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US Army All-American Bowl Analysis

Texas commits

Greg Timmons (WR) - Overthrown on a deep pass from Tyrik Rollison that the producers missed because they were screwing around talking about something else. Failed to make a play on an underthrown deep ball after beating his defender, having to stop on the play, but letting the ball get into his stomach instead of attacking it with his hands. Despite not being known as a burner, Timmons beat his defender badly on the play--probably by three or four steps, doing so not by a double move necessarily, but my slowing down a stride and shoulder faking the post move, which the defender bit badly on. Timmons also beat his defender on a post route, drawing a holding penalty, but the quarterback failed to deliver the ball accurately under pressure. Looks capable of running the defensive back off for stop and curl routes, attacking the ball with his hands away from his body instead of letting the ball get in on him. Projects as a possession receiver.

Chris Whaley (RB) - Doesn't run with good pad level, leaving him exposed to big hits. Does look like he runs with some power, which would be increased by running better behind his pads. On second carry the offensive line was blown up, but Whaley failed to get low and drive forward to attempt to gain yardage, instead stopping, stuttering, and eventually collapsing to the ground without even trying to generate any forward momentum. Powerful run near the end of the second quarter during which he broke four or five tackles, but it can't be overstated the poor pad level Whaley always runs with. Good effort on one downfield block trying to spring his quarterback.

Not sure about his ability to plant and accelerate, besides vision the primary requirement for the zone blocking scheme Texas runs. Strong hands to hold onto ball when stripped at by defender, looks capable of running over defenders, even at the college level. Enough speed to run away from the defense on a screen play, but it takes several strides for Whaley to reach full speed and Whaley did not have to redirect or make any players miss--it was likely about the easiest jaunt to the end zone that Whaley has had for a while.

Alex Okafor (DE) - The West team spent a lot of time twisting and stunting with their defensive line, which didn't allow for a great analysis of Okafor's rushing ability from the edge, but he does show the ability to chase plays down from the backside. Showed a nice ability to use his spin move to shed the defender when diagnosing a running play. Showed good, not great, strength with the bull rush, on one play throwing the opposing lineman to the ground, although it took so long to do so that the play was already nearly over. It's hard to stress enough just how fast Okafor looks--would have run down a rollout away from him had the running back not put a shoulder into him.

Flushed quarterback Tajh Boyd out of the pocket after absolutely blowing off the line of scrimmage. Not sure if even Brian Orakpo is as fast off the ball as Okafor. He isn't particularly thickly built, but he's far from skinny, with the frame to add weight to get up into the 250-60 range he will eventually play at for Texas. Okafor makes it extremely difficult to run anything towards his side of the field, continually flushing plays away from his side. Okafor also plays the run well, once again using his quickness, but not taking himself out of plays with it, as many fast defensive ends are prone to do (see Freeney, Dwight). This kid is big time, with the only question being his ability to fight through traffic.

Calvin Howell (DT) - Howell often plays with his pad level too high, losing leverage. On one play after running a stunt, he failed to disengage from the offensive lineman in time to pursue the quarterback rolling to his side of the field. Howell doesn't look to rush the passer with any sophistication, usually simply bullrushing, which is limited by his lack of leverage. Looks faster and a little more athletic than McFarland. Flushes quarterback from the pocket with a powerful bullrush, driving his blocker well into the backfield, then disengaging and pursuing down the line of scrimmage. With Howell in the middle and Okafor on the edge, the West team allowed little on the ground to the East team, particularly up the middle.

Marcus Davis (DB) - Recovered to break up an underthrown pass on a trick play he was beaten on. Likely had his eyes in the backfield on the play instead of defending his man, the type of play Texas defensive backs made all the time when they had to commit to any playaction in support of the running game. Didn't see much action to his side of the field, which speaks to his coverage ability. There is some question about whether Davis projects as a cornerback or safety at the next level, but looks to have the skills to play both positions, exactly the type of player Duane Akina loves. Also made two special teams tackles in the game, an area in which he could help the Longhorns next season

Tariq Allen (LB) - Didn't see much of Allen around the ball for most of the game, although the camera angle made it hard to keep track of the linebackers on most plays. Allen made his presence felt in the middle of the third quarter when he absolutely laid out a Golic in the flat. Unlike the Roy Williams-style tackle leading with the shoulder, Allen made his big hit with perfect form, wrapping up the opposing player and using his legs to drive him into the ground. Takes some poor angles to the ball, which won't fly with the skill position speed in the Big 12. How well Allen can play in space remains unknown. Doesn't seem to pursue well through traffic, although he tackled the East's big quarterback moving downhill, which seems to be his strength, as well as being a sure tackler. He's a pure middle linebacker, but may only be a situational player in the Big 12 when facing all the spread offenses.

Garrett Porter (OT) - Played behind Alabama recruit and man-child DJ Fluker, but was not beat when he came into the game, looking technically sound and keeping the deep base needed for offensive tackles. Kid looks like he can play on the outside, although he's not yet a mauler in the running game.

Non-Texas commits

Christine Michael  RB (Texas A&M) - Michael looks explosive, with the ability to change directions and the lateral quickness to take the corner on all but the fastest defenses. With his thick lower body, Michael looks to have the power to move piles and the durability to carry the ball 25 times a game. Doesn't waste any time heading north/south when necessary. In other words, no unnecessary juking in the open field to allow the pursuit to close. Extremely impressed with Michael--the Aggies got themselves a good one and should have solidified their backfield for the next few years with Michael and Cyrus Gray.

AJ McCarron QB (Alabama) - Completely unimpressed with this kid. Scouts criticize Garrett Gilbert for a perceived lack of arm strength, but the Alabama commit makes Gilbert look like Jay Cutler. McCarron underthrew the deep ball that Timmons failed to catch on a pass that looked like it was thrown by rag-armed Lil' Hawk. Threw a pick-six the play after missing Timmons on the deep ball. Needs to add some serious weight--from what I've seen though, McCarron will be extremely lucky to end up as good as John Parker Wilson, which isn't saying much.

Tyrik Rollison QB (Uncommitted) - Struggled some with his accuracy, mostly because his footwork had a tendency to break down, occasionally failing to stride at all. Threw a frozen rope on a skinny post--receiver had little separation, but Rollison put it into a small window. Poor decision close to the goalline running the speed option as Rollison failed to make the early toss. Next play, tries to throw a slant through about three defenders and was lucky it wasn't intercepted. Looks like a pocket passer with the ability to make plays with his feet when things break down.

Jamarkus McFarland DT (Oklahoma) - Good pursuit down the field on one short pass thrown to the short side of the field. With his build he looks a lot like Roy Miller. Disrupted one throw by pushing his blocker back into the quarterback. Doesn't always disengage well from blocker to stop running game. Got turned and sealed on an option play. Great motor on a pursuit play to catch a running quarterback from behind. Hack announcers call Thayer Evans' work "outstanding." McFarland reportedly isolated himself from his teammates this week, often arriving late to practice and dressing after his teammates, causing Calvin Howell to note to the coaches that the Texas players were ready and on time, unlike McFarland.

Patrick Patterson WR (Uncommitted) - Absolutely out jumps a defensive back in perfect position at the end zone to one-hand grab a ball at its highest point. Extremely impressive leaping ability and hands on the play to score the first West touchdown.