Today, the West team took the field at Saint Pete High School at 4pm. The team is headlined by Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek and Missouri defensive end Marcell Frazier, plus other good NFL prospects.
Since it was the first practice for the West team, they went through the generic plays and situations. Also, they showed a glimpse on what they will run in this Saturday’s Shrine Game.
Now, the practice had some standouts with the defense manhandling the offense all day long, Nic Shimonek threw the best ball out of the quarterback group, Justin Jackson showing he can play at the next level, Secondary recording tons of interceptions, and some nice catches from the receivers.
Individual performances that I praise on the defensive side includes Marcell Frazier, Heath Harding, and Leon Jacobs, plus on the offensive side, Devonte Boyd, Nic Shimonek, and Justin Jackson shined.
First off, Marcell Frazier was a force coming off the edge displaying power, speed, and fear. He was swarming the ball carrier today. You can hear his hands smack the pop up dummy from across the other end of the track that surrounds the football field. His stock is rising and he will follow previous Missouri pass rushers in the draft, as he could become a late first-round pick or early day two pick.
In addition, Heath Harding was part of the rowdy secondary making plays and disrupting the potential connection the quarterbacks are trying to make with the receivers before Saturday’s game. Harding was showing off his physicality and the ability to press bigger receivers.
Furthermore, Leon Jacobs showed today that he can cover faster running backs flying out of the backfield. Like today, when Colorado’s running back Phillip Lindsay ran a wheel route and Leon Jacobs stuck to him like glue and broke up a nice a pass. Also, Jacobs was staying in his wholes and wrapping up everyone heading his way with the ball. Leon Jacobs and Tegray Scales will be flying around the gridiron on Saturday.
Next, Devonte Boyd was a receiver that I honestly did not have my eyes on, but today I was hooked. This kid caught most of the balls thrown in his direction, but his crisp route running skills were displayed and I was impressed. Those routes were so crisp, he had defender’s ankles being broke all over the field. Also, he has good speed and cuts nicely.
However, Justin Jackson showed NFL scouts today that he can play in the NFL. The Northwestern running back has a nice burst of speed and agility in the open field to shift in any direction to make defenders slip out of their cleats. His receiving ability was put on notice today.
Finally, Nic Shimonek practiced well and read through his reads well and made some nice deep passes, but his short to medium throws were quick and on point. The Texas Tech signal caller displayed some quick release times by throwing just over one second on a short pass to both his left and right sides (back-to-back plays), but the impressive one was a two second (2.10) medium yardage pass over the middle of the field after reading his reads. The last throw I clocked him at was at a flat three seconds on a classic three second drop-back throw that went for at least 40 yards. Nic could be one of the quarterbacks entering the draft that rises into a day two pick or real early day three selection.
Overall, the West team looks good enough to where they can extend their Shrine Game winning streak to three in a row, as they have outscored the East team 39-12 in the previous two games.