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January 4, 2008
UA All-Stars show their skills
On Thursday night, 18 athletes who are part of the Under Armour All-Star game participated in the Burger King All-American Skills Challenge at Disney's Wide World of Sports.
They competed in the pass attack, lineman strength challenge, hands competition, and obstacle course. While only 18 athletes participated, their teammates and opponents from Saturday supplied a majority of the cheering section.
All six of the quarterbacks participating in the UA All-Star Game participated in this event. Those quarterbacks were five-star prospect E.J. Manuel, four-star prospects Mike Glennon, Nick Crissman, and Landry Jones, and three-star signal callers Kyle Parker and Braden Hanson.
The quarterbacks competed in a challenge that tested their accuracy and ability to throw down the field. Players threw nine balls at three moving targets. Each target was worth different amounts - 20, 30, and 40 points. If players hit the board but missed the target, they earned 10 points. Their final throw, the 10th ball, was a throw from the 35-yard line where they aimed for a marked zone between the two hashes. Players received two points for each yard the ball traveled.
The players had to battle tough conditions on an unusually cold and windy evening in Central Florida.
Glennon, a North Carolina State commitment, won the event with a total of 286 points. The longest throw on the evening came from Jones, an Oklahoma commitment. Florida State's quarterback commitment, Manuel, struggled in the event, scoring only 80 points largely due to his 10th ball missing the landing zone.
Lineman Strength Challenge
Offensive and defensive linemen participated in this portion of the event. It allowed the biggest men on the field to showcase their individual talents by participating in a course involving numerous tests of their abilities.
The players began with a drill called "pushing the wood" where they had to slide a 2-x-4 10 yards down the field. They then moved over hurdles, pushed a sled for 10 yards, went under an agility chute, searched for a football in a ball pit before ending with a 40-yard dash to a finish line marked by two large pads on the ground, allowing for the players to finish in style. Players were ranked by the time it took them to complete the course.
Participating in the event was Chase Thomas, Omar Hunter, Tyler Westphal, and Brandon Thompson.
The event was won by Thomas, a three-star Stanford commitment, who finished with a time of 21.7 seconds. Thompson, an uncommitted four-star prospect who is high on Clemson, finished second with a time of 23.59. Westphal, a four-star committed to Wisconsin, finished last with a time of 27 seconds.
Four players - Georgia commitment Dwayne Allen, Florida commitment Janoris Jenkins, Oregon commitment Blake Cantu, and South Carolina commitment Charles Whitlock - participated in the hands competition.
The hands competition consisted of the players catching ten balls, while turning, that were being shot at them from four different spots. They then ran through an obstacle course where they had to catch three balls thrown by quarterbacks. Drops resulted in a penalty. Players finished when they caught the final throw from a quarterback. Players were ranked by the time it took them to finish the challenge.
Allen, a four-star tight end, won the event in 32.9 seconds. Cantu finished in 35.3, while Jenkins and Whitlock tied at 37.5 seconds.
The final competition of the evening was the obstacle course that tested both speed and an ability to execute different challenges.
Participating in the event were Keanon Cooper, Darius Willis, Brandon Barnes, and Kye Staley.
This event also compared the players by the time it took them to finish the course. While going through the course, players had to be sure to pass through each station perfectly or face a penalty. Penalties were a result of dropping the ball running through the gauntlet, failing to hit every square in the ropes course, or failing to push the sled three yards.
Cooper, a three-star safety from Dallas, won the event with a time of 28.5 seconds. He narrowly beat out Willis by a half-second. Willis is a three-star running back committed to Indiana.
Rounding out the four was Staley, a four-star athlete heading to Oklahoma State, followed by Barnes, an N.C. State four-star commitment.
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