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January 9, 2006
Six on the rise
Saturday's U.S. Army All American Bowl showcased some of the nation's top recruits. And, as always, it allowed some players who aren't as highly ranked as they feel they should be to strut their stuff to improve their standing. Here are six players, just a small sampling overall, that made a good case for getting a bump in the next rankings go-round, three from offense and three from defense.
DT Gerald McCoy -- The Oklahoma native came into the week ranked behind LSU commitment Al Woods as the nation's No. 2 defensive tackle. Not anymore. McCoy was clearly the best defensive tackle on either side throughout the week and in the game. He plays low and with excellent balance and he's super quick off the snap. He also has a great motor and terrific frame.
QB Jevan Snead -- Vince Young is gone and Snead will compete right away for the coveted starting job for the Longhorns. Snead has moxie, something that every quarterback needs. He's a confident player who moves quite well and throws accurately on the run. He's tough, very competitive and was impressive in front of a weak offensive line and in the face of pressure in the game. Practice is practice and Snead was okay during the week, but when the lights went on and action was live, Snead was very good.
DE Maurice Evans -- Evans wasn't blocked on one play everyone remembers, but the rest of the time he just ran past the offensive tackles. Like almost every defensive end in these all-star games, Evans went wide, too wide, on most plays, but he angles in on the passer well and works his way back to the line of scrimmage quickly when he overcommits to the pass. He played well all week long so the game wasn't just a case of going against immobile tackles. Evans has a bright future.
RB Michael Goodson -- Goodson was clearly the fastest running back for either side during the week and gets to full speed very quickly. He has quick feet, excellent vision and good hands. Whoever gets him will be getting a threat in the run and passing game. He also showed his toughness after getting nailed on the sidelines by Antwine Perez.
CB Raeshon McNeil -- McNeil got beaten often in practice because he didn't turn and make a play on the ball enough. But when the real test came on Saturday, he was outstanding and that matters much more than practice. He was also alert on special teams during the field goal block, holding back from stretching out when he saw teammate Brandon Graham was already there. It allowed him to be in position to scoop the ball up and take it to the house. McNeil was picked on during the game and he made the West pay. An aside to this, wide receiver Vidal Hazelton deserves a bump as well since he couldn't be stopped by McNeil much of the week.
WR Deon Beasley -- As a cornerback, Beasley's size might hurt him at the next level. As a wide receiver, it won't make a difference. Beasley is so quick and shifty that he's too fast to take big hits and he showed excellent ball skills and the ability to turn upfield quickly all week. He's also a special teams threat as well.