Under Armour All-American Top Performers: Day 3

Jacoby Mathews copy 1
Chad Simmons/On3

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Practices for the Under Armour All-America Game continued on Friday. Nearly 100 of the nation’s top prospects were back on the field at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to take part in a fully padded practice. On3 was on hand to take in the action.

The roster is divided into two teams – Team Icons and Team Legends. Both teams had simultaneous non-padded practices on adjacent fields. Contact was limited, but we were able to get a thorough first look at prospects as they went through drills, 1-on-1, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work. 

Here are On3’s top performers for the day, headlined by an unsigned defensive back who has made his presence felt since a late arrival.

On3 MVP: S Jacoby Mathews – Unsigned

Jacoby Mathews hasn’t been in Orlando for very long, but has made an instant impact on the few practices. Mathews has been a standout in the Team Legends secondary after missing the first practice due to a late arrival. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder pairs outstanding instincts with coordination, manifesting in a well-rounded skill-set at safety. He had one of the plays of the day on defense, jumping a pass for a pick-six in team drills. Mathews plays as a rover type at the high school level in addition to offense, but has shown some coverage chops in Orlando. He looks like one o the top safety prospects in the 2022 cycle. Mathews is set to make his decision in February and has a final five of Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida and Texas.

2. WR Jordan Hudson – TCU

Jordan Hudson is another late arrival who made a big splash on Friday. The TCU pledge made his presence felt immediately after missing the first two practices. Hudson is a silky smooth technician at receiver and easily has some of the purest hands in attendance. He looks like a natural in drills and was even better in 1-on-1’s. Hudson handily won every rep we saw him take. He put a filthy double move on USC safety signee Zion Branch and won back-to-back reps on five-star Texas A&M corner signee Denver Harris. Hudson’s efficiency of movement and ability to change speeds mid-route makes him a tough cover in this setting.

3. WR Evan Stewart – Texas A&M

Evan Stewart has a strong case as the most dominant player this week, relative to his position. The Five-Star Plus+ Texas A&M signee is a big-time vertical threat and takes the top off of the defense almost on demand. We saw Stewart get vertical a number of times in 7-on-7 work. Stewart easily ran past Clemson signee Sherrod Covil on a post routeand Texas signee Bryan Allen Jr. on a corner route. If the Team Icons quarterbacks can get Stewart the ball, he’s going to make plays.

4. EDGE Jihaad Campbell – Alabama

Jihaad Campbell continues to impress in Orlando. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has been a standout working at linebacker this week, showing natural ability to play in space. On Friday, we also saw Campbell take some reps as a pass rusher in 1-on-1’s. His length, get-off and general explosive qualities make him one of the more intriguing pass rushing prospects in the 2022 cycle. He may play linebacker early in his career at Alabama, but the idea of Campbell growing into a pass rusher long-term is a tantalizing prospect.

5. DL Walter Nolen – Texas A&M

Five-Star Plus+ prospect Walter Nolen continued his strong week of work on Friday. Nolen was the most disruptive defensive lineman for Team Legends both in 1-on-1 and team drills. The Texas A&M signee says he’s down to 315 pounds. He’s noticeably light on his feet. Nolen won a number of reps in 1-on-1’s including one against Texas signee Neto Umeozulu (one of the better interior linemen in attendance). We also saw Nolen create some disruption on the interior in team drills.

6. WR Antonio Williams – Clemson

Antonio Williams is the most popular target on Team Legends and with good reason – he’s always open. Williams scored several touchdowns on Friday, in large part due to his route-running. The Clemson signee is easily one of the best route runners in attendance. Williams continued to win the majority of his 1-on-1’s and was the primary target in team drills. We saw him score touchdowns on Alabama signee Trequon Fegans and Texas A&M signee Bryce Anderson. Williams would’ve been higher on Friday’s list, had he not had a few concentration drops.

7. CB Travis Hunter – Jackson State

Travis Hunter had his most active day so far on Friday. The Five-Star Plus+ Jackson State signee made a few flash plays in coverage from his cornerback spot. The highlight play came in 7-on-7 when Hunter baited a pass, before jumping the route and running for a would-be pick-six. We also saw Hunter with a pass break-up later in the session. He capped things off by showing off his elite ball skills in the hands competition.

8. EDGE Ernest Cooper – Stanford

Ernest Cooper has impressed with his motor working off the edge on Friday. The Stanford signee plays with maximum effort and gave the Team Legends offensive tackles some issues. Cooper took a handful of reps from North Carolina offensive tackle signee Zach Rice in 1-on-1’s, using his length and flexibility to get into the backfield.

9. OT Tyler Booker – Alabama

Tyler Booker was the On3 MVP on Thursday and continued his strong week of work on Friday. The Alabama signee worked all over the line for Team Icons and won the vast majority of his reps yet again. We mentioned Booker’s burly strength, length and technical skills yesterday, but he’s also showed an impressive practice demeanor. The Connecticut native plays with high intensity and goes all out on every rep.

10. WR Chris Marshall – Texas A&M

Chris Marshall is among the more naturally-talented receivers among a loaded, loaded position group at this game. The Texas A&M signee continued to look good on Friday, showcasing natural ball skills and strong hands at the catch point. One of Marshall’s highlight plays came on a nice grab over the middle of the field in 7-on-7 work.

Additional notes

+ EDGE Omari Abor has impressed the Team Legends coaching staff with his effort and attention to detail throughout the week. Abor has been physical and dogged with active hands and a bull rush. He’s set to announce at the game on Sunday with Ohio State trending in his RPM.

+ The full pads allowed us to see some more action from the linebackers, particularly those on Team Legends. Ohio State signee C.J. Hicks had a highlight play with a big hit that blew up a screen in 11-on-11. Georgia signee Jalon Walker stuck Alabama running back signee Emmanuel Henderson in 11-on-11, as well. Notre Dame signee Jaylen Sneed looks like the best athlete of the Team Legends linebacker group. He’s a twitchy mover and has some room for added mass.

+ We haven’t seen a ton of reps from Anthony Lucas this week, but the Texas A&M signee showed some tantalizing upside on a highlight rep in 1-on-1’s. He was the only defensive lineman that we saw beat Tyler Booker on a rep. Lucas read Booker’s shoulders and won with an up and under move.

+ Clemson wide receiver signee Adam Randall continues to impress while playing in an absolutely loaded receiver group on Team Icons. Randall is able to create consistent separation on vertical routes. We saw him get behind five-star Georgia signee Daylen Everette and force a blatant pass interference. We would not be surprised to see one of, if not both of Randall and Antonio Williams start at Clemson as true freshmen. They have that type of talent and skill.

+ Five-star Harold Perkins was back at linebacker on Friday after moonlighting as a running back on Thursday. Perkins was a vocal presence at linebacker, working to organize the Team Icons defense and looked natural on that role.

+ LSU signee Emery Jones continues to look like the second best offensive lineman on Team Icons following Tyler Booker. Jones’ coordination, length and play strength have given opposing defensive linemen some issues.

+ Friday was another good showing for Michigan signee Will Johnson. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder looks like the top cornerback on Team Legends and continued to make several plays on the ball in coverage.

+ Alabama signee Shazz Preston had one of the catches of the day with a sensational one-handed grab in the end zone. Preston received tight coverage from Michigan safety signee Keon Sabb but extended to lay out fo the catch, showing impressive concentration and coordination.

+ Texas signee Jaray Bledsoe is one of the more naturally-gifted defensive linemen in attendance. Bledsoe was a late arrival and missed the first practice. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder has elite flexibility – he dropped his hips so far he was sitting on his feet in warmups. He also has one of the better first steps in Orlando. Bledsoe is a work in progress. He’s from small town Texas missed his entire senior year due to a transfer. With that said, the high-end upside is considerable.

+ Sticking on the Team Icons defensive line, Michigan signee Derrick Moore has stood out with his play strength. Moore has shown speed to power as a pass rusher and play plays with heavy hands.