The Under Armour All-American game practices have concluded and the players will spend Wednesday in meetings as they get prepared for the game tomorrow night.
As usual, the practices gave a glimpse of how some of the USC prospects will compete against other elite recruits from around the country.
USC fans have to be pleased with what future Trojans tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick has shown so far. He has stood out among the players at his position and been a real weapon as a pass catcher in the red zone. With his 6-foot-4, 261-pound frame, he is also serving as a very effective blocker. That’s good news for a Trojans offense that is utilizing the tight end more and more.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the practices has been the performance of Isaac Seumalo. The defensive linemen are the strength of this game, and Seumalo has been one of the few offensive linemen to successfully match-up with them all week. It shouldn’t come as a shock that he has played well -- he’s the #2 rated guard for a reason -- but he hasn’t really been a high profile recruit considering he’s tucked away in Corvallis and was such an early commit to hometown Oregon State.
As Seumalo was proving himself as one of the best offensive linemen in camp, the news also came out that he was planning an official visit to USC on Jan. 13. This news came out of the blue, but it could be a very interesting situation to watch.
A big attraction for Oregon State was the fact that Seumalo’s dad is on staff and his brother is on the team. If the coaching staff is perceived to be on the hot seat -- and with only one season to play with his brother -- it could open up the possibility of Seumalo giving the Trojans some real consideration.
There was also a lot of attention paid to offensive tackle Andrus Peat. With an open spot at left tackle right now for the Trojans, there has message board speculation about the possibility of a true freshman such as Peat stepping into the role right away.
Not a lot of people knew what to expect from Peat in this setting. He came into camp with a big reputation but he hadn’t been a regular on the camp/combine tour last spring so there wasn’t a previous opportunity to judge him against the other top recruits.
The general consensus on Peat’s performance in practices was disappointing. He looked relatively slow and lost more than his share of one-on-one battles. It will be real interesting to see how he performs in a game, because that will certainly say more than his practice efforts if he is able to go out there and play well.
One player USC fans were hoping to see was Nelson Agholor, a wide receiver who still appears to have a legit shot to end up with the Trojans. Unfortunately, Agholor is suffering from an injured shoulder and was not able to take part in practices. It would have been real nice to see him in action.
Finally, the best player on the field all week may have been Davonte Neal. The talented wide receiver/cornerback will likely see time on both sides of the ball in the game and he has been terrific at both spots in the practices.
Neal would be a huge addition to the USC program with his game-breaking skills, although his probable destination would be as a corner. He would have to be considered a longshot right now for the Trojans. He already has four official visits set but USC is one of the schools in the mix for his final visit so there is still a chance the coaches will be able to get him on campus.
The Under Armour All-American game will air Thursday at 4:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.