NCAA Football

East-West Shrine Bowl: Outstanding early days, including 2 QBs, devastating D-linemen

East-West Shrine Bowl: Outstanding early days, including 2 QBs, devastating D-linemen

LAS VEGAS — The first practices between the East and West teams at the Shrine Bowl are in the books in Las Vegas. Here’s a positional breakdown of the players who stood out on day one and others I’ll be keeping an eye on as the rest of the practice week plays out in the desert.


Aidan O’Connell, Purdue

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

The top quarterbacks on their respective Shrine Bowl teams, O’Connell and Thompson-Robinson, made enough throws Saturday to keep them on teams’ radars. Thompson-Robinson made an impressive putt from the hole that showed quickness and anticipation. O’Connell worked the intermediate zone neatly during the seven-on-seven period. Both will be interesting to watch throughout the week as they develop a comfort level with their receivers and running plays.


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Running back

Daenerys Prince, Tulsa

Not only did Prince start the week strong, measuring in at 5-11 5/8 and 217 pounds, but he showed more movement and explosion Saturday than his tape in Tulsa indicated. Prince has longer legs than typical running backs, but that doesn’t seem to hinder his route running one-on-one against linebackers, and he can drop and catch the ball consistently. Prince had solid, but not mind-blowing, stats in college. It’s just a laid-back practice, but showing the burst and explosiveness to get away from defenders and the ability to take three downs made those watching the practice take note.

Mohammed IbrahimMinnesota

Ibrahim was extremely productive even while battling injuries throughout his college days in Minnesota. Ibrahim wins with his vision and feel as a runner, so it was a nice surprise to see some break through the hole. That made him jump out even without the benefit of the All-22 coaches’ practice tape.

Ibrahim also had a strong day as a receiver, where his patience carried over to his route running. He showed detail and flair in both individual and team periods.

Wide receiver

unfortunately Zai Flowers from Boston College will not practice this week during the Shrine Bowl. Otherwise, his name will be highlighted, marked with an asterisk, and underlined in this part of the article.

A. T. Perry, Wake Forest

Perry added to the score at Wake Forest and had a productive first day in Las Vegas. The Demon Deacons’ streamlined offense made periods of Perry’s route one to watch. He has shown a good amount of polish with his route depth and ability to drop on broken routes, which will only help his stock. Perry’s high speed will continue to be in doubt until the combine or his pro day. His ball skills, length and ability to beat the press were on display Saturday. During the day, he was the go-to guy for the defenders.

Jalen Cropper, Fresno State

Cropper lined up outside and in the slot Saturday and showed smooth route running and strong hands in command periods. Seeing him win on the outside, especially against the press, was a huge field to test. Continuing to do so through the rest of the week, Cropper becomes an intriguing name to keep an eye on in the mid-rounds. Polski is the name of Cropper’s game, so if he shows some twitch and power right away, scouts will keep his name in the circle for the rest of the week and beyond.

Tight ends / fullbacks

Jack Cowner, State of Oregon

Collett’s TE teammate Luke Musgrave is starting to attract a lot of buzz as draft season heats up. Coletta, a fullback who also played linebacker at Oregon State, is the 2022 recipient of the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. Colleta showed versatility on Saturday, which is essentially a prerequisite for the full-back position in today’s NFL. Coletta lined up in the backfield and worked in an F formation as a tight end in two tight ends. He’s shown an amazingly polished route tree, solid hands and athleticism that allow him to line up all over the formation, not just in the backfield like we’ve come to expect from most fullbacks.

Offensive line

Ricky StrombergArkansas

Stromberg is off to a great week with his measurements, tipping the scales at 315 pounds and also measuring 33 1/8-inch arms. Both are incredibly important to fill the top position in today’s NFL as teams begin to build out their interior defensive linemen again.

Stromberg stands out for more than just size and length. He was strong in team periods, punching holes up the middle on the run and providing open lanes for the West’s running backs to attack. Stromberg’s footwork will be something to keep an eye on in pass protection, but his length and strength should have him off to a strong start to Shrine Bowl week.

Kadim Telforth, UAB

Telfort is hard to miss. He’s a legit 6’7 with jaw-dropping 35 7/8-inch arms. Its length is, of course, very striking. But Telforth flashed with his athleticism and ability to recover during one-on-one drills against defenders. He has elite size, but is still lacking with arm use and technique. If he can show workable footwork and balance during practice this week, teams will take note.

Defensive line

Brenton CoxFlorida

Talent has never been an issue for Cox, and it was on full display Saturday. He was more than a few times for the attack of the West to block. Sometimes he instantly won plays and in the backfield before the quarterback could even hand the ball off to the running back or complete his breakaway. If Cox can show he can play in defensive structures and not come off plays this week, he has more than enough athleticism and length to keep teams intrigued.

PJ Mustifer, Pension state

Nothing like a beef in the middle of the defensive line to ignite you — Mustifer struggled to move the run all day. He even showed solid handwork and instantly won to get behind and disrupt the game during the West team’s practice.

Mustipher will never be a true passing threat. But continuing to connect will only help him become a useful player at the next level.


Drake Thomas, North Carolina State

The measurements of Thomas (5-11, 228 pounds, 29 1/8-inch hands) — an instinctive tackle machine in college — will cause a lot of hesitation when evaluating his game. Seeing how he holds up in coverage this week and if he can keep some of the longer offensive linemen off him on the run will help his stock significantly.

LSU’s Mechi Garner (Jerome Miron/USA Today)

Defensive back

Mehi Garner, LDU

Garner won the battle of measurements in Shrine week at 6-1 1/2, 220 pounds with 32 1/2-inch arms. Garner looked more like a safety or undersized linebacker than an outside cornerback. Garner is a physical player and more than held his own during one-on-one route periods. After showing some real coverage ability this week, his size and length make him an intriguing name to keep an eye on during the draft. Would like to see how he handles playing in the slot this week during practice.

D’Sean JamisonTexas

Jamison is an undersized cornerback (5-9, 186 pounds), but his competitive style of play showed immediately. Jamison had one of, if not the best day for any East cornerback during individual periods against wide receivers. Playing with smart physicality, Jamison created problems for receivers of all shapes and sizes. ​​​​​​Though he lacks size, Jamison has decent length (a 31 1/4-inch arm) and showed hand-eye coordination on the ball throughout the day, tackling and knocking down throws.

I’m excited to see Jamison compete by the end of the week and hope to see how he works on the inside and if his competitive style of play can hold up in the more physical aspects of the game.

(Top photo of Dorian Thompson-Robinson: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

#EastWest #Shrine #Bowl #Outstanding #early #days #including #QBs #devastating #Dlinemen

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