UA Game: Team Ice takeaways from Day 2
By David Stone
ORLANDO, Fla. — Under Armour All-America Game practice on Sunday was much more competitive than on day one and the players turned up the intensity. There were plenty of big time performances all over the field and some players began to separate themselves from the pack. Here are the takeaways from Team Ice’s practice on Sunday.
1. DAVID STONE DOMINATES
– David Stone picked up right where he left off after a fantastic senior season. The Oklahoma commit didn’t lose a rep during the one-on-one session, showcasing his strong hands, great quickness and ability to redirect without hesitation. Stone has the tools to win with power, speed, or a combination of both. He was a constant disruptor during inside-run drills, beating offensive linemen and getting into the backfield or chasing down ball carriers on multiple occasions. It was more of the same during team drills at the end of practice. Stone ranks No. 7 overall in the Rivals250 and is the second highest ranked defensive lineman in the nation but he is making his case to move up.
2. RECEIVERS ARE GETTING OPEN, EVEN IF THE BALLS AREN’T THERE
– The receiver groups on both teams are elite and the Team Ice pass catchers have been performing well but there would be a lot more highlight catches if the passes were on target more often. Joshisa Trader and Ryan Williams were fantastic again on Sunday. Trader proved to be a difficult matchup in a one-on-one setting and showed off his sticky hands with an impressive one-handed catch. Williams may not have had as many catches as Trader but he was open more often. He’s an elite route runner who has the explosiveness to separate. Braylon Burnside impressed as well. He has strong hands and the body control to compete with the more physical defensive backs. Terry Bussey was consistent throughout the day. He has very reliable hands and is virtually unguardable if he gets a free release off the line of scrimmage. Mylan Graham, Lawayne McCoy, Jeremiah McClellan, and Jonathan Paylor all had their moments as well.
3. DEFENSIVE BACKS MAKING THEIR PRESENCE FELT
– The Team Ice defensive backs have a tall task guarding this talented group of receivers but a handful made some impressive plays. Edrees Farooq showed off the quickness, crisp footwork, and explosiveness multiple times on Sunday and it helped him get his hands on the ball a few times. Aaron Scott played physically throughout the day and it helped him break up a handful of passes. Jaylen Mbakwe looked natural as a cornerback and stayed in phase with receivers throughout the day. Asaad Brown tracked the ball well and batted a few passes away from receivers. Ify Obidegwu has tremendous length and receivers and quarterbacks had a very hard time finding open windows.
4. WILLIAMS NWANERI STILL ACCLIMATING
– The all-star environment and step up in competition can put even the best players on their heels and it seems like Williams Nwaneri could still be getting his feet under him. The uber-talented defensive end has all the tools to dominate the opposition but it hasn’t quite clicked for him yet. Nwaneri’s strength, quickness, and athleticism are obvious and he should be able to overwhelm some of the offensive tackles he’s matched up against. He had some bright spots during inside-run drills where he was able to keep the play from getting to the outside. Nwaneri was also able to make a few tackles when the play was run at him.
5. INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN RISE TO THE OCCASION
– Five-star Jordan Seaton is the headliner of the Team Ice offensive line group and he performed well but interior linemen Eugene Brooks, Elyjah Thurmon, and Daniel Akinkunmi turned heads. Brooks was surprisingly quick for a player pushing 325-pounds. He did a great job sliding laterally to keep defensive linemen in front of him. Once he got his hands on the defensive lineman, they were unable to disengage and get to their countermove. Thurmon and Akinkunmi were really physical and did a nice job of setting and resetting their hands as needed. Neither overwhelmed defensive linemen with their strength but they had solid bases and used their leverage to their advantage.
Overall, Team Ice had a strong day of practice and the standout individual performances have set the stage for an exciting game. With potential future stars shining on the field, the UA All-America Game promises to be a showcase of top-notch talent and the battles at each position are bound to be epic.