The Hurry-Up: Observations from the First Two Days of All-American Bowl Practices

By Garrick Hodge on January 5, 2022 at 5:49 pm
Kojo Antwi
Kojo Antwi

The first two days of All-American Bowl practices have come and gone.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s practice, a precarious cloud loomed over the event, as more than 20 players originally selected to the All-American Bowl tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in San Antonio.

The West All-American team was hit particularly hard, with only 37 players practicing Tuesday, including only six offensive linemen and three defensive backs. The question of whether the game would even get played loomed, but fortunately last-minute reinforcements arrived. On Wednesday, the West team was up to eight offensive linemen and six defensive backs, so everything is hopefully back on track for Saturday’s kickoff. 

Practices have continued as scheduled, with both the East and West teams practicing on Wednesday, and Eleven Warriors has been there to observe all the action as it unfolded. Some notes on all of the Ohio State signees and targets at the event:

  • Two Ohio State signees have confirmed they are out of the All-American Bowl due to positive tests: Jyaire Brown and Kaleb Brown.
  • Meanwhile, Hero Kanu and Caleb Burton were also absent from practice on both Tuesday or Wednesday, so read into that what you will. Kanu has planned on announcing his college decision at the All-American Bowl game on Saturday, so if he's unable to play, it's unclear if he will still make an announcement during the game. Considering the times we live in, NBC could allow him to announce over Zoom during the broadcast. 
  • Christen Miller, a priority 2022 four-star defensive tackle target, is still recovering from a leg injury he suffered during his last high school game. He’s been at both of the East's team practices, but was not a participant and won't play Saturday. Miller told Eleven Warriors after Wednesday's practice that his leg hurts “a little bit,” but it is improving and he's taking it day-by-day for now. Miller plans to decide between Ohio State, Georgia, Florida A&M, Miami and Oregon on Feb. 2. 
  • Caden Curry was a wrecking ball in both positional and 11-on-11 drills on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He is smaller than most of the offensive linemen he’s been competing against, but that hasn’t stopped him from beating his opponents, and oftentimes beating them badly. A few of his best plays came in the form of Buckeye-on-Buckeye violence (well, minimal violence as these practices are non-contact) by rushing OSU quarterback signee Devin Brown
  • The one time I saw Curry actually end up on the wrong end of a mauling was when he faced fellow Ohio State signee Tegra Tshabola. Tshabola tossed Curry, who had been the West's been defensive player, on the ground like a rag doll the first rep. They faced each other again later, and Curry, who probably felt like he had a point to prove, bested Tshabola on that one. It was pretty fun to watch them go at it. 
  • Going back to Devin Brown, he was the best player I saw on the field on Tuesday afternoon. The four-star signal caller was calm, composed, running through his progressions consistently and often delivering jaw-dropping throws. He and Kyion Grayes, a four-star OSU wide receiver signee, seem to have great chemistry already, especially after they already met up in December to run routes together. Wednesday morning was a different story, as Brown struggled in the first session, throwing three interceptions, one that included a hurried pass from Curry and one that he forced into double coverage. In the joint practice, Brown rebounded completely, throwing a long touchdown pass in seven-on-seven drills that fit right over the hand of the opposing defensive back, and made several other completions that earned him so much hype in the first place. 
  • Kojo Antwi excelled in one-on-ones and seven-on-seven drills for the East team on Wednesday, beating former Ohio State safety target Xavier Nwankpa deep for a touchdown. Antwi also showcased excellent acceleration skills throughout the day. In an interview with Eleven Warriors after practice that was crashed by Grayes, Antwi hinted at something big coming for Ohio State on Saturday. We can all probably guess what he's referring to.
  • Ohio State’s newest commitment, Carson Hinzman, spent time at both center and right guard over the last two days, but mostly lined up at center. The West team has almost exclusively been running a spread offense, so Hinzman is tasked with delivering shotgun snaps to Brown and the team’s other quarterbacks. That’s something Hinzman didn’t do much in high school, so he believes it’s still a work in progress, but he held up mostly well at the position. He participated in a drill where he went against Curry, though he had the luxury of a double-team to help slow down the otherwise nearly unstoppable soon-to-be Buckeye. In one-on-ones against the East in the afternoon, Hinzman did end up struggling a bit.
  • George Fitzpatrick has lined up at both left tackle and left guard, showing some versatility to play multiple positions. He’s been holding his own for the most part, and has spent some time getting to know his newest soon-to-be teammate in Hinzman.
  • Kyion Grayes has lined up mostly as an outside receiver for the West team, and has performed well in what has turned into a thinner receiving corps without Kaleb Brown and Caleb Burton. As mentioned earlier, he and Brown seem to have great chemistry in practice. 
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