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January 9, 2003Even though they came out on the losing end of a 47-3 defeat last weekend at the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, there were plenty of players on the West squad that proved that they belong with the nation's elite prospects. Here's a look at 10 players from the West that impressed Rivals100.com.
RB - Reggie Bush - Bush was still playing with a cast on his left hand like he had for most of the regular football season, but that didn't stop him from being the West's only real true offensive threat. Bush, who committed to USC at the game, finished with 66 yards rushing, returned kicks and returned punts for the West. He had more moves than Michael Jackson and his frame looked sturdy but aerodynamic like the speeding bullet that he is. There might not be a better player in the entire nation.
DE - Kyle Caldwell - One reporter in the Rivals.com network went and watched Caldwell this season and came away very unimpressed, but if you watched any of the game on Sunday you could not help but be impressed with the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Caldwell. He was almost impossible to block and racked up two quarterback sacks and numerous hurries. What's also impressive is that he was doing this against an offensive line that featured four-star players Aaron Sears and Mike Jones.
OL - Jorrie Adams - Adams had a little trouble early on adjusting to the speed of the East defensive line and gave up a few big plays in the first quarter. But after that it was lights out and typical Jorrie Adams football. Adams worked hard and began to use his leverage and long arms in pass blocking, keeping the defenders away from the West quarterback. Adams also displayed an emotional spark that hasn't been seen in previous evaluations. He was seen on the sideline openly yelling at his teammates to get their head out of you know what and then went back on the field and showed why he's one of the nation's best. Adams will need to fill out, but he definitely proved that he's one of the best on Sunday.
ATH - Whitney Lewis - Lewis didn't get as many balls thrown his direction as he wanted, mainly because of the lack of time the West offensive line allowed its quarterbacks, but when he was near the ball or when it was in his hands you could see that special spark that ranks him as one of the nation's top five players. He took an out route that was thrown short on one third down situation and then zipped up field to get the first down. Plus, Lewis more than looks the part - filling out his pads maybe better than any other athlete/receiver at the game.
OL - Ian Yates Cunningham Along with Adams, Cunningham was one of the few West offensive linemen that came to play. Cunningham was powerful on the run blocking. But when the West got down it was forced to pass the ball and Cunningham surprised some with his pass-blocking ability. He displayed good footwork, a quick punch and great technique. But it was his technique that maybe impressed Rivals100 the most because it often seemed flawless. You could tell that Cunningham, who is heading to UVA, is a real student of the game.
CB - Tarel Brown - Brown, a Texas commit, played solid football despite only getting challenged a few times at his corner spot. When the East did challenge him deep, Brown was stride for stride with the receiver, allowing both attempts to fall incomplete. Brown also looked very comfortable playing defensive back and press-man coverage in certain situations. It's something he did little this year at North Mesquite because he was the team's star running back and they often played a cover-three coverage scheme.
DB - Anton Campbell - Campbell played a lot of running back in high school but looked good playing a big safety role for the West. The Michigan commitment was physical against the run and also held his own in passing situations. It was a solid effect from Campbell, considering it was a major step up from the type of competition he faced in St. Louis in his career. He also looked more physically impressive than when Rivals100.com saw him this summer at a football camp.
K - David Dykes Ok, ok, you're probably asking why is a kicker on the list, but if you saw the game at all you would have seen how impressive Dykes was on his long field goal attempt and on his two kickoffs. This kid can boot the ball with the best of him. On his 40-yard plus field goal, which was the West's only score, the kick would have easily been good from 50-yards. Somebody better grab this kid quick because he has the leg to be great in college.
DE - Jason Jack Jack played solid football throughout the game and made one big play when he hurried the quarterback and forced a sack in the third quarter. Jack looked great also in the practices leading up to the game and his frame and strength has gotten better and better this season. And when he runs, he runs so well for a kid that is easily in the 6-foot-5, 270-pound range. He should be a good one for Texas A&M.
WR - Bret Smith Smith didn't get a chance to do much during the game for the same reasons that Lewis didn't, but he definitely passes the eyeball test, runs a fluid route and has big-play ability written all over him. He earns the high praise also because of his play in practice and in the skill's competition when he would leap high up in the air to snag passes thrown from a passing machine.