January 3, 2008

Offense-Defense: West Hot 11

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - On day three, the West squad in the Offense-Defense game found two outstanding linebackers in Will Compton and DeWitt Stuckey, but they won't have to play perfect in the Offense-Defense All-Star game with offensive playmakers like Jeff Fuller

In alphabetical order.

Offense-Defense All-Star Game: West Hot 11

Matt Branch, TE, Monroe (La.) Sterlington

For much of the week, Branch found himself having a good, but not great camp. He had moments where he looked as though he was one of more dominant players on the field, while other times he disappeared into the crowd. In the week's last true practice, the four-star prospect stepped it up and dominated the linebackers in the passing game. He showed soft hands and an ability to gain key yards after the catch.

Will Compton, ATH, Bonne Terre (Mo.) North County

It wasn't until the last practice of the week that the West linebackers really began to assert themselves and Compton was one that stood out. His day started out as pretty average, but as the team broke into situational drills Compton began to shine. He has a great nose for the ball, as he intercepted a slant pass across the middle and was in on nearly every stop against the run. His quick feet and ability to make accurate reads may have earned him a starting job on Friday.

David Decastro, C, Bellevue (Wash.) Bellevue

At 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, Decastro has been a force on the offensive line all week. He has dominated practically every defender they have placed in front of him. His strength and ability to drive his opponent away from the play or into the ground is second to none on the West squad. He is a true leader on the line and has separated himself from the rest of the pack.

Steven Figueroa, TE, Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista

Like Branch, Figueroa has stepped up his game the last two days and on Thursday he dominated in the red zone. He hauled in two extremely tough passes in the end zone, beating the linebacker out of the gates each time. His strength and deceptive speed allows him to separate himself from his defender at will. He has simply been too much for the linebackers to handle.

Jeff Fuller, WR, McKinney (Texas) Boyd

Fuller had his best performances early in the week, and although the West's defensive backs have been able to make some adjustments to slow him down in practice, the four-star receiver has continued to find ways to pull in the pass. One thing that separates him from the rest of the receivers is he never quits on a ball, and as a result, he has been able to pull in several tipped passes.

Aaron Hester, CB, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez

Though Hester stands an even 6-feet tall, the senior is extremely long. Match that with his speed and understanding of the game and he is a force in the defensive backfield. He has been blanketing every receiver he has been matched up with and on numerous occasions his long arms have allowed him to break up more than his share of passes.

Datone Jones, DE, Compton (Calif.) Compton

After a slower day on Wednesday, Jones picked up the pace again on Thursday as he found himself in the backfield pressuring the quarterback more than once. When he was slowed, the West offensive line brought double teams at him, however, Jones often still found his way into the offensive backfield. He is a true pass rusher and will likely give the East some fits on Friday night.

Matt Scott, QB, Corona (Calif.) Centennial

At the beginning of the week Scott looked as though he wouldn't see the field too much on Friday, but since then he has established himself as the West's top quarterback. He still struggles with the center exchange at times, but he is throwing a much better ball and has become fairly consistent with his accuracy. He has also shown an ability to run the ball well out of the shotgun.

Quinn Sharp, K, Mansfield (Texas) Mansfield Summit

It's not often a kicker can break into a Hot 11 list, but on Thursday, Sharp earned a mention in today's version. Though it appeared absolutely ludicrous to even be attempting a 67-yard field goal into a strong northwest wind, the West coaches lined Sharp up and said go to it. He didn't connect, but despite the wind he had the distance for a 57 yarder. Had the wind not pulled the ball left, the accuracy was there as well. Later in the day he earned his right to make the list by connecting on a 40-yard attempt and several 30-39 yard attempts.

DeWitt Stuckey, LB, Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln

Much like Compton, Stuckey was flying under the radar for much of the week, but began asserting himself on Thursday. He struggled at times in pass coverage, but more than made up for it against the run and the short underneath pass patterns. He is strong for his size, and shows a good burst to the ball. He is also a very disciplined player as he sticks with his assignment and doesn't let them out of his sight.

Derek Tuimauga, OT, Sierra Vista (Ariz.) Buena

Although Tuimauga had to match up with Datone Jones from time-to-time, he was one of the few to at least slow him down. But, it wasn't his play against Jones that caught everyone's attention, it was how he stood up ends Chase Clement and Everrette Thompson at will. He spent most of the day at left tackle and proved to the coaches that could protect the QB's blind side.

O-D Pics: East | West | More All-Star Games Coverage | Army All-American Bowl Coverage


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