All-American Bowl: Top performers from Day 1 of West practice – 247Sports

All-American Bowl: Top performers from Day 1 of West practice – 247Sports
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SAN ANTONIO — Practices kicked off Tuesday for the All-American Bowl (Saturday, NBC, 1 p.m EST). The East team got things going inside the Alamodome, while the West practiced at nearby Trinity University.

The first day consisted of morning and afternoon practice sessions in shorts and shoulder pads with more of a heightened focus on scheme installs, before giving way to 1-on-1 reps and 11-on-11 team action during the last final minutes of afternoon practice.

Focusing on the WestTeam, 247Sports takes you inside the event highlighting today’s standouts.

ALPHA DOG: JOSH CONERLY JR., OFFENSIVE TACKLE

The nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle in the Top247 rankings shined throughout Tuesday’s morning and afternoon practice sessions. He was virtually impossible to beat outside, whether aligned at left tackle or right tackle, in 1-on-1 drills against some high-level defenders. He also showed the adaptive ability to quickly correct when aligned at right tackle — not his natural position — and defeat inside counters that previously got the better of him. Conerly measured 6-foot-5, 283 pounds with arms approaching 35 inches. His movement ability is elite for his position and combines with an excellent frame and a two-sport foundation (basketball) that bolsters his functional athleticism.

NEXT FIVE OFFENSE

BILLY SCHRAUTH, OL (Notre Dame)

Mostly manning a right guard spot, Schrauth proved the most dominant of the six West offensive linemen during 1-on-1 drills. Schrauth repeatedly showed impressive point-of-attack punch and the ability to drop anchor and stone defenders. Schrauth’s strong athletic profile, which includes ample two-way experience and impressive throws data — 49-10.25 shot put, 132-10 discus — manifested on the field Tuesday in his functional strength and body control under duress.

DEVIN BROWN, QB (Ohio State)

Brown led a strong trio of West quarterbacks that also included Clemson five-star signee Cade Klubnik and UCLA four-star signee Justyn Martin. Brown has shown throughout his senior season and into All-American Bowl week a noticeable progression in his processing speed and comfort with which he delivers the ball. He performed very well at Elite 11 Houston in March 2021, but Tuesday’s practice revealed a field-matured quarterback whose velocity led the group and paired with encouraging smoothness.

C.J. WILLIAMS, WR (uncommitted)

Williams, who announces his commitment during Saturday’s All-American Bowl, solidified himself as the most consistent pass catcher on the West squad with a particularly strong afternoon session. Playing the position comes easily to him, but he is still very hungry to improve, according to the West coaching staff. Williams is a consistent hands catcher with above average functional athleticism and looks like one of the highest-floor prospects at the event.

RAYSHON LUKE, RB (uncommitted)

“Speedy” Luke lived up to his nickname and showed his versatility as an offensive weapon with whom a coaching staff can get creative. He’s slight of build but fleet of foot, and that was clear on a big downfield pass play from Brown. He also showed his bounce-to-the-edge burst on perimeter run plays. Luke, who picks between Arizona and Louisville during Saturday’s All-American Bowl, has some Pooka Williams to him.

RALEEK BROWN, RB (USC)

Another speedster, Brown was right up there with Williams and Luke as the most dangerous players on the offensive side of the ball in Tuesday’s practices. The West squad will definitely look to get him the ball, perhaps similarly to Luke in their respective abilities to hit the long ball out of the backfield, whether via handoff or as pass catchers. Brown showed the latter on a big-play wheel route. His expanded high-volume capability that he showed during his senior season accompanies the expected versatility that Brown will provide moving forward.

NEXT FIVE DEFENSE

CHRIS McCLELLAN, DL (Florida) 

After recording the No. 1 measurements in the arm and hand categories (almost 37 inches and nearly 11 inches, respectively) during Monday’s check-in, the 6-foot-3, 307-pound McClellan backed it up on the field Tuesday. Whether in 1-on-1 reps or team sessions, McClellan consistently exploded off the ball and knifed into gaps, living in the backfield. McClellan’s long levers and play violence give him a lot of potential as he progresses to the next level.

QUENCY WIGGINS, DL (LSU)

Monday’s All-Lobby Team MVP, the 6-foot-5, 273-pound Wiggins solidified himself among the top couple of defensive performers with the type of 1-on-1 rep-winning athleticism that sent his stock soaring during last June’s SEC camp season. Wiggins’ frame is among the elite of the elite, and he’s played football for only two seasons. Once Wiggins’ play strength and field awareness match his physical tools, his ceiling is limitless.

J’MOND TAPP, Edge (Texas) 

One of the better-looking players on the hoof at Tuesday’s practice, the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Tapp flashed in morning 1-on-1 reps and again in afternoon team session as a pass rusher. Tapp is quick off the ball, especially in a two-point stance, and displays the field demeanor to accompany frame potential that should allow him to add mass and stand up more consistently to the run at the high-major level.

LANDER BARTON, LB (Utah)

In the 6-foot-3, 220-pound neighborhood, Barton was without a doubt among the most impressive eyeball testers during Tuesday’s practices. Barton has the look of an edge player with the varied on-field experience (WR, TE, LB) that projects exceptionally well to off-ball linebacker, in addition to stat-stuffing basketball production. All of that delivered terrific movement ability and functional athleticism across all scenarios in Tuesday’s sessions.

JAYLON GUILBEAU, CB (Texas)

A steady, physical presence on the outside, Guilbeau enjoyed a particularly strong morning session, followed by a solid afternoon. He got beaten deep a couple of times in afternoon 1-on-1s, but was right with his man in those instances, which is noteworthy considering the West secondary featured only three defensive backs because of health protocols. Guilbeau’s a fairly broad, stout corner who may best fit a boundary role, but his “compete” level is high regardless of alignment.

MORE NOTES

Edge DJ Wesolak (Missouri) thoroughly impressed with reps on the edge and as an off-ball linebacker. Wesolak is a pass rusher by nature, but his in-space athleticism in Tuesday’s afternoon session suggests the potential for down and distance-dependent personnel versatility. There is no question about Wesolak’s effort. He plays with his hair on fire and that will serve Mizzou well when he arrives.

Defensive lineman Caden Curry (Ohio State) flashed several times during the afternoon team session, displaying impressive get-off and downhill burst to get into the backfield repeatedly. Curry measured a bit taller than 6-foot-2 and 239 pounds at Monday’s check-in, so his long-term positional home may be in question right now from a physical standpoint. But make no mistake, he has a playmaking knack and penetrating flair that will benefit the Buckeyes.

Quarterback Cade Klubnik (Clemson) performed quite well with the usual uncanny consistency and poise he has displayed across two undefeated seasons at the Texas Class 6A level. Klubnik’s ease of motion in his mechanics accompany strong vertical arm strength and increasingly good intermediate velocity. He’s a sneaky good athlete with track experience who will be able to impact games with his legs in college.

Offensive tackle Hunter Erb (Texas A&M) enjoyed a solid, consistent effort. At 6-foot-5-plus, 325 pounds, Erb is one of the biggest players participating in All-American Bowl week. He combined that with accompanying strength that allowed him to recover from smaller defenders’ initial punch that got Erb on his heels. In those situations, Erb sat down and stood up those physically overmatched rushers.

Safety Xavier Nwankpa (Iowa) looks the part of a territory-eating off-ball linebacker, but particularly in the afternoon session, flashed back-end coverage competency in 1-on-1s. That included an impressive break on an intermediate out that he jumped for a sideline interception. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder can do a lot of things very well and will fit myriad personnel combinations as a back-seven chameleon.

Offensive lineman Carson Hinzman, who committed Tuesday afternoon to Ohio State, must be mentioned considering his overall solid performance at center, marking the first time he had snapped in his career in a competitive setting. Hinzman showed some functional strength to hold up in 1-on-1 reps. If he takes this snapping experience with him to Columbus, that adds to his roster value.

Running back Gavin Sawchuk (Oklahoma) showed an encouraging penchant to catch with his hands and not let the ball into his body. A time or two, with a rushed pass caused by pressure, that resulted in a drop, but Sawchuk kept coming back and made some nice snags, including some body control-displaying, turn-and-run opportunities.

Quarterback Justyn Martin (UCLA) owns plenty of tools — specifically, a taller-than-6-foot-5 frame with exceptional length — and flashed impressive intermediate velocity during both sessions. Getting his footwork down and matching his lower half with his upper body will really push his arm strength higher. He will need some developmental seasoning, but tools are certainly there.

Defensive lineman/edge Nic Caraway (Purdue) caught our eye a number of times Tuesday, first in 1-on-1 reps, then at times during team work. With ample experience off the ball for his high school squad, Caraway brings athleticism to the edge, along with a near-6-foot-3, 258-pound check-in Monday. Caraway owns impressive play strength that will aid his full-time move to the line of scrimmage, regardless of specific alignment.

— 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong and Brandon Huffman contributed to this report.