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SAN ANTONIO --It is a big year for big defensive linemen in the state of Arkansas with Bijhon Jackson and Josh Frazier both making waves on a national scale.
Tuesday, both proved to be tough to handle for opposing offensive linemen. Jackson, out of El Dorado, showed off his explosion a few times on the day. He was quick off the ball and into his opponent. He worked some stunts and was able to get into the backfield, and when he did not get to the quarterback he made sure to get his hands up and get a hand on the ball. On one play in particular he showed some nice elevation as he left his feet to make a leaping stab at getting a pass break-up.
Frazier, who has been a standout at Springdale Har-Ber, showed off his pure strength. He stayed low and was often in the backfield, especially if he drew only one blocker. He quickly started to see multiple blockers and he did a nice job of fighting through those too.
The standout defensive tackles have turned some heads. In fact, when standout offensive lineman Damien Mama was asked about standout defensive linemen the two Arkansans immediately came up.
"Joshua Frazier, he's not only big and strong but he's fast too. You have to watch out for him," Mama said. "Bijhon Jackson too."
Linebackers step up
The linebackers had their moments on day one of Army All-American practice on Monday, but on day two they made sure to make their presence felt. Two guys immediately jumped to mind in Kenny Young and Derik Calhoun.
Young has earned quite the reputation throughout his career at John Curtis in River Ridge, La. for finding his way to the ball and Tuesday he always seemed to be buzzing around. He made plays on the edge, in the middle, and he looked comfortable dropping into space. He was decisive and aggressive and seemed to have a bit of an edge throughout the day.
For Calhoun, it was his suddenness. He was quick to close. When he decided to go, he was going to get there in a hurry. It was almost like he came from out of the frame to make a play and when he arrived he was delivering a hit that was sure to bring his opponent to the ground in a hurry.
The intensity and physicality was hard to miss on a good day for not only Calhoun and Young, but the other West linebackers.
The Texas three-stars have made their presence felt early on during the week, and they showed up strong on Tuesday.
San Antonio (Texas) Warren defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao was able to stay at home to play on the national stage and he has taken full advantage of it. He had a couple of very explosive plays in the middle during team drills.
Keller (Texas) defensive end Sione Teuhema is on the light side and he has the ability to spend some time at outside linebacker. While he may be light in the seat, he has been quick off the edge with the speed rush and had a few nice plays on the day as well.
The center position has been manned by a couple of Texas three-star prospects in Jasper's Terrell Cuney and Van Alstyne's Connor Mayes. The two have had their hands full in the middle of the West offensive line but have held their own.
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco offensive lineman Damien Mama has shown quite a bit of versatility over the course of his two days of practice at the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.
Mama, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 360-pounds, has worked up and down the line of scrimmage for the West squad and has not skipped a beat. He has worked at both guard and tackle and worked on the right and left side.
His power and strength are hard to match, and then there is the flexibility and footwork which allows him to make the move to the outside. It is a rarity to say the least to find a guy his size that can move the way he does. He was out in front of screens, he picked up blocks on the second level, and he put guys in the dirt.
He has been quick to pick up the schemes and has not been hesitant to do whatever has been asked of him.
Jason Howell is the Midlands Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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