In a tough, hard-fought game, the East overcame a scrappy West squad to win a defensive struggle 7-0. In stark contrast to the higher scoring affairs in recent years, this game was a battle of turnovers and field position. Neither team managed more than three first downs on a possession and the end result was decided by one big play, a 65-yard pass from Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech via Maury HS) to Brent Vinson (Hargrave/Tennessee via Phoebus HS) which set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Brandon Minor (Michigan via Varina HS).
The East defense, led by an aggressive defensive line and a smothering pass defense, held the West to only 194 yards of total offense. East Defensive MVP, cornerback Jeremy Gardner (Towson via Courtland HS), had two key interceptions, stopping drives in the first half. A second-half West drive was stopped by a fumble recovery by middle linebacker Charlie Newman (James Madison via Turner Ashby HS), who had an excellent game controlling the middle of the defense. In addition, defensive end John Graves (Virginia Tech via Meadowbrook HS) blocked a punt for the East after barreling over the up-back, and the East blocked a 51-yard field goal attempt before the half. Defensive end Arthur Moats (James Madison via Churchland HS) led a fierce pass rush with 1.5 sacks and a deflected pass.
The West Offensive MVP was quarterback Bobby Owens from Halifax County HS, completing 5 of 9 passes for 70 yards and rushing for another 33 yards. Owens split time with Matt Perdue (Appalachian State via Lee County HS), but neither quarterback could sustain any drives due to the constant pressure of the East defense. The longest play for the West was a 33-yard pass from Owens to Marshall Dill (William & Mary via C.D. Hylton HS) that was followed by Gardners interception in the end zone. Wide receiver Tony Spradlin from Salem HS made a couple of impressive first down grabs, but overall the West offense was overmatched by the quicker East defense.
Offensively, the East was led by co-MVPs quarterback Kam Chancellor and wide receiver Brent Vinson. Chancellor completed 13 of 24 passes for 209 yards, and Vinson caught 4 passes for 131 yards. Chancellor showed good mobility and a strong arm, while Vinson was clearly the fastest player on the field. The East controlled the ball in the second half with a couple of relatively long drives, including the final drive where the East had the ball inside the West 5-yard line at the gun. Matt Barbour (UVA-Wise via William Campbell HS) showed great hands, catching 7 or 8 passes and converting a couple of fourth downs. Brandon Minor and H.B. Banjoman (Hargrave via Warren County HS) split time at running back, but neither back had much room to operate against a solid West defensive front.
The West defense was led by safety Ricky Cook (Virginia Tech walk-on via Giles County HS) who won the MVP award with two interceptions. Brandon Johnson from Bassett HS also played well in the secondary, recording an interception and making a nice tackle on Matt Barbour to stop a fourth-down attempt. Safety Dwayne Priest from William Fleming HS made the two biggest hits on the night, but he was also the victim of two long gainers by Brent Vinson. The defensive line for the West, led by tackles Daryl Robertson (Virginia Tech via Bedford-Liberty) and Dominique Smith (James Madison via Massaponax HS), shut down the running game. Robertsons high school teammate, Frankie Keeney (VMI), also played a nice game from his defensive end spot, deflecting a pass and continually harassing the quarterback.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
West 0 0 0 0 0
East 0 0 7 0 7
East Brandon Minor 6-yard run (Rontray Houchens kick); Key Play: 65-yard pass from Kam Chancellor to Brent Vinson.
Reports on Virginia Tech Players
Virginia Tech had six players in the all-star game, four scholarship recruits and two potential walk-ons. Two of the players won MVP awards QB Kam Chancellor for the East and S Ricky Cook for the West.
Kam Chancellor (6-3.5, 205), Maury Many fans have projected Chancellor to be moved to defense, but he certainly has the physical tools to play quarterback at the D-1 level. Chancellor has very good mobility and a strong arm, which surprised the West squad on a couple of occasions. On both of his deep completions to Brent Vinson, his passes had a great deal of velocity and were right on the money. He maintains his composure in the pocket and when scrambling, and Chancellor always seems to be aware of what is happening on the field. He makes good decisions and made several clutch passes to keep drives alive on third and fourth down.
The one criticism I would have of Chancellor is that he tends to cock his arm on throws, which allows the defense to react a little faster. On both of the interceptions that he threw, the defenders broke on the ball and cut in front of the receiver for the pick. He narrowly missed a couple of other interceptions on out patterns simply because of the velocity of his throws. Chancellor will need to speed up his release considerably in college and to work on looking off defenders.
In the 25 or so all-star games that I have watched, I would have to rate Chancellor as one of the better quarterbacks that I have seen, probably in my top five. He has all of the physical tools that you would look for in a D-1 quarterback size, mobility, arm strength, decision-making, etc. He needs to work on his throwing mechanics to speed up his release, but otherwise I believe the Hokies found a real diamond in the rough.
John Graves (6-3.5, 260), Meadowbrook Played right end on defense and helped anchor a solid defensive wall for the East. Graves most impressive play came on a blocked punt in which he rushed up the middle and simply ran over the up-back in protection. He has considerable power for a high school player and is very tough to move. Graves had a couple of quarterback hurries and provided consistent pressure on the offense. He relies mostly on a bull rush, but he will occasionally dip his shoulder and rush from the outside. The East rotated the defense line throughout the game, but Graves was difficult to contain when he was on the field.
The only criticism I would have of Graves is that he needs to develop more variety in his pass rushing moves. He relies almost exclusively on power moves, and he needs to develop a swim and a rip move. However, Graves appears to have the strength right now to be able to play D-1 football and he holds the point of attack quite well. He could not be moved in this game and, combined with the other big East defensive linemen, effectively shut down the running game for the West.
Matt Wright (6-2, 215), Phoebus Played right outside linebacker for the East and showed good instincts and solid play against both the pass and run. Wright has very good mobility for his size and he looks to have the frame to put on quite a bit more weight. He attacks the run, recording one tackle for a loss in this game, and holds his ground well. Wright stays with his assignments and he appears to understand the team concept of defense, as evidenced on one play in which the West did a nice job setting up a screen and Wright took out two blockers, keeping the play from being a big gain. He also showed good drops in pass coverage, and he looks comfortable in space.
Wright needs to get stronger and gain more size to move inside to linebacker. He has good instincts but he will likely have some trouble getting off blocks from some of the larger D-1 linemen right now. I believe he will start off at Whip for Tech and eventually he will gain the size in the weight room to be moved to Backer (strongside linebacker). He has the physical tools to potentially play early for Tech.
Daryl Robertson (6-3, 280), Bedford-Liberty Played left defensive tackle for the West and was a force in the middle. Despite consistently being double-teamed by the East offensive line, Robertson held his ground against the run and prevented the East from establishing a running game. He uses his hands well and he gets some push on his pass rush. Like Graves, Robertson needs to develop more pass rushing moves, but he shows good mobility and potential as an inside pass rusher.
The one area of improvement that Robertson will need to work on is to stay lower and maintain leverage against blocks. At times he could get a little high and be moved by the double-team, but overall he held his ground very well. Like most high school linemen, he tends to rely on his natural strength more and to not use good leverage all of the time. He has excellent size for an incoming defensive tackle and he already looks to be quite strong, though he will obviously need to keep working in the weight room. Robertson looks to be a very good prospect at defensive tackle.
Ricky Cook (6-3 195), Giles County Played safety for the West and looked solid against both the pass and run. He showed good instincts cutting in front of the receiver on a fourth down pass to get an interception early in the game and then later caught a wounded duck thrown by back-up quarterback Danny Broggin (Liberty via William Campbell), out-fighting the receiver for the ball. Cook looked solid tackling and appeared to be a heady player. The program listed Cook as planning to attend Virginia Tech and majoring in building construction or engineering, so hopefully we will see Ricky on the football field as a walk-on or possibly on the baseball team.
Tim Richardson (5-11 220), Hampton Listed as a linebacker in the program, Richardson played mostly on the defensive line, showing good aggressiveness and toughness. Even though he was undersized on the defensive line, he was able to get penetration and he held his ground well. Richardson shows good leverage taking on blocks and looked to be fundamentally very sound. He would seem to be another tough, hard-working walk-on candidate at Virginia Tech who would probably get his first look at Mike Linebacker.
Overall Tech was well represented in the all-star game and Hokie fans should look forward to following these players during their career.
Other Players of Note
Some of the other players that stood out during the game include:
RB Brandon Minor, Michigan/Varina HS good footwork on TD run; lacks speed
RB H.B. Banjoman, Hargrave/Warren Co. HS good burst; runs hard; not elusive
FB Donielle Babb, Hampton/Franklin HS good inside runner; tough; physical
WR Brent Vinson, Tennessee/Phoebus HS great speed and athletic ability; makes plays
WR Matt Barbour, UVA-Wise/William Campbell HS great hands; good route runner
WR KeMon Bailey, Massachusetts/Huguenot HS quick; good runner after catch
OT Bryan Hall, Morehead State/Hermitage HS massive; strong; lacks mobility
OT Arthur Walker, James Madison/Heritage-Newport News HS big; decent mobility
OC Jason Walters, Liberty/L.C. Bird HS good size; stays low; good drive blocker
DE Arthur Moats, James Madison/Churchland HS aggressive; makes plays; undersized
DE J.R. Ware, Norfolk State/Lee-Staunton HS good size; aggressive; lacks some speed
DT Asa Chapman, Virginia/Orange Co. HS huge; space-eater; decent mobility
DT Andrew Hutchings, Clover Hill HS decent size and quickness; can penetrate
LB Charlie Newman, James Madison/Turner Ashby HS good size and instincts; tough
LB Terrell Williams, Louisburg JC/Lake Taylor HS aggressive; tough; big hitter
CB Santonyo Jones, Hutchinson CC/Lake Taylor HS quick; good instincts in coverage
CB Jeremy Gardner, Towson/Courtland HS quick; makes plays; good instincts
SS Nathan Munford, Winston Salem State/Meadowbrook HS tough; good tackler
FS Aubrey Meekins, Hampton HS aggressive; solid size; good range
QB Bobby Owens, Halifax Co. HS good mobility; gritty; lacks size; WR in
QB Matt Perdue, Appalachian State/Lee Co. HS good size; decent arm
RB Jay Kenney, Ferrum/Massaponax HS quick; elusive; lacks size; good receiver
RB Courtney Anderson, Morgan State/Hylton HS decent size; has some quickness
WR Tony Spradlin, Salem HS very quick; good hands; makes plays; small
WR Marshall Dill, William & Mary/Hylton HS quick; runs good routes; undersized
TE David Redick, Marshall/Cave Spring HS good size; athletic; decent blocker
OT Erik Vint, Marshall/Magna Vista HS decent size; solid; lacks some agility
OT Jonathan Bovenizer, Graham HS good balance; uses hands well; lacks size
OG Garrett Arms, Morehead State/Richlands HS good size; strong; lacks mobility
OG Ryan Turner, Narrows HS excellent size; good strength; plays too high
OC Jon Spears, Brooke Point HS huge center; solid blocker; could lose a few pounds
DE Frankie Kenney, VMI/Liberty-Bedford aggressive; decent size and speed
DE Daniel Haliffe, Davidson/Osbourn HS undersized; aggressive; good in run support
DE Brandon Gayheart, Morehead State/Richlands HS solid size; blocked field goal
DT Dominique Smith, James Madison/Massaponax HS great size; agile; tough to move
LB Elijah McCall, Hargrave/Bassett HS decent size; aggressive; strong in run support
LB Jack Curtis, VMI/Robinson HS very aggressive and tough; instinctive; undersized
LB Trey Smith, George Wythe HS solid size and speed; tough; better against the run
LB Aaron Webb, William Fleming HS good mobility; aggressive; made some plays
CB Brandon Johnson, Bassett HS good instincts; solid tackler; makes plays
S Dwayne Priest, William Fleming HS very tough; big hitter; instinctive; very small
Overall the talent level in this all-star game appeared to be a little lower than previous years. However, the game was well played with a good effort by all participants. I hope the administrators of the games and clinics observe the tendency of other all-star games to play earlier and move the game to June. Best of luck to all of the players in their future endeavors.