. We are interested to see how Drew, a highly rated prospect from Thomas County Central High School in Thomasville, Ga., fares against a more level playing field of competition. While we are interested to see the five-star defender in an all-star setting, we are also intrigued to see how Robinson, from Thibodaux (La.) High School, will do against someone like Drew. The Auburn commit sits outside the ESPNU 150, but has ability and upside. We project him at guard, but he will likely line up at tackle in this game. He is a prospect with good size and possesses a long reach and a good punch that can stun pass rushers. Robinson is a kid that will battle, and we like that. But he can be raw and even sloppy in his technique.

Drew, who flashes good initial quickness, needs to be sure he gets off the ball well consistently whether defending the run or pass. While Drew has displayed good raw strength and the ability to play with good pad level, he needs to be sure to use his hands, reach and have a plan when rushing the passer. Robinson can be feast or famine in his play, but has the mean streak and power to give the long, lean Drew issues if he can get his hands on him. Robinson will need to display that he can channel his toughness and ability into good technique, if he wants to have a chance to handle the No. 3 overall prospect. Drew needs to be able to have success against a prospect like Robinson, who can be dangerous, but has holes in his game and may not be in his ideal position to prove he belongs among the top 10 prospects in the country, while Robinson could help raise his stock if he can display consistency and contain a prospect like Drew.

Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter. Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school levels.

Billy Tucker

Scouts, Football Recruiting
• Recruiting coordinator for ESPN RecruitingNation.
• Nearly a decade of college coaching experience.
• Was recruiting coordinator at nationally-ranked Division II colleges.