January 2, 2007

U.S. Army AA Bowl Tuesday Hot 11: East

[rl] The daily Hot 11 from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl highlights 11 of the top performers during a specific day of practice/workouts as determined by Rivals.com. This breakdown is for the East squad after Tuesday's practice sessions.

On the second day of practice, the East defense was well ahead of the East offense, especially along the line of scrimmage. Led by defensive end Ben Martin, who continually pressured the quarterback and made plays, here's Tuesday's Hot 11 for the East team.

Army All-American Bowl Tuesday Hot 11: East

Ben Martin, DE, Cincinnati LaSalle

Martin doesn't look nearly as fearsome as some of his defensive line teammates, but he has been as impressive if not moreso. He's quick off the edge, but the thing that separates him is his ability to read the play while at full speed. Martin doesn't bite on play action or misdirection plays often and is excellent at backside containment.

Justin Trattou, DE, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep

In these kind of situations you can tell the players who have been coached with those who are just raw athletes. Trattou has been coached and he feels very comfortable in the defensive system, albeit vanilla due to rules, of his high school and all-star head coach Greg Toal. Trattou has a surprisingly quick first step, uses his hands better than anyone and has a terrific motor. He's a guy who will run down plays based on effort moreso than speed, but it works.

Aaron Hernandez, TE, Bristol (Conn.) Central

Tight ends aren't often the main target for quarterbacks in all-star games due to spread offenses and the tendency to throw the ball more downfield, but Hernandez has been the steadiest pass catcher so far this week. He catches everything with his hands out in front of his body, attacks the ball rather than allowing it to come to him and he's shifty after the catch for a 245-pounder.

Chris Rainey, RB, Lakeland (Fla.)

Rainey was able to do what he does best on Tuesday - get the ball on the outside, pick and lane and hit it at full speed. His change-of-pace speed for the East along with that of Noel Devine gives the East defensive line fits. Rainey certainly has that sixth gear needed for a player his size.

Deonte Thompson, WR, Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central

Thompson flashed his superior speed and his dazzling head fakes a few times on Tuesday as one of the highlights of a sub-par passing day. He made a nice catch across the middle on a pass from Matt Simms and went up over everyone for another catch in traffic. Thompson is the shortest of the wideouts, but he's also the fastest.

Joseph Barksdale, DT, Detroit Cass Tech

For a massive defensive tackle, Barksdale can move. He flashed his ability to crush the pocket and change direction to make plays when caught out of position. Those not sold on him as a defensive tackle at the next level, myself included, are beginning to change their minds.

Martez Wilson, DE, Chicago Simeon

If you're building a defensive end from scratch, start off with Wilson's long arms. They allow him to make tackles when you think he's out of the play and they make him a full step quicker to the quarterback on his pass rush. Wilson was very active on Tuesday playing some rush end and some linebacker.

Chris Jacobson, OG, Pittsburgh Keystone Oaks

With the offensive line depleted with the losses of Trinton Sturdivant (MCL), James Wilson (dislocated shoulder) and Anthony Davis (concussion), Jacobson stepped up his play and showed the toughness you want in a lineman. Facing a massive interior defensive line, Jacobson held his own and let out a few of his frustrations in a shoving match with Torrey Davis.

Robert Hughes, RB, Chicago Hubbard

Hughes was solid all day, showing the ability to cut back and read the running lanes properly. He has a nice burst, although he won't run away from anyone, and finishes his runs strong. He can carry a pile a few yards for tough short yardage.

Chris Donald, LB, Huntingdon (Tenn.)

Donald is one of the few players on the roster with actual experience at linebacker which makes him all the more valuable to the defense. Donald has good size, plays physical and gets off blocks well to make tackles. He's also solid in coverage with excellent quickness.

Marvin Austin, DT, Washington (D.C.) Ballou

Austin didn't make as many plays as some of his defensive line teammates, but when he amps it up he's unstoppable. The coaches got on him a few times about being consistent and after each chat Austin blew up the line of scrimmage and made a big play. He ran down Devine to the outside on one play and threw Sims to the ground on another.

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