Kent Perkins at an Army Bowl practice - Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)
Though none of the prospects in attendance at the 2013 US Army All-American Bowl turned in spectacular performances, there is plenty for Longhorn fans to feel good about.
Lake Highlands offensive tackle Kent Perkins -- Hookem.com analyst Jeff Howe raved all Monday about the feet of Perkins at right tackle. Athletic enough to pass set against strongside defensive ends or get out in space on screens, the 6-6, 300-pounder looks like a surefire tackle at the next level. For real this time -- Texas fans might be skeptical after so many players who were projected there ended up inside. And that is understandable. Just believe in Perkins.
Fort Worth Arlington Heights defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson -- As he has throughout the last few months, Robinson was adamant that he is committed to Texas, has a great relationship with the coaching staff, and just wants to look around. Less heartening was his statement that his mother support his decision, no matter where he goes, shooting down rumors suggesting that his mother wants to keep him in Texas.
On the field, Robinson was just as dominant at times as he was at The Opening. His strength is simply on another levels, as he may have once again been the strongest player at the event. On one rep in practice, he beat one lineman with a quick move, then sent another 320-pounder backwards with alacrity. With one hand.
During the game, he was limited by being played at defensive end, which was in some ways an admission by his coaches that despite weighing in at 300 pounds, he still has the quickness to disrupt plays from the position. And indeed he did have some moments, though he didn't flash as much as he might have been able to at defensive tackle.
He also nearly got in on the block party the West field goal-blocking unit had, coming close on the first attempt by the East, with some in attendance crediting Robinson with the block, though it did not appear that way on replay.
Whitewright quarterback Tyrone Swoopes -- Of all the Texas commits in attendance, the week was probably the most important for Swoopes. His delivery looked more crisp and elevated since his time at The Opening last summer and his performance in practice on Thursday was the best that he's looked to many of those in attendance.
The game was not exactly a highlight for him, though he had few opportunities. On the first drive, he fumbled when he tried to avoid Al-Quadin Muhammad in the backfield, but failed to protect the football and had it stripped. He also missed a wide receiver who had a step on his opponent on a pass that didn't quite have enough air under it.
Expectations have been significantly tempered since last spring as he's spent more time in the spotlight at various events and then had a disappointing senior season. It's not exactly time to start raising them sky-high again, but Swoopes did demonstrate improvement, both from the summer until the start of bowl week preparations, and then during the week of practice.
He won't be a serious part of whatever quarterback competition takes place in the spring as he benefits from enrolling early and redshirting. The big takeaway from the week is that he continued to flash enough potential to become a good college quarterback. And flashed more consistently than he has in the past at some events.
Celina lineman Jake Raulerson -- The fact that Raulerson was willing to play center despite not having snapped a football since middle school says a lot about his attitude. The same competitiveness and willingness to do whatever it takes for his team are qualities that have stood out when he steals reps from other campers or put in work on the recruiting trail to help Texas build the 2013 class.
During practice and the game, Raulerson had some issues anchoring against bigger players -- he's still only 260 lean pounds. As tough as it was competing at a position where he was at least 15 pounds lighter than every other player there, and substantially lighter, Raulerson worked hard, never complained, and was named a team captain for the West.
Dallas Jesuit wide receiver Jake Oliver -- For a player who ended up with zero catches on the day, Oliver was close to being the MVP of the Army Bowl. Doesn't make sense? Consider this -- he was a victim of some poor play by those throwing the football.
On one play, Oliver was wide open down the seam, but was overthrown by LSU commit Hayden Rettig. A bigger mistake was the one by LSU commit John Diarse late in the game. It was a reverse pass, one that Diarse had hit to Oliver in practice. On this occasion, however, Diarse did not pull the trigger when Oliver broke open and by the time he did get the pass off, the East defensive backs had closed on him and the throw was off-target.
Oliver remains what he has been for some time -- a high floor take with a questionable ceiling who is at his best when he can use his superior route-running ability, especially on double moves. He'll also block like he loves it, high point the football with his sure hands, and be a model citizen.
Bastrop cornerback Antwuan Davis -- Coming into the Army Bowl, there were questions about whether Davis could stick at cornerback or whether he would need to move to safety. Despite his 10.3 100m speed, the concern was that he is a little bit stiff in the hips.
And though Davis didn't get much playing time at corner in the game, his performance in practice was enough to boost his stock. Going against a big, strong group of West receivers, Davis was at his best when playing press coverage, using the upper-body strength that allows him to bench 350 pounds to man-handle his opponents.
When he did get beat, his recovery speed was just as elite as it appears on the track. In other words, even if he doesn't have ideal ability to flip his hips, if he is half a step or a step slow
He also made an impact on the game on special teams, blocking one field goal attempt and coming close on another that he might have blocked had Notre Dame commit Jaylon Smith not blocked it first. It was a real block party for the West and Davis was just a little late to the second iteration.
*Linebacker Deoundrei Davis missed the game due to the ACL injury he suffered during his football season.