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January 5, 2010
Army Express: Another Elam twist?
SAN ANTONIO - Rivals.com takes a look at the top five news items from each day at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The "Army Express" is a quick breakdown of the biggest news, player injuries and recruiting updates in a compact and easy-to-digest format. Practices continued Tuesday, but once again the biggest news came off the field. This time, it was Matt Elam's recruiting roller-coaster ride.
1) Elam's second thoughts?
The Matt Elam story is not finished.
The West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer five-star safety said he and Florida coach Urban Meyer had a phone conversation Monday, and now the Gators are involved again.
Elam, who switched from the Gators to Florida State on New Year's Eve, now says Florida is back in the picture after he talked to Meyer. Elam described an emotional discussion between the two - who have known each other since Meyer recruited Elam's brother, Abram, to Notre Dame in the 1990s.
Expected to be an early enrollee, Elam said he might announce his decision at Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Dwyer teammate Gerald Christian, asked to make a prediction on Elam's choice, said, "I think deep down he loves Florida."
2) Ambles is amped up
Tennessee commit Markeith Ambles was named the player of the day for the East and was the Rivals.com analysts' pick for the best player on both rosters based on Tuesday's practices.
After having a very solid day Monday, Ambles - who is from McDonough (Ga.) Henry County - took care of business making big catches and big moves. He was the star of the one-on-ones, toasting the competition with a bevy of moves and precise routes. Matt Elam, Jaylen Watkins, Keenan Allen and Latwan Anderson were all victims of Ambles on Tuesday.
Despite the success, Ambles wasn't satisfied with his performance.
"It wasn't my best practice," Ambles said. "If it was my best, I'd catch everything. I'd just give it like a 7 or 8. But, I can do better in the game on Saturday."
3) Marsh is the man
Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian defensive tackle Cassius Marsh showed signs on Monday he was going to be a force this week. But with defensive ends Ronald Powell and Owamagbe Odighizuwa stealing all the headlines, it was easy to overlook the job that Marsh did. There was no missing him on Tuesday. Marsh, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound LSU commitment, was named by Rivals.com as the player of the day on the West roster.
"The West defensive line group is one of the deepest in the entire game, and Marsh kind of led the charge today," Rivals.com analyst Barton Simmons said. "He was extremely disruptive on the interior. He played with a high intensity level and no one could seem to block him."
4) East WRs are impressive
It's not too often that Rivals.com recruiting analysts all agree on one topic, but everybody that attended the East practices on Tuesday agreed the deep and talented receiver group was the best group of the day.
"It's rare, but it does happen," Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell said. "But we all agreed after the first few days of practices that Prater, Ambles and McCartney - in that order - are the best on the East."
5) Injury bug bites West DL
The West defensive line was down to three defensive tackles and three defensive ends after tackle Calvin Barnett went down with an injury and Josh Shirley continued to work out at linebacker on Tuesday.
Barnett bruised his left kneecap and was out for most of the drills in the afternoon.
The West is also down another defensive linemen with Jackson Jeffcoat sitting out with an ankle injury. The good news is that Barnett's injury doesn't look to be too serious, and he should be able to play later in the week.