• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Superlatives from the 2023 All-American Bowl


Jan 9, 2023

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Another year, another successful All-American Bowl officially in the books as there were no shortage of noteworthy performances to highlight throughout the week in San Antonio. In an event where elite level players and performances are customary, here are my superlatives for what we got to witness over the last week at the All-American Bowl.


Although we’ve become accustomed to elite defensive line play at the University of Georgia under Head Coach Kirby Smart, it doesn’t make it any less impressive how the Bulldogs continue to stockpile rare level talent at arguably the SEC’s most important position room. A two-way standout from Westside High School in Jacksonville, we had a hunch Jordan Hall would turn some heads this week in San Antonio and it’s safe to say the Georgia signee did just that. Measuring in at 6-foot-3 and 317-pounds on Monday, Hall also boasted 35 ½ inch arms at check-in, a measurement that put him comfortably among the tops of any prospect in attendance. On the field, the Florida native dominated day in, day out, as opposing offensive linemen consistently struggled with Hall’s combination of size, quickness and explosiveness at the point of attack. If at any point you’re expecting a drop off in the trenches in Athens, think again.


As typical for most postseason all-star events, there’s always going to be one or two prospects that exceed expectations with surprising on-field performances. This week that prospect was no other than Alabama Crimson Tide signee Yhonzae Pierre. Although it wasn’t our first live exposure to Pierre in the evaluation process, the Alabama native caught our attention throughout the week as he was one of the most consistent prospects in attendance. Measuring in at 6-foot-2 ½ and 223-pounds, Pierre possesses an explosive lower half and excellent athleticism as a perimeter pass rusher. Between the Alabama signee’s combination of quickness and flexibility, the Eufaula standout proved almost unblockable at times during 1-on-1’s and the 11-on-11 team periods. A dynamic pass rusher that hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential, Alabama fans should be salivating at the idea of Keon Keeley and Pierre on the field together.


You might be wondering how someone who is currently ranked the No. 43 prospect in the country isn’t already considered elite but if there was any doubt before this week in San Antonio, Justice Haynes provided plenty of context as to why he should be considered one of the best all-around prospects in the country. Measuring in at 5-foot-9 and 200-pounds in San Antonio, Haynes was undoubtedly one of the most collegiate ready prospects in attendance this week. Although he had a very productive week of practice, it was Haynes’ performance on Saturday in the Alamo Dome that should have the Crimson Tide faithful excited for the arrival of one of Georgia’s finest. Displaying a little bit of everything this week, Haynes’ combination of vision, patience, and pure feel for the game is hard to overstate. A physical runner with no shortage of tools at his disposal, Haynes is arguably the cleanest prospect in the cycle.


If there was one prospect I couldn’t personally wait to see in person this week, it was Texas Longhorns signee Jelani McDonald. A dynamic three-phase player from Connally High School in Waco, Texas, McDonald possesses an elite track and field resume in the triple and long jump in addition to averaging over 20 points per game on the hardwood as a junior. Although we knew McDonald was a special athlete coming into the week, we weren’t quite sure what to expect on the field as he continues to acclimate to a cornerback position that is somewhat new to him. Fast forward a few short days and it wasn’t long until the Longhorns newest addition had everyone’s full attention with his 6-foot-1 ¾ frame and excellent playmaking ability on full-display. A long fluid athlete with a knack for the football, McDonald impressed throughout the week with his individual play against Ohio State WR signee Carnell Tate, winning his fair share of reps against a player few others had answers for. A physical specimen, McDonald’s tools are undeniable and with a little bit of polish the Longhorns could have the makings of one of the defensive backs in the country.


A legacy at the University of Georgia, Georgia native Whit Weeks will be taking his talents to Baton Rouge to play his football for Brian Kelly and the LSU Tigers on Saturdays next year. Measuring in at 6-foot-1 ½ and 211-pounds on Monday, Week’s football pedigree and instincts stood out immediately in San Antonio. A well rounded prospect with a three-phase background, Weeks moves exceptionally well for the position but also appears to be a half step ahead of his opposition at every instance. Whether it was defending the run or pass, Week’s was rarely out of position to make a play in San Antonio. Flashing in pass coverage throughout the week, Week’s impressed in the second half of Saturday’s All-American Bowl with two consecutive tackles for loss where his read and react were on full display. Although the Georgia native will need to add some bulk once he arrives in the Bayou, don’t be surprised if you see Weeks roaming the field early in Baton Rouge for Matt House and company.


An intriguing athlete with a bubbling upside, Samuel Omosigho proved there’s a lot to be excited for his arrival in Norman. The Oklahoma signee checked-in on Monday at 6-foot ½ and 214-pounds with 34 ½ inch arms, signaling that the Texas native isn’t even remotely close to filling out his frame. A dynamic three-phase player from Crandall High School, Omosigho appeared very comfortable in pass coverage throughout the week. Whether it was matching up with tail backs one-on-one in the short to intermediate or covering wheel routes 25-yards down the field, Omosigho was up to the task. A dynamic athlete, Omosigho we’ll need a little polish under the tutelage of Brent Venables once he arrives in Norman but there’s no question about his elite level athleticism and his ability to operate in space.


This one wasn’t particularly hard to choose as Texas signee Anthony Hill maintains the status as the nation’s top linebacker for a reason. A three-down linebacker with excellent size at 6-foot-1 ½ and 225-pounds, Hill was one of the best prospects in attendance regardless of position. A three-phase player out of Denton Ryan High School in Texas, we expected Hill to be one of the most polished players in San Antonio and that he was. Although Hill possesses excellent speed and athleticism for the position, it’s his feel and instincts for the game that truly unlock his outstanding play speed. As we saw throughout the week, Hill’s playmaking ability and dependability should allow him to see the field early in Austin.


One of our favorite offensive line prospects coming into San Antonio, LSU OT signee DJ Chester impressed us with his play at the center position throughout the week. Although he spent the majority of his career at Eagles Landing High School at the tackle position, Chester’s move inside to center this week was somewhat seamless for the Baton Rouge bound Georgia native. A big body at 6-foot-4 ½ and 335-pounds, Chester’s play on the interior in San Antonio should be music to the ears of Brian Kelly as Chester will soon join forces with a young nucleus of Will Campbell, Emory Jones, Miles Frazier, and Zalance Heard in the Bayou. Although the Tigers will more than likely need to move some chess pieces around, Chester’s ability to plug and play at multiple positions should make life a little easier on offensive line coach Brad Davis.


Coming into the week as the No. 1 OL in the country according to 247Sports, Kadyn Proctor solidified his status as one of the best prospects in the nation this week. Although exposure prior to the All-American Bowl was limited, Proctor put any lingering doubts to rest with a strong outing in San Antonio. Measuring at 6-foot-5 ½ and 349-pounds with 34 ½ inch arms, the Alabama signee was sound on all fronts putting together a complete performance in both the run and pass in the 1-on-1’s and 11-on-11 team periods. A wide body athlete, Proctor is bullish at the point of attack that proved difficult to move off his spot throughout the week. Carrying his weight exceptionally well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if we see Proctor get involved early in Tuscaloosa as he’s unquestionably physically ready for the next level.


This should come as no surprise as Tate has earned the reputation of being one of the smoothest route runners in the country over the last two years at IMG Academy. This week proved to be no exception for the Illinois native as the Buckeyes signee consistently gained separation regardless of the opposition. Measuring in at 6-foot ½ and 179-pounds on Monday, Tate also checked-in with 10 ½ inch hands. Combine Tate’s silky route running ability with a wide catch radius and his extra terrestrial claws, you have a receiver that’s always open and should be next in-line to represent a proud lineage of successful receivers in Columbus.


A late riser in the Top247 and a late addition to the All-American Bowl, Oregon State signee Aidan Chiles took advantage of his opportunity in San Antonio and didn’t look back. A California native from Downey High School, Chiles had an excellent year on the gridiron completing over 74% of his passing attempts as a senior while leading his team to a 12-2 record. Checking in at 6-foot-2 ½ and 194-pounds, Chiles offers Jonathan Smith a unique skill set to work with in Corvallis as the Top247 standout flashed not only what he can do in the air this week but with his legs as well. Building on what had been a very good week of practice, Chiles impressed on Saturday by displaying a live arm and outstanding pocket savviness that helped result in an 81-yard touchdown pass to Miami RB signee Mark Fletcher. Expect Chiles to continue to move up our board as he was the best quarterback in attendance this week not named Dante Moore.


Must be nice to be Ryan Day and Brian Hartline. That’s what I kept thinking to myself as I watched Buckeyes bound Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss continue to prove themselves as the best incoming receiver tandem in the country this week in San Antonio. We touched on Tate earlier, so now it’s time to give some love to Inniss. One of the most debated prospects on our board, there’s no debating the fact that Inniss is a stone cold killer. Measuring at 5-foot-11 ¼ and 198-pounds on Monday, Innis was without a doubt one of the best pure football players in San Antonio this week. Although there’s been a lot of conversation in the rankings process surrounding the Sunday upside of Inniss, no one can dispute the fact Ohio State’s getting one of the most collegiate ready and competitive prospects in the country in the Florida native. A headache for opposing defensive backs to defend in the slot, Inniss’ ability to attack leverage, create separation and consistently make himself available make him a unique cover in the passing game.


Arriving in San Antonio from a small high school program in Oklahoma, there was a little bit of mystery surrounding Michigan State signee Bai Jobe coming into the week. Once check-in concluded on Monday and we laid eyes on the Senegal native for the first time, it’s fair to say our expectations for the Spartan bound pass rusher changed in a hurry. Measuring in at 6-foot-2 ½ and 225-pounds with 35-inch arms, Jobe’s length and athletic frame jumped out immediately upon arrival. On the field, I’m not sure there was anyone close to Jobe’s energy level other than Georgia signee Jordan Hall. A menace off the edge, Jobe supplied many of highlights with his splashy play throughout the week. A ball of energy, Michigan State fans should be excited as Jobe’s raw ability paired with his love of the game should be a useful recipe for the Spartans for years to come.


It’s hard not to love the way Keon Keeley plays football. Seeing him in person only makes you appreciate the man they call the “Viking” even more. Measuring at 6-foot-4 ¾ and 240-pounds, Keeley backed up his status as the No. 1 defensive prospect in the country by dominating this past week’s All-American Bowl in San Antonio from start to finish. Whether it was size, speed, athleticism, or pure power that overwhelmed opposing offensive linemen throughout the week, there appeared to be no answers in stopping Keeley’s pursuit of causing chaos in the opposition’s backfield. A graceful mover, Keeley possesses a rare combination of all the tools of an elite pass rusher you rarely see. Coming into the week as the No. 4 prospect in the country, it was hard to leave San Antonio without thinking we might have this guy too low.


As I touched on earlier with Alabama signee Yhonzae Pierre, every year there’s bound to be a handful of surprise performances that make you reevaluate your board. One of those surprises this year was Ohio State SAF signee Malik Hartford. A long and athletic defensive back out of the state of Ohio, Hartford impressed in multiple areas of the game, showing the range and closing speed to play the deep part of the field while appearing at home in man-to-man coverage responsibilities. Although Hartford measured in at 6-foot ½ and 166-pounds, the Lakota West standout certainly doesn’t lack contact courage as he was one of the most physically active defenders throughout the week in San Antonio. Once he arrives in Columbus expect Hartford to need a year or two to get physically up to speed to play in the Big-10 but once his time comes, the Oho native appears to have a chance to be special.


A three-sport athlete out of the state of Texas, we had a feeling Cordale Russell would provide us with something to talk about following our week in San Antonio. A physical specimen at 6-foot-1 ¾ and 202-pounds with 10-inch hands, Russell is the definition of strong and explosive. With excellent size, it’s not only Russell’s size and play strength that stand out but his speed and quickness off the ball as well. Throughout the week Russell found himself consistently gaining separation between himself and the defender by using his explosiveness and acceleration to his advantage, only to come up short a handful of times when presented with a clean opportunity to catch the football. Lacking no shortage of physical traits, Russell is exactly the type of prospect TCU should be leaning on to develop as with a little bit of polish and refinement, Russell can be one of the most physically imposing receivers in the country.


We could have gone a few different ways here but both would have brought us back to a couple of Auburn signees as CBs Tyler Scott and Kayin Lee each impressed in a big way this week in San Antonio. Checking in at 6-foot ½ and 195-pounds, the newest Auburn signee possessed one of the most collegiate ready frames of any defensive back in attendance. A former Arkansas State commit, Scott’s recruitment started to truly take shape in October as he landed offers from some of the best programs in the country and has continued to turn heads with his play following an excellent senior year. Starting from the onset of the week, Scott found himself continuously around the ball and making plays in the 1-on-1 and 11-on-11 team periods of practice. A physical press corner, Scott appears to have a skill set tailor made for the SEC.


After a good bit of deliberation between Moore and Caleb Downs, we decided on UCLA’s newest fast rising star after he gave us no choice with his performance in yesterday’s All-American Bowl. The most battle tested signal caller in the country once again showed why he’s special during Saturday’s national televised event, putting up a dazzling performance that included multiple touchdown passes and putting class in session on how to make the difficult look easy. Possessing an excellent feel for the game, everything you would expect from Moore was on display this week. Even though it’s not always sexy, the timing, accuracy and anticipation the Bruins signee plays with is impeccable.


There’s no other way to put it as it was a heck of a week for Alabama native and Clemson signee Tomarrion Parker at the All-American Bowl. In a cycle where the Tigers needed to absolutely reload on the defensive line, Parker’s emergence throughout his senior season and this week in San Antonio should be a welcoming sign for Dabo Swinney in company. Parker capped a business-like week at the All-American Bowl with an excellent performance on Saturday that included forcing a fumble on behalf of Alabama RB signee Justice Haynes, in addition to decleating Oregon State bound QB Aidan Chiles on a free path sack. The Central High School standout has been lights out the last two seasons in the state of Alabama and didn’t show any signs of regression as he continued to have his way with some of the best in the country this week in San Antonio. A powerful player with deceptive closing speed off the edge, Parker should immediately boost Clemson’s defensive line play upon his arrival on campus.

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