It looks like there will be six future Texas Longhorns in the AA Bowl this Saturday (all on the West team), which will be broadcast on NBC starting at noon CT. Guys like Adrian Peterson, Vince Young, Chris Wells, and many others have shown their future potential as superstars to a national audience and a fan base that is often getting to see their soon-to-be studs for the first time in an actual game setting. The game is just plain fun with the numerous commitments made by the players throughout the game, a friendly, yet still competitive vibe, and a definite ambiance of potential and sheer talent.
UT player breakdown after the jump.Malcolm Brown, RB, starter: Many recruiting gurus' choice as the top overall running back in the 2011 recruiting class, Brown is already being heralded as the savior of what can only be described as a suspect Texas running game over the past few seasons. He's a more natural talent, but I saw a lot of Brown when I watched Boise State tailback Doug Martin tearing up defenses all season long under new Texas OC Bryan Harsin. This isn't the kind of game for a grinder like Mal to show off his best traits, as rushing yards are hard to come by due to the lack of cohesion in OL blocking, the offenses frequently operate from the shotgun, and big passing plays are the name of the game. That said, if he can have a solid, yet unspectacular outing to the tune of something like 12 carries for 55-60 yards with a TD I'd be impressed.
Jaxon Shipley, WR, starter: After tearing up lower level competition at Brownwood and various camps around the country alike, Ship the Younger finally gets a chance to go live fire against the best of the best in the country. I'm going to go ahead and proclaim him as offensive player of the game because this is just a perfect setting for him. He's light years ahead of most of the DBs that are going to be attempting to hold him, technique-wise, and these high school football games are usually more about broken coverages for huge pass plays than balanced, sustained drives. Dude is just an incredible deep ball receiver.
Sedrick Flowers, G, starter, C, reserve: Flowers has gotten a decent amount of attention and praise throughout the practices this week, so it will be interesting to see how he does in the actual game setting. Offensive line is consistently the hardest position to get ready quickly for these games, ranging from obvious factors like it being the largest unit on the field and one time and thus requiring more teamwork to more subtle and subjective possibilities like some guys just not being used to having to line up against monsters like Jadeveon Clowney or Ronald Powell for 35 snaps a game. I've heard about Flowers' intensity, mean streak, and physical style of blocking and seem some film, but I'm really looking forward to see if that can/will translate to a more relaxed setting like an all-star game against more intimidating defensive players. My gut supplies a resounding "YES."
Quincy Russell, DT, reserve: This will be a great chance to see where Quincy is at physically at this stage in his career, as almost all that I've read from those in the recruiting world are adamant he will be a RS necessity. From what I've seen, I believe his DT skillset is actually underrated due to his incredible athleticism and projected space-eater size. He has a very impressive spin move for his age, especially for a guy that could easily rely on his beef and incomprehensible agility (for a guy that large) against high school competition. Of all our commits in the game, Russell is the guy that I really don't know what to expect out of. I could see the broadcast squad calling his name three or four times and I could see them not mentioning his name a single time.
Kendall Thompson, MLB, starter: I'm not going to lie, I'm an unabashed Kendall Thompson lover and I think he's likely the most underrated recruit in the entire class. I just don't get it at all—here's a guy with great size, a great frame, very good speed, incredible closing speed and suddenness, play diagnosis skills, excellent wrap-up tackling, significant coverage experience and good hands, and the almost unheard of ability to play every LB spot in the 3-4 or 4-3, as well as bring the heat as a pass rushing 4-3 end in situational downs. He's been getting rave reviews in practice and I fully expect him to come in and contribute a good amount in his freshman campaign. Just unimaginable potential.
Steve Edmond, MLB, reserve: Edmond looks very much like Thompson when you glance at their body types—they both look like they were chiseled out of adamantium to play LB for Nick Saban at Bama. Fortunately for us, they obviously, well, weren't. But while they are both extremely athletic, aggressive, and, yeah, downright violent, Edmond is likely a little more refined as a pure LB prospect and a bit less versatile of a player overall. He's definitely best coming downhill and stuffing the running game as a middle linebacker, in my opinion. He's good covering side to side as well, and can make "WOW" plays all night long in the backfield and at the LOS if you turn him lose in the run game. I haven't seen as much from him in the coverage game, but he looks fluid and certainly has the speed to be a solid cover guy. Between Thompson and Edmond, Manny Diaz is salivating.
I'm predicting a monster game from Shipley and very good games from Thompson and Edmond, with Ship getting my GHG90 MVP award. What do you think about the game and who you got as your MVP?