The 2015 East-West Shrine Game came and went without much to talk about in St. Petersburg, Florida. Saturday's all-star game was a sloppy mess that allowed for defense to shine and offense to suffer for a majority of the contest. As always, the lack of cohesion (five days of practice) led to a lot of quarterback woes and miscommunication in the 19-3 win for the East squad. Still, there were some standouts on both sides of the ball. Louisville was well-represented with running back Dominique Brown and linemen Jamon Brown and John Miller leading a somewhat promising rushing attack. On defense, the likes of USC's Josh Shaw, Miami's Anthony Chickillo and LSU's Jermauria Rasco made plays.
Anthony Chickillo (DE, Miami): He was really the star of the game, as Mike Mayock and Charles Davis spotlighted him whenever he made a play. Chickillo was terrific all game long, as both a pass rusher and run defender. He was mostly misused at Miami as a two-gap five technique, but should be a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. He showed good burst off the line and would probably do well in a Wide 9. He earned himself money during practices this week but was clearly just as good in the game.
Dominique Brown (RB, Louisville): The running back scored the game's only touchdown, but that was mostly fodder. He showed great vision and speed as he ran 19 times for 70 yards (3.7 YPC). While the numbers aren't impressive, his performance was. He was one of the only players that could actually move the ball on either team and was the catalyst to several scoring drives.
Andre Davis (WR, South Florida): I came away extremely impressed with his speed and acceleration after the catch. He finished with three catches for 36 yards, but his most impressive grab was a 19-yard gain that was largely based around his YAC ability. I also dug his fire after the catch, which was essentially the biggest play of an otherwise lame offensive performance on both sides.
John Miller (OG, Louisville): A big dude with understated athleticism, Miller opened up lanes for Dom Brown and LSU's Terrence Magee (more on him later). There was one play in particular that stood out to me with Miller. He single-handedly opened up a massive hole for a 14-yard run for Dom Brown in the redzone.
Jamon Brown (OT, Lousville): He held his own at right tackle throughout the game and allowed both his quarterbacks and running backs to make plays on the ground.
Terrence Magee (RB, LSU): A shifty back with electric cutbacks, Magee started off hot. Unfortunately, some poor blocks and a slip on one play led to a mediocre stat line of 11 carries for 27 rushing yards. He also showed he could catch with a nice grab-and-run for 14 yards. I felt he showed similar skills to those of Atlanta's Devonta Freeman (formerly of FSU).
Austin Hill (WR, Arizona): He was one of the very few bright spots for the West team. Hill collected four receptions for 41 yards and showed great hands as he caught poorly-thrown balls from his squad's quarterbacks. He was a great possession threat as he picked up multiple first downs.
Devin Gardner (WR, Michigan): During the telecast, Mayock noted that he has a future in football but he just doesn't know where. I think Gardner showed solid hands as a receiver on Saturday. He finished the game with two catches for 20 yards, including an impressive nine-yard reception that he caught as it seemed like he was falling down.
Bryce Callahan (CB, Rice): The small school cornerback showed a strength in coverage after a well-received week of practice.
Josh Shaw (CB, USC): The 6-foot-1 cornerback stood out on Saturday, as he picked off Old Dominion's Taylor Heinicke in the endzone and saved a touchdown for the West squad. He was able to get the pick with his recovery speed as he was initially beat. He was also pointed out as a special teams success on the telecast.
Damian Parms (S, Florida Atlantic): The safety took advantage of some terrible throws for two interceptions in the game. His first came on a pass from Nevada's Cody Fajardo in the which the ball fluttered and floated in the air. The second came on a pass from South Carolina's Dylan Thompson, where the quarterback stared down his receiver and Parms jumped the route. It should be noted that the Eagles were seen talking to him during the week. He projects as a low-Day 3 pick but perhaps this week helped him move up.
Jermauria Rasco (DE, LSU): He showed speed off the line that you don't really see quite often in his game film. He shot off the line for a tackle for a loss on Fajardo and later had a nasty sack on ASU's Taylor Kelly in the fourth quarter.
Za'Daurius Smith (DE, Kentucky): He gave offensive linemen fits all game and had a coverage sack in the first half.
Tre McBride (WR, William & Mary): He got open several times, displaying a very good route running prowess. He finished with two catches for 23 yards.
Marvin Kloss (K, South Florida): The young kicker went 4-for-4 on field goals, including a 47-yard kick that probably could have gone for 60.
Dylan Thompson (QB, South Carolina): Of the quarterbacks on Saturday, I was least impressed with Thompson, who just looked like he didn't belong. He finished completing 1-of-6 passes for five yards and an interception. I am not sure he gets an invite to a camp at this point. The Combine may help him with preparation.
Cody Fajardo (QB, Nevada): He was probably the biggest name of the passers, but looked awful on Saturday. He completed just 2-of-6 passes for five yards and had an interception as well. He was inaccurate and looked lost at times. He did show off his mobility with two rushes for 13 yards.
Taylor Heinicke (QB, Old Dominion): He threw a pick in the endzone and only completed 2-of-9 passes for 14 yards on Saturday. His biggest issue seemed to be throwing too high and too low to his targets. It was strange to see him so inaccurate as that has always been his strength. I thought he showed good mobility in the pocket but too many times did nothing with the ball. In my opinion, he is the best prospect of the six quarterbacks that played in this game but was badly outperformed by Duke's Anthony Boone and Georgia's Hutson Mason.
Mickey Baucus (OT, Arizona): He had a rough day. He was abused by Rasco and had a false start penalty.
Cameron Clemmons (OT, Western Kentucky): Smith and Chickillo owned him for the majority of the game and that battle was never close. It was a tough outing for the bookends of the West team.
Jim Zorn (HC, West): When you're a former quarterback, who has coordinated offenses in the NFL, you're kind of expected to offer something on offense. His quarterbacks finished 10-of-25 for 75 passing yards and they only had one scoring drive. A total of 93 yards on offense is kind of pathetic, even for a team that has only been together for five days. He didn't put these kids in the position to make plays at all.
- Quarterback play on Saturday was embarrassing. You don't expect a very good offensive showing from these games but the passers were just so bad that it had little to do with lack of reps. Some of these passes were just awful, no matter the experience behind them. Remember, these quarterbacks and receivers work together for five days before the game, which is tough, but that shouldn't impact your accuracy to the point where it is non-existent. Plenty of quarterbacks have been successful in these games before. Boone and Mason were able to connect with their receivers with relative ease but the rest of the field struggled mightily. ASU's Taylor Kelly was a mixed bag but mostly did well on the run.
- It is always cool seeing Canadian kids get a chance to play in the game, which the Shrine Game committee seems to favor as well. This year, Regina's Addison Richards and Western University's Daryl Waud were highlighted. Richards caught two passes for 18 yards and Waud had a nice tackle for a loss during the game. It will be interesting to see where they go in this draft or if they eventually head to the CFL.
- There were some standout plays made by names you'll recognize like Oregon's Tony Washington with a great stop on a 3rd and one run and Michigan's Jake Ryan getting a sack on Fajardo. However, there were also small school kids that made plays like Tennessee-Chattanooga defensive lineman Derrick Lott and Towson cornerback Tye Smith. That's what is pretty cool about these games. You'll have big school guys that look like they don't belong and small school prospects that excel.
- Daniel Jeremiah noted that special teams is big in a game like this because most players project as late-round picks. That's also another reason why you see the top kicking and punting prospects in this game. I came away very impressed with South Florida kicker Marvin Kloss and Baylor punter Spencer Roth.
- I was a bit disappointed that Stanford's James Vaughters and Michigan State's Taiwan Jones didn't stick out. Vaughters got in the backfield at one point to limit a run to three yards, but I figured that he would standout a little bit more. The good news is that both did well in practice this week past week.