Observations from the first day at the East West Shrine game.

Tight Ends make an impact: East TE C.J. Conrad (Kentucky) looked quite impressive catching the football and blocking at the point of attack. He released well and most importantly got open and caught the football with the chance to turn and get yards. He is your traditional inline Y that can flex out as well. Michigan State TE Matthew Sokol also had a good day as well with some impressive catches and blocking. West TE’s Kano Dillon (Oregon) and Andrew Beck both looked smooth catching the football as well. Beck had a leaping grab in drills that showed off his athleticism. He doesn’t have Dillon’s size however. Dillon has the size and athleticism that I saw on tape. Every time I see him catch a ball it makes me wonder why wasn’t the production there? I had the chance to talk to him about it after practice.

Stretching the field: There were a few wideouts that stood out today. Terry Godwin II (Georgia) showed the explosiveness that made him an impressive prospect. He won from the slot often and on the outside in 1 on 1 drills. Jesper Horsted (Princeton) is a big wideout that also had some nice catches. He was able to separate downfield and ran smooth routes. KeeSean Johnson (CSU Fresno) was impressive as he pulled in passes during 7 on 7 and 1 on 1 drills. Shawn Poindexter (Arizona) showed more speed than I saw on film. He made several plays, but his most impressive was a 9 route in 1 on 1 drills where he beat the corner off the line and pulled away as he tracked down the deep ball. Ryan Davis (Auburn) flashed some nice moves escaping press coverage. He is a player that is trying to break the slot only label.

Getting defensive: Defensive linemen Michael Dogbe (Temple) and Kevin Wilkins (Rutgers) both had some shining moments. Both showed a quick first step that allows them to get penetration. Both had moments where they blow up plays with their speed. Derrick Baity (Kentucky) was very impressive and he showed off his speed and athleticism as he was able to use his length to blanket receivers on the outside and in the slot. Tulane DB Donnie Lewis Jr. also showed well as he lined up in the slot. He was able to match up in the slot, and be physical in run support. Blace Brown (Troy) also had some good moments in practice. He has quick feet and was able to match up with the different receivers that lined up against him.

Last but not Least: Can’t leave out the offensive line. Olisaemeka Udoh (Elon) was impressive today in drills. He had quicker feet than he showed on film. He was able to kick and gain position on pas rushers. In 1 on 1 drills he cut off rushers with his slide and used his punch to control them on the edge. He also got some work at guard. Martez Ivey (Florida) and Tyree St. Louis (Miami) both had their best reps at right tackle. Came away very impressed with Nick Linder (Indiana) as he displayed the smart and instinctive player I saw on film. He was able to work second level blocks and recognize defensive fronts.

Stay tuned for day two notes from this years East West Shrine Game.

Jeff Barnes
About Jeff Barnes 18 Articles
Born in the Bronx, NY Jeff attended Mount Saint Michael Academy. He played Defensive back and Halfback, and was a member of the Catholic High School Football League 1992 City Championship team. During his Senior Year he led CHSFL with 4 Interceptions as a cornerback. In 1994, Jeff attended Grambling State University. After leaving school in 1995, he started playing in the United Football League. He would play for 8 years earning 3 Allstar nominations in the UFL and GSFL ( Garden State Football League). After retiring, he decided that coaching was his next challenge, he would start out as a Defensive Backs coach. He was elevated to Defensive Coordinator the following season. He would later shift his focus to offense becoming an offensive coordinator, and was even named Head Coach in 2009. He would serve as a coordinator reaching 4 league championship games. The highlight was his final season as offensive coordinator winning the New England Football League AAA Championship in 2016 with the Western Connecticut Militia. He picked up a knack for developing players with little to no experience as well as former collegiate athletes. Jeff has knowledge of several offensive systems such as Air Coryell, West Coast, Spread and Wishbone. Jeff has coached both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. Jeff is also a Sports Management Worldwide Alumni having been mentored in a scouting and General Manager course by Russ Lande, Mark Dominik and John Wooten. Jeff joined the Major League Football show MLF Weekly as a studio analyst in 2017. He would leave the show in 2018 as he relocated to Florida. He has returned to coaching at the high school level.

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