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vtech9
01-27-2007, 11:35 PM
Next Friday a new All-Star game will be played. Texas VS The Nation (http://texasvsthenation.cstv.com/).

Texas VS The Nation (http://texasvsthenation.cstv.com/) is an All-Star game that pits college players from Texas against players from colleges around the nation. This game will give people a chance to see some of the smaller school players like QB Jeff Smith from Georgetown College (my pick for the Texans in the 7th round) and a trio of the leading rushers from the Division I-AA level, Justise Hairston of Central Connecticut State, Marcus Mason of Youngstown State and Clifton Dawson from Harvard. Also in the game will be former Texas running back/wide receiver Ramonce Taylor, along with over 20 prospects who have been invited to next month's NFL Combine.

Unfortunately, the game is going to be televised on CSTV. CSTV it isn't part of my programming package, so I will be unable to watch it.

threetoedpete
01-27-2007, 11:43 PM
Very nice heads up V-tech. Unfortunately I just droped the fox sports package. So I'm in the same boat as you. Maybe we could have a draft nick party at a sports bar or something. See if the bar acroos from Minute maid will set us up with a space to watch the game or something ? Rep your way good job.

vtech9
01-27-2007, 11:52 PM
Very nice heads up V-tech. Unfortunately I just droped the fox sports package. So I'm in the same boat as you. Maybe we could have a draft nick party at a sports bar or something. See if the bar acroos from Minute maid will set us up with a space to watch the game or something ? Rep your way good job.

Thanks...I'm in Tulsa, so it would be kind of hard for me to make it to a sports bar in Houston. I might have to check with the sports bars here to see if they will have it. The last time I was in Houston for anything longer than just a visit was while the Astros were still playing in the dome and Minute Maid Park (I think it was called Enron back then) was still under construction.

CoastalTexan
01-28-2007, 12:04 AM
Watch out for RB D.D. Terry, he's a pretty good player from SHSU. The game I saw him in he was very patient in picking his holes.

beerlover
01-28-2007, 12:06 AM
Texas vs. the Nation- that says it all, hook em Texans :fans:

threetoedpete
01-28-2007, 11:28 AM
Watch out for RB D.D. Terry, he's a pretty good player from SHSU. The game I saw him in he was very patient in picking his holes.

I watched him one game. Moses Malones' son is a wide out for that team. I got some notes on the game laying around some where. Isn't he like 187 though ? And kinda short. Have to look it up.

Panther5407
01-28-2007, 02:25 PM
Thats a interesting game, shows everyone who the best state is then lol I wish the Texans would look at Chad Schroder (sp?) from A&M. He has very reliable hands and is fast. He'd be a good return man if Mathis can't get it together. I could see him being a Bradon Stokley sort of player.

rmartin65
01-28-2007, 02:49 PM
If those of you who can watch would please look at Gary Russell, RB. I think he is playing for The Nation. I am curious about how he looks after a year off of football.

CoastalTexan
01-28-2007, 03:53 PM
I watched him one game. Moses Malones' son is a wide out for that team. I got some notes on the game laying around some where. Isn't he like 187 though ? And kinda short. Have to look it up.

I think he's kinda tall, 6,1 or 2. Kinda skinny, if i remember hes below 200. I read he only played RB one year in college, so he doesn't have many miles on his legs. In our game against Sam he was a good receiver and their star player. He would not really dance around and would always get positive yardage. He runs at least a 4.5 too as he burned a lot of DB's.

Silver Oak
01-28-2007, 04:59 PM
thanks for the heads up. I have my Tivo set to record since it is on my wedding anniversary. :party:

Texan_Aggie222
01-28-2007, 09:32 PM
One Question. What time?

baba ganoush
01-28-2007, 10:24 PM
Texas vs. the Nation- that says it all, hook em Texans :fans:

must be a longhorn fan, so thats your problem...gig em' baby!!!

Silver Oak
01-28-2007, 10:25 PM
I think when I found it on Tivo, it said 8:00 CST. Double check to make sure though.

TheOgre
01-28-2007, 10:36 PM
I like our talent more than any individual state on a year-to-year basis, but this is a recipe for us to get our ***** handed to us.

Silver Oak
01-29-2007, 08:17 AM
Texas Vs. The Nation Preview
By: Sigmund Bloom, guest analyst/scout from www.footballguys.com and co-host of “The Audible”, a top 100 pro sports podcast on iTunes

As I was driving down I-10 today, I reflected on some of the second chances I have gotten over the course of my life. I also remembered the people along the way that gave me every chance to prove myself even though I did not have the pedigree of the type of person that normally gets that opportunity. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those breaks. This is what the Texas vs. the Nation game is all about – giving players that are overlooked or shunned by the powers that be in the draft process a chance to prove themselves to NFL scouts.

Most of these guys will not get drafted and will have to fight their way onto a roster. Still, don’t think there isn’t talent here. More than twenty of the guys I will watch this week have combine invites. Many were highly recruited and transferred from larger programs because their path was blocked, or were dismissed from their team. Others dominated, just not at the 1-A level.

This game is also important because the 3rd tier of all star games is ever shrinking. Rumor has it that we witnessed the last Hula Bowl. The Intajuice North South All-Star Classic put few people in the stands. The Las Vegas All-American Classic was cancelled due to financial problems and will likely not be back. As the number of success stories about players coming out of obscurity grows, the number of opportunities they get is dwindling. These 3rd tier games pump lifeblood into the “Rocky” stories that remind us that will and determination can overcome long odds.

Here are just a few of the more interesting players on each squad that I will be highlighting in my practice coverage:

Texas

Josh Swogger, QB, Montana – Swogger lost out to Alex Brink at Washington State and transferred to Montana for the 2006 season. Former Wazzu coach Mike Price used one of “exceptions” to put Swogger on the Texas team even though he’s not from Texas. He’s a big QB listed anywhere from 6’3” 225 to 6’5” 254. Swogger has been invited to the combine

Ramonce Taylor, RB, Texas College – Taylor was Texas’s own version of Reggie Bush when they beat Bush’s team for the national championship in the 2006 Rose Bowl. His college career came to a screeching halt in a bizarre incident that saw Taylor call police to report a broken window in his truck, only for them to find five pounds of marijuana.


Paul Mosley, RB, Baylor – Mosley is a 6’3” 236 lb. back with speed, but he was stuck in the spread offense this year at Baylor.

Marcus Mason, RB, Youngstown St – Mason was a 1-AA All American this year. He transferred to the school Jim Tressel used to coach from Illinois after 2004.

James Finley, WR, Oregon – Finley was a top recruit on the west coast coming out of prep school and one of Oregon’s leading receivers in 2005 and 2006. He has an NFL WR frame and a combine invite.

Allen Barbre, OT, Missouri Southern – Barbre is a versatile, athletic OT who garnered d2football.com All American honors and a combine invite.

Kurt Quarterman, OG, Louisville – Quarterman tips the scales in the mid 300’s, but he can pass block with the best of them with surprising quickness and speed. Kurt was named to the All Big East First Team and All American 3rd team.

Michael McFadden, DE/OLB, Grand Valley State – All time Division II sack leader, two time All American, and two time Gene Upshaw Award winner (given to best D2 lineman).

Walter Thomas, DT, NW Mississippi CC – This man mountain (6’5” 335) was heavily recruited but left Oklahoma State early in his college career. He can reportedly run in 4.8-4.9 range.

Quintin Echols, DT, Kansas St – Echols put on a show at the Shrine Game and will be looking to continue to improve his draft stock.

Nation

Justin Rascati, QB, James Madison – Rascati saw the writing the wall and transferred from Louisville in 2004. He has been a sensation at the 1-AA level and earned a reputation as an intense, accurate, mobile QB.

Jeff Smith, QB, Georgetown (Ky.) – Smith has ideal NFL QB size at 6’6” 240 and looked like he had the potential to be an intriguing project in the NFL during the Intajuice North-South All Star Classic

Justise Hairston, RB, Central Connecticut State – You can’t blame Hairston for transferring from Rutgers if you’ve watched Ray Rice play. Hairston led Division 1-AA in rushing this year.

Justin Vincent, RB, LSU – Turn back the clock to 2003 and you would have predicted that Vincent would be a surefire first day pick when he came out. Injuries and other quality RBs at LSU have sidetracked his career.

Gary Russell, RB, Minnesota – Russell looked just as good, if not better, than Laurence Maroney at Minnesota. School is not his forte, but you can’t say the same about his ability to tote the rock.

Brian Stokes, FB, Appalachian State – Stokes served two tours of duty in Iraq and has been decorated with a purple heart.

Maurice Price, WR, Charleston Southern – This junior led all of Division I-AA (and Division 1-A) with 103 receptions this year. He’s extremely athletic, with a reported 40 time anywhere from 4.35 to 4.4, an 11 foot broad jump, and a 40 inch vertical.

Ryan Moore, WR, Miami-Florida – Moore was an elite recruit out of high school, but his career has been stifled by off the field issues. He’s a big (6’3” 225) WR who reportedly runs around 4.5. He will be at the NFL Combine.

Marcus Thomas, DT, Florida – Widely considered an elite physical talent at defensive tackle, Thomas was kicked off the Gators this year due to a drug problem.

Taurean Charles, LB, Bethune-Cookman – Once highly recruited by Florida, Charles was dismissed from the team after an incident at a party that resulted in him being charged with a felony, which was later reduced to culpable negligence, a misdemeanor. He was also the subject of a documentary “The Year of the Bull” while in high school in the poor Liberty City section of Miami.

This game is about rising and falling draft stocks, and sleepers to listen for on the second day of the draft, but it is also about longshots and kids looking for redemption, human stories that go beyond the football field.

Tomorrow: Weigh-in results and day one of practice

For more information, go to http://texasvsthenation.cstv.com/. The game will be telecast on CSTV at 10 pm EST/7 pm PST on Friday, February 2.

rmartin65
01-29-2007, 01:55 PM
Texas Vs. The Nation Preview
By: Sigmund Bloom, guest analyst/scout from www.footballguys.com and co-host of “The Audible”, a top 100 pro sports podcast on iTunes

As I was driving down I-10 today, I reflected on some of the second chances I have gotten over the course of my life. I also remembered the people along the way that gave me every chance to prove myself even though I did not have the pedigree of the type of person that normally gets that opportunity. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those breaks. This is what the Texas vs. the Nation game is all about – giving players that are overlooked or shunned by the powers that be in the draft process a chance to prove themselves to NFL scouts.

Most of these guys will not get drafted and will have to fight their way onto a roster. Still, don’t think there isn’t talent here. More than twenty of the guys I will watch this week have combine invites. Many were highly recruited and transferred from larger programs because their path was blocked, or were dismissed from their team. Others dominated, just not at the 1-A level.

This game is also important because the 3rd tier of all star games is ever shrinking. Rumor has it that we witnessed the last Hula Bowl. The Intajuice North South All-Star Classic put few people in the stands. The Las Vegas All-American Classic was cancelled due to financial problems and will likely not be back. As the number of success stories about players coming out of obscurity grows, the number of opportunities they get is dwindling. These 3rd tier games pump lifeblood into the “Rocky” stories that remind us that will and determination can overcome long odds.

Here are just a few of the more interesting players on each squad that I will be highlighting in my practice coverage:

Texas

Josh Swogger, QB, Montana – Swogger lost out to Alex Brink at Washington State and transferred to Montana for the 2006 season. Former Wazzu coach Mike Price used one of “exceptions” to put Swogger on the Texas team even though he’s not from Texas. He’s a big QB listed anywhere from 6’3” 225 to 6’5” 254. Swogger has been invited to the combine

Ramonce Taylor, RB, Texas College – Taylor was Texas’s own version of Reggie Bush when they beat Bush’s team for the national championship in the 2006 Rose Bowl. His college career came to a screeching halt in a bizarre incident that saw Taylor call police to report a broken window in his truck, only for them to find five pounds of marijuana.


Paul Mosley, RB, Baylor – Mosley is a 6’3” 236 lb. back with speed, but he was stuck in the spread offense this year at Baylor.

Marcus Mason, RB, Youngstown St – Mason was a 1-AA All American this year. He transferred to the school Jim Tressel used to coach from Illinois after 2004.

James Finley, WR, Oregon – Finley was a top recruit on the west coast coming out of prep school and one of Oregon’s leading receivers in 2005 and 2006. He has an NFL WR frame and a combine invite.

Allen Barbre, OT, Missouri Southern – Barbre is a versatile, athletic OT who garnered d2football.com All American honors and a combine invite.

Kurt Quarterman, OG, Louisville – Quarterman tips the scales in the mid 300’s, but he can pass block with the best of them with surprising quickness and speed. Kurt was named to the All Big East First Team and All American 3rd team.

Michael McFadden, DE/OLB, Grand Valley State – All time Division II sack leader, two time All American, and two time Gene Upshaw Award winner (given to best D2 lineman).

Walter Thomas, DT, NW Mississippi CC – This man mountain (6’5” 335) was heavily recruited but left Oklahoma State early in his college career. He can reportedly run in 4.8-4.9 range.

Quintin Echols, DT, Kansas St – Echols put on a show at the Shrine Game and will be looking to continue to improve his draft stock.

Nation

Justin Rascati, QB, James Madison – Rascati saw the writing the wall and transferred from Louisville in 2004. He has been a sensation at the 1-AA level and earned a reputation as an intense, accurate, mobile QB.

Jeff Smith, QB, Georgetown (Ky.) – Smith has ideal NFL QB size at 6’6” 240 and looked like he had the potential to be an intriguing project in the NFL during the Intajuice North-South All Star Classic

Justise Hairston, RB, Central Connecticut State – You can’t blame Hairston for transferring from Rutgers if you’ve watched Ray Rice play. Hairston led Division 1-AA in rushing this year.

Justin Vincent, RB, LSU – Turn back the clock to 2003 and you would have predicted that Vincent would be a surefire first day pick when he came out. Injuries and other quality RBs at LSU have sidetracked his career.

Gary Russell, RB, Minnesota – Russell looked just as good, if not better, than Laurence Maroney at Minnesota. School is not his forte, but you can’t say the same about his ability to tote the rock.

Brian Stokes, FB, Appalachian State – Stokes served two tours of duty in Iraq and has been decorated with a purple heart.

Maurice Price, WR, Charleston Southern – This junior led all of Division I-AA (and Division 1-A) with 103 receptions this year. He’s extremely athletic, with a reported 40 time anywhere from 4.35 to 4.4, an 11 foot broad jump, and a 40 inch vertical.

Ryan Moore, WR, Miami-Florida – Moore was an elite recruit out of high school, but his career has been stifled by off the field issues. He’s a big (6’3” 225) WR who reportedly runs around 4.5. He will be at the NFL Combine.

Marcus Thomas, DT, Florida – Widely considered an elite physical talent at defensive tackle, Thomas was kicked off the Gators this year due to a drug problem.

Taurean Charles, LB, Bethune-Cookman – Once highly recruited by Florida, Charles was dismissed from the team after an incident at a party that resulted in him being charged with a felony, which was later reduced to culpable negligence, a misdemeanor. He was also the subject of a documentary “The Year of the Bull” while in high school in the poor Liberty City section of Miami.

This game is about rising and falling draft stocks, and sleepers to listen for on the second day of the draft, but it is also about longshots and kids looking for redemption, human stories that go beyond the football field.

Tomorrow: Weigh-in results and day one of practice

For more information, go to http://texasvsthenation.cstv.com/. The game will be telecast on CSTV at 10 pm EST/7 pm PST on Friday, February 2.

Nice find. I wish I could watch.

Silver Oak
01-29-2007, 05:16 PM
Anybody see or know anything about this qb Jeff Smith?

Texas_Thrill
01-29-2007, 05:27 PM
Only thing I care about are the DB's playing in the game. We clearly need an upgrade at 3 of the 4 DB spots.

What's the word on that talent?

YoungTexanFan
01-29-2007, 07:40 PM
I really like the set of "Nation" RB's. Vincent is one of my favorite RB's in the country, and Russell did play better than Maroney.

vtech9
01-30-2007, 12:46 PM
Anybody see or know anything about this qb Jeff Smith?

I watched him play in the IntaJuice All-Star game, and he looked pretty good. IMHO, he was the best QB in that game, and looked better than any of the QB's at the Senior Bowl. With his size (6'-6" 246 lbs), he doesn't have the problems seeing over the line like some of the shorter QB's do. In the game, he looked to have good pocket presence and field awareness, and also looked to have a decent arm. I would love to see the Texans take a flyer on him in the 6th or 7th round. Simply because he is from a small school, and nobody knows much about him, I don't think anyone will take him until the later rounds or as an URFA. I wish I was able to watch this game so I could see how he does, but I don't get CSTV.

beerlover
01-31-2007, 09:20 AM
haven't taken the time yet to study the rosters for Texans vs. Nation College All Star Game, but there is one offensive tackle prospect who could be of some late round interest. Allen Barbre, Missouri Southern State 6040 302 4.98 if he is as quick as they say would be a good fit for a ZBS like Texans use.

from NFL Draft Scout-

Tatum coached three players in 12 years at Northwest Missouri that were invited to the Combine and he said Barbre ranks right up there and is one of the best lineman he has ever seen. "Allen is going to go to Hawaii and have a great week of practice," Tatum said. "Scouts are going to look at him and wonder why he wasn't in the Big 12 or some other Division I conference. I think he'll be one of the most athletic lineman at the Combine and they are going to be impressed with the time that he's going to put up on the track." Barbre has been training in Texas since the season ended and has been working out with former NFL player Brian DeMarco six days a week. He's the first Lion to be invited to the Combine and hopes to be the third player to be drafted following in the footsteps of Richard Jordan and Jim Hoots.

threetoedpete
01-31-2007, 09:39 AM
Well Keep an eye out for Micheal McFaddin. What I saw was a great athlete playing in a D2 game. Last time I got this excited over a player...it was Urlacker at New Mexico.

rmartin65
02-02-2007, 02:56 PM
Since I can not watch, if anyone who is watching would keep an eye on these players, that would be greatly appreciated.

Texas Team:
Toby Korrodi, QB
Ramonce Taylor, RB
Allen Babre, OG/OL
Michael McFadden, OLB/DE
Trey Randall, LB
Walter Thomas, DT

Nation Team
Justin Rascati, QB
Gary Russell, RB
Adam Wolfe, LB/FB
Desmond Allison, TE/WR
Jason Trusnik, DE/OLB

Those in particular interest in bold.

Silver Oak
02-03-2007, 07:55 AM
I got in too late to watch much of the game, but I have it Tivo'd so I'll go back and watch it this week. One play I did FF to was a pass that Josh Swogger made in a deep route down the middle. "Really strong arm" was my first thought. Also saw Ryan Moore grab a pass for a TD at some point as well.

vtech9
02-03-2007, 09:03 AM
I got in too late to watch much of the game, but I have it Tivo'd so I'll go back and watch it this week. One play I did FF to was a pass that Josh Swogger made in a deep route down the middle. "Really strong arm" was my first thought. Also saw Ryan Moore grab a pass for a TD at some point as well.

let me know what QB Jeff Smith (Georgetown College) looked like in the game. He was supposed to play for the nation team.

ATX
02-03-2007, 09:56 AM
Ramonce Taylor, RB, Texas College – Taylor was Texas’s own version of Reggie Bush when they beat Bush’s team for the national championship in the 2006 Rose Bowl. His college career came to a screeching halt in a bizarre incident that saw Taylor call police to report a broken window in his truck, only for them to find five pounds of marijuana.

So that's how the window was broken? Somebody threw that Brick O Marijuana threw the window.

cuppacoffee
02-03-2007, 10:52 AM
I would like to see these players in the Texans training camp this year.

Ramonce Taylor, RB, Texas College – Taylor was Texas’s own version of Reggie Bush when they beat Bush’s team for the national championship in the 2006 Rose Bowl. His college career came to a screeching halt in a bizarre incident that saw Taylor call police to report a broken window in his truck, only for them to find five pounds of marijuana.

Justin Rascati, QB, James Madison – Rascati saw the writing the wall and transferred from Louisville in 2004. He has been a sensation at the 1-AA level and earned a reputation as an intense, accurate, mobile QB.

Ryan Moore, WR, Miami-Florida – Moore was an elite recruit out of high school, but his career has been stifled by off the field issues. He’s a big (6’3” 225) WR who reportedly runs around 4.5. He will be at the NFL Combine.

Hopefully Taylor and Moore have their 'off field issues' behind them.

:coffee:

Texas_Thrill
02-04-2007, 11:37 AM
So who won the game?

Silver Oak
02-04-2007, 01:15 PM
I still don't know. I'm through the 3rd quarter and it's tied at 17.

So far, names that jump to mind as having good games/plays...bear in mind I'm not as sharpeyed as some of the folks on here:

Josh Swogger QB-very good arm. apparently the scouts present during the week were very impressed with his measurements and his practices. During the game I have seen him throw one very sharp pass down the middle about 30 yards with just a flick of his wrist and well balanced. He aslo had the ball stripped later on.

Alan Barbre OT-announcers said he was not beat in practice all week, and to my eyes, that streak continued during the game. Plays hard every play IMO.

Justin Vincent RB-looked sharp on a couple of carries. No hesitation running behind his blockers and seemed to find a couple of good seams in running the ball. Seemed positive in an interview and didn't throw LSU under the bus as he could have in light of his reduced playing time.

Ramonce Taylor RB- has done nothing to this point in the game except get caught for a 20 yd loss trying to make a busted play into something. He returned kicks pretty good but nothing running the ball yet. Announcers noted that he has the tendency to not go into the line but tries to bounce it outside always. Seen smoking a doobie on the sideline (j/k).

Ryan Moore WR-caught a great ball for a TD with a defender right on him.

Cameron Siskowic LB- made a lot of plays and always seemed to be around the ball.

Larry McSwain DL-looked like a man amongst boys. Very strong and got in on a few tackles.

Hope this brief report helps a bit for those w/o CSTV. It was a pretty sloppy game w/o much pass protection at all. Lots of animosity though between the two teams. Near fights, late hits, etc.

Camera caught Buddy Ryan talking about his staff.."5 offensive coaches and we can't make a f---in first down". Thanks Buddy.

CoastalTexan
02-04-2007, 01:21 PM
How did DD Terry look?

Silver Oak
02-04-2007, 03:24 PM
One other thing....the RB from Baylor, Moseley I think. He scored twice on short goal line runs, but the guy is a load to get down. Reminds me of a smaller version of the NYG RB Jacobs.

I'll check on Terry on my second watching.

Silver Oak
02-04-2007, 07:12 PM
Found this on my pay site. http://www.footballguys.com/

Texas Vs The Nation Day Three Practice Report
By Sigmund Bloom

Day Three at the Texas Vs. The Nation game was the best practice I’ve watched in the last three weeks (sorry Shrine Game and Senior Bowl). During the Monday and Tuesday practices it seemed like this game was going to be… different. Not like the “exhibitions” in Houston and Mobile the last two weeks. Ramonce Taylor has been the lightning rod for the thing that will make this game different - a crackling, ever-growing ball of emotional energy that both teams are rallying around. All week, Ramonce has been exhorting his teammates. His mood was euphoric from the first drill on Monday.

I had the pleasure of spending time with many of the players here at the Hilton Garden Inn, and I was truly impressed with the human beings I encountered. What was especially telling was how vulnerable and sincere they all seemed. This week represents a major crossroads in all of their lives – lives that have centered around the game of football. They are all summoning up everything in their soul to rise to the next level. It is an intense HUMAN experience to be around these players during what amounts to a glimpse into their future. Some will leave brimming with confidence, and surely on the verge of a fruitful NFL career. Some will leave with the CFL and AFL in their future. Sadly, some will leave with much more uncertain fates. The hugeness of their last college football game and what it represented disarmed these young men and revealed things about them that they may not have known existed. That crackling ball of potential energy was fed by the emotional intensity of the event.

Not that they had time to ponder these things. The packed itinerary of this event was run with urgency and efficiency, a testament to the hard working people behind the scenes led by Ken Hansmire and John Murphy among others (but credit also goes to each and every staffer and volunteer, and the city of El Paso). Between practice, watching film, talking to scouts, visiting community hospitals, and signing autographs, the players had few moments to themselves.

The players were all keenly aware of the importance of their third practice. I picked up on a mix of eagerness to play in the more competitive atmosphere of the scrimmage and confidence in the ability to perform under pressure in guys like Ricky Miller (LB- Arkansas-Monticello) and Justice Hairston (RB- Central Connecticut State) when I talked to them. In some ways, they seemed like they just couldn’t wait to get out there and start REALLY hitting for the first this week. The players milled about the hotel lobby like caged lions.

The anticipation built as they warmed up on the field, clad in the pants of their home team’s uniform for the first time this week. Many current UTEP players showed up to watch their teammates and coaches. One, Ricky Van, talked to me for a while. He’s a defensive lineman eligible to be drafted this year, and said some things that made me think he had a great understanding of football, and of life. He had great things to say about the work ethic and humility of a teammate in the game, DB Bryant Tisdale, and touted Freshman DB Braxton Amy. It wasn’t too long into practice before the teams mixed, with squads opposing in two passing drills going opposite directions from the 50, and a pit in the north end zone. Texas vs. the Nation was on for this first time this week. Later, they finished up an extended 11 on 11 scrimmage that created an audible buzz from both sides – a welcome release of three days of building tension.

A breakdown of player performance:

Josh Swogger (Montana) and Justin Rascati (James Madison) continued to stand out among the QBs. Swogger always seems calm going through progressions, and patient while still playing with a sense of urgency. His arm again showed equal ability to zip in short passes and throw a beautiful arc of a deep ball. Rascati’s cadence was noticeable all week and it drew multiple offsides in the 11 on 11 scrimmage. He also looked great on timing throws. Jeff Smith (Georgetown KY) still looked like a practice squad type QB. He threaded the needle on a ball into double coverage and a small window, but his accuracy seemed erratic. I have to give Dalton Bell (West Texas A&M) props for throwing as hard as any QB I watched this month, but he joins Andy Collins (Occidental) and Sam Hollenbach (Maryland) in the bottom half of the QBs at this game.

The RBs were not highlighted much running the ball. Paul Mosley (Baylor) did deliver some punishing blows and truly used his size as a weapon. Gary Russell seemed have his best day so far, displaying crisp cuts. Marcus Mason (Youngstown St) again displayed the short area quickness that gave him “move of the day” honors on Monday with great breaks running routes in the passing drill. Quentin Smith (Rice) again impressed me with his patience and burst, complimented by a good pad level. Justise Hairston (Central Connecticut State) continued to show some of the best vision of any of the RBs. He also seemed like a real mature, high character guy when I talked to him. Justin Vincent (LSU) did not stand out running the ball, but he looked very natural running a wheel route. No disrespect to the other RBs, but Ramonce Taylor (Texas College) is on another level with the ball in his hands. He has exceptional quickness and moves on the fly and just plays at a different speed, both mentally and physically. He even put his shoulder down and pushed a tackler backwards.

There was not a clear standout of the WR group, but Maurice Price seems like the one of with the best chance of hitting at the next level. He showed the ability to break down DBs and separate deep, and the hands to finish the play. Chandler Williams (Florida International) was probably the second most impressive WR athletically. Two other WRs that seemed like NFL athletes, Junior Taylor (UCLA) and Ryan Moore (Miami) were out with injuries. Taylor went home with a knee injury, but Moore is expected to play Friday. James Finley (Oregon) had the best hands this week, and made a few nice grabs again today. Tyrone Timmons (Mississippi Valley State) really came on today and used his big frame well. Dereck Faulkner (Hampton) also naturally used his big frame to his advantage, but couldn’t separate on a deep route. Jesse Wendt (Wisconsin-Stout) was frustrating, flashing terrific tools, but seeming unnatural when it was time to make a play on the ball. Vincent Marshall showed some grit when he locked up with Larry Anam (CB – Boston College) while run blocking the scrimmage.

Tyler Ecker (Michigan) was the class of the TEs again today. His soft hands and smooth athleticism have been apparent all week. Desmond Allison (South Dakota) continued to look more like a WR, especially on a terrific hands catch in traffic. I didn’t watch the pit as much as I did the last few days, but Louis Leonard (DT -Fresno St), Keenan Carter (DT -Virginia), Scott Stephenson (C-Iowa State) were among the players who made plays that caused great reaction from the players watching and surrounding the pit.. Xsavie Jackson (DE-Missouri) is clearly best pass rusher here and got an easy sack in the scrimmage. Walter Thomas (DT – NW Mississippi CC) also had his daily share of astounding plays, absolutely destroying Jonathan Palmer (OL-Auburn) on one confrontation – Palmer has been one of the most outstanding OL all week.

A few linebackers popped out. Antawn Barnes (Florida International) impressively stuck to Ramonce Taylor in coverage (Taylor still signaled like a ref throwing a flag after the play), and he also hung in to make an ankle tackle on Paul Mosley after bouncing off of him in the initial collision. Jay Staggs (UNLV) made some plays with speed and leaping ability. He seems like a good candidate to shift to safety. Taurean Charles (Bethune-Cookman) seemed to have no problem keeping up with RBs in coverage.

Two Nation corners have really caught my eye – Calvin Bannister (Hampton) and John Bowie (Cincinnati). If there was a good pass breakup today, chances are one of the two of them was in on it. Both seemed to combine top notch recovery speed with good instincts and aggression. Epsilon Williams (Texas State) popped out in a way that he hadn’t until today with great coverage and hitting. Brendan Hill (Virginia Tech) had possibly the interception of the week with a terrific leaping catch of a Dalton Bell fast ball directly over his head.

The scrimmage was probably the most enjoyable part of the entire three weeks I’ve spent watching all-star game practices. There were many outstanding plays, including DB Eric Buchanan jumping a route for an interception taken back the other way for six, LB Marcus Bacon (Missouri) body slamming FB Brian Stokes (Appalachian State), but Ramonce Taylor stole the show with a play that left a lasting image. Taylor initially took a run right, but nothing was there. He effortlessly reversed field and acclerated past the entire Nation defense like they were in slow motion. The Texas team mobbed him in the end zone at the end of the long TD. The lightning rod turned into the lightning bolt at the crescendo of a profound three days of practices in El Paso.