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January 4, 2011

Army matchup: West WRs vs. East DBs

MORE ARMY BOWL: Monday's East stars | Monday's West stars | Complete coverage

SAN ANTONIO - Each day this week leading up to Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Rivals.com analyst Adam Gorney will look at the players involved in a key matchup. The third installment focuses on the West wide receivers against the East defensive backs.

The players:

West wide receivers: DeAnthony Arnett (Saginaw, Mich.), Victor Blackwell (Santa Ana, Calif.), George Farmer (Gardena, Calif.), Trey Metoyer (Whitehouse, Texas), Jaxon Shipley (Brownwood, Texas), Kasen Williams (Sammamish, Wash.), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Gig Harbor, Wash.)

East defensive backs: Wayne Lyons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gerod Holliman (Miami, Fla.), Corey Moore (Griffin, Ga.), Avery Walls (McDonough, Ga.), Jonathan Rose (Leeds, Ala.), Blake Countess (Olney, Md.), Damian Swann (Atlanta, Ga.)

The breakdown:

On paper, the West wide receivers have an advantage here and this could be one of the ways that team exploits the East in Saturday's game.

Farmer is the nation's top receiver by Rivals.com. Metoyer is a five-star prospect who has moved up the rankings in recent months. Tight end Seferian-Jenkins is 6 feet 7 and 250 pounds, a huge target for the West quarterbacks.

Then the West squad has a nice mix of speed and athleticism in Arnett, who was fantastic in Monday's practices, Blackwell, Shipley and Williams. Shipley runs great routes and catches almost everything thrown his way.

Blackwell, committed to USC, and Williams, a Washington pledge, have breakaway ability and both had quality senior seasons. With so many options for the West quarterbacks, this is one of the areas where there seems to be a distinct advantage and it's going to be difficult to slow the West receivers.

The East defensive backs will be competitive but they're going to have their hands full.

The tallest one is Rose at 6 feet 2 but he struggled at times during Monday's workout. With so much size and speed on the West, the East will have to find ways to jam them at the line or always have a safety over the top to make sure the deep threat is at least limited.

Holliman was impressive during Monday's practice and kept up stride for stride with speedy Miles Shuler on a few pass plays so he could have the ability to shut down some West receivers. Lyons has good ball skills and even though Walls isn't the biggest prospect in the world he can pack a punch.

Countess, Moore and Swann are also aggressive defensive backs who can make plays so that will be crucial when the West opens up its passing attack.

Still, the West wide receivers might have too much firepower and this seems like one of the biggest mismatches in the entire game at least on paper. Sure, they all cannot be on the field at the same time but with so many combinations of talented receivers, the West has the big advantage in this matchup against the East defensive backs.



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