LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Day three of the 2013 Under Armour All-America game practices are in the books. With Thursday’s practice being more of a walk through variety, Wednesday featured the last day of truly competitive, fast tempo action.
Penn State commit Christian Hackenberg has been the best quarterback through three days of practice for the Under Armour All-American Game.
With the trio of days in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best by position for the week.
Christian Hackenberg, Fork Union (Va.) Fork Union Military Academy
While the 6-foot-4.5, 210-pounder got off to a slow start to begin the week, he still showed all the physical tools before coming on and putting together a very impressive Wednesday. Hackenberg’s arm strength, quick arm and overall athleticism always seemingly stand out. Today, the Penn State commitment was quicker and more decisive in his decision making, and made a number of high level throws into tight windows.
Keith Ford, Cypress (Texas) Cypress Ranch
This position was a tough one to choose with five backs truly standing out, but the nod goes to Oklahoma commitment Keith Ford.. The 5-foot-11, 203-pounder has consistently shown his excellent feet in the hole, vision and ability to cleanly catch the football over three days. This is a position in which all backs have had their moments, and shown versatility in the passing game.
Also considered - Florida commitment Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Day), Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga.), Florida State commitment Ryan Green (St. Petersburg, Fla./Catholic) – in limited RB reps and USC commitment Ty Isaac (Joliet, Il.).
Arkansas tight end commit Hunter Henry has been the best tight end at practices for the Under Armour All-American Game. He's consistently made tough catches in traffic.
Robert Foster, Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley
Another position that was really tough to call with Foster, Baylor commitment Robbie Rhodes (Fort Worth, Texas/Southwest) and Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Il./Crete-Monee) all looking the part. The Alabama commitment is the pick here due to a combination of baseline skill set, willingness and ability to play with physicality, high point ball skills and smooth and effortless ability getting off of press coverage and after the catch.
Also considered - Rhodes, Treadwell and USC slot receiver commitment Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif.).
Hunter Henry, Little Rock (Ar.) Pulaski Academy
The tight end position is loaded, but Arkansas commitment Hunter Henry has been consistent and made tough catch after tough catch in traffic, and showing deceptive speed down the field. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is also physically ready to play for the Razorbacks from jump street.
Also considered - Ohio State commitment Marcus Baugh (Riverside, Calif./North).
Dorian Johnson, Belle Vernon (Pa.)
The tackle position has been absent of top performers this week with the exception of the Pittsburgh commit, before being slowed by an ankle injury, and the versatile Denver Kirkland (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington). His first step is as quick and explosive as they come at tackle, and his initial punch power isn’t far behind. Before the injury, the 6-foot-5, 285-pounder was having success pass setting, but has struggled to take the initial hit and maintain balance since the injury. At the same time, Johnson has played through an injury when others have not.
Also considered – Denver Kirkland (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington).
Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the nation's top prospect, has clearly been a cut above at his position during the first three days of practice for the Under Armour All-American Game.
Grant Hill, Huntsville (Al.)
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Alabama commitment didn’t jump out on day one, but his play the last two days has been attention grabbing. Physically, he is one of the few linemen at the event that can anchor against the likes of Robert Nkemdiche, Demarcus Walker and others and hold his own – even winning a few one-on-one battles against Walker and others. His ability to be a factor in the run game and pass pro has set him apart from other guards.
Also considered - Michigan commitment David Dawson (Detroit, Mi./Cass Technical).
Patrick Kugler, Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny
The Michigan commitment has manned the toughest position on the line in the all-star setting better than anyone else. Taking into consideration that it’s fast paced, with new install, very little time for connectivity among a line and in a setting that most certainly favors defensive linemen, the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder has been reactive, fundamentally sound and shown excellent lateral quickness.
Also considered – Notre Dame commitment Hunter Bivin (Owensboro, Ky./Apollo).
Robert Nkemdiche, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson
While there have been three dominant ends in the nations top ranked prospect, as well as five-star’s Chris Jones (Houston, Ms.) and Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton). Nkemdiche, however, has come in with sky high expectations and more than lived up to them dominating everyday of practice whether the 6-foot-4, 285-pounder lined up outside or inside.
Michigan defensive tackle commit Henry Poggi has been the best at his position during practices for the Under Armour All-American Game.
Also considered - Mississippi State commitment Chris Jones (Houston, Ms.) and Auburn commitment Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton).
Henry Poggi, Baltimore (Md.) Gilman
While the defensive ends have received the majority of the attention, and for good reason, a trio of defensive tackles have stood out led by Michigan commit Poggi. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder has proven to be too quick for any centers when lining up over the ball, and also shown a technically advanced use of his hands and the understanding of when to get small.
Reuben Foster, Auburn (Al.)
An easy decision here with the 6-foot-1, 237-pound hard-hitting, downhill linebacker. Foster has reacted quickly inside out, dropped fluidly in coverage and made big hits. His movements have been quick and natural, and his presence certainly known when receivers and tight ends cross the field.
The nation's top cornerback prospect, Vernon Hargreaves III, has been the top cornerback during the Under Armour All-American Game practice sessions.
Alex Anzalone, Wyomissing (Pa.)
This could be argued for the Notre Dame commitment or five-star Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington). The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Anzalone has been the most consistent linebacker all week, rarely out of position as he is on video. The combination of instincts, diagnosing and play finishing ability with fundamental tackling and plus hands have shown daily.
Also considered - Thomas and Kendell Beckwith (Jackson, La./East Feliciana).
Holland Fisher, Midlothian (Va.) Manchester
The Virginia Tech commitment is a playmaker, pure and simple. Whether it’s filling in run support or making instinctive plays in coverage, the 6-foot-1.5, 203-pounder has been all over the field making plays drawing plenty of praise from the Team Highlight coaching staff.
Also considered - Leon McQuay (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), Tony Conner (Batesville, Ms./South Panola), Vonn Bell (Rigleland, Ga./Rossville), Priest Willis (Tempe, Az./Marcos De Niza) and Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif.).
Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton
The Florida commitment has been solid all week, especially proving to be a shut down corner on Wednesday. He’s shown all week that he is not only a lock down corner that can run with any receiver, change direction and react to the ball in the air, but can also match the physicality of bigger receivers whether it be in press coverage or fighting for position when the ball is in the air.
Also considered – Miami commitment Artie Burns (Miami, Fla./Northwestern), Texas A&M commitment Noel Ellis (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) and Ohio State commitment Cameron Burroughs (Trotwood, Oh./Trotwood-Madison).
National analyst Keith Niebuhr, Josh Newberg, Chris Nee, Luke Stampini and Clint Brewster also contributed to this report.