Shrine Game: East Team’s Standouts In First Practice

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Gator’s Bryan Cox Jr preparing for the next play.

Today, the East team took the field to prepare for the big game this Saturday, plus the players on the East team had many scouts watching them, as this is their last collegiate game before heading to the National Football League.

Now, from what I seen today at the east team’s practice, the offense was heating up quickly. Every year it seems that the east team has the better offense during practices and the west always have the better defense. This east team has the best quarterback in camp in Cooper Rush. The offense has a solid tackle and guard duo in the two Michigan studs, plus a running game. Now, on defense, they have a nasty pass rusher in Bryan Cox Jr and nice secondary trio of the three Michigan products in Stribling, Thomas, and Hill.

Furthermore, from day one of their practice, four players that stood out above the rest includes Cooper Rush, Channing Stribling, Bryan Cox Jr, and I’Tavius Mathers.

To begin, Central Michigan’s prized product Cooper Rush has all the talent to be a NFL starting quarterback. Now, he had a nice first day, but he still has some work to do. He was very accurate and making smart choices. He knows to take what the defense gives him and he took advantage of that method. His intermediate level passing accuracy looked better than most days. If Cooper Rush continues his solid play, he has a chance to be a favorite to win the Offensive MVP Award in Saturday’s Shrine Game.

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Stribling in Coverage.

Next, Channing Stribling is an interesting prospect, as he was overlooked in Michigan’s defense. He stood out today and looked like a number one corner. He was a lockdown machine today. He is long and tall, which draws attention to all of these scouts in attendance. The Seattle Seahawks could take him on draft day, as they love tall and long corners.

Also, Bryan Cox Jr brought out the nastiness today like his father use to display during his time. He was bullying offensive linemen by using his speed and strong hands. He was one of the only defensive end today that put pressure and got into the backfield. His stock is rising up.

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Credit: Helen Comer/DNJ

Lastly, a sleeper in camp is a speedster from the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who is my final standout from practice number one. That player is I’Tavius Mathers and he shot out of a cannon this year in a starting role by recording 17 rushing touchdowns on 232 carries, and he tallied up 1,561 yards on the ground. This kid has big time experience, as he played at Ole Miss, but transferred to Middle Tennessee to get more playing time, which might pay off around draft day. He stood out today by braking away from defenders with his burning speed and catching the ball cleanly out of the backfield. Also, he was very shifty making defenders miss. Interestingly, he was running all over the defense on day one. He will steal carries away from De’Veon Smith early in Saturday’s game.

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