A good friend of mine works for Jersey Mikes corporate office, and he had the opportunity to manage the catering for the Army All American Game in San Antonio. The game featured two 2013 Hokies in Kendall Fuller and Wyatt Teller, and three other Virginia kids in Derrick Green, Ryan Burns, and Jonathan Allen. I have spoke with him several times and I watched the game on Sunday. Here is my attempt to loop our observations together.
Fuller was the talk of the camp in seven on seven drills. He was virtually unbeatable in man coverage. Fuller is very fluid in his hips and comes out of breaks sharply. In the game, he played well using both a press man technique which forces the receiver to take an outside release where the corner then turns and run. He looked most comfortable in a cover 1 robber technique, playing outside shoulder of the receiver around 7 yards off and looking in at the quarterback. Both techniques are used frequently, especially by the boundary corner) in Virginia Tech's defense. Fuller was challenged several times in man coverage. He was beaten once, then drew a pass interference as he recovered and the ball was underthrown. Otherwise, his coverage was flawless. He had a chance for two interceptions and dropped both. His coverage ability makes you very excited, but it really would have been nice to see him make those plays.
Every young player has areas of his game that he needs to work on, and Kendall Fuller is no exception. His game is almost the polar opposite of Kyle Fuller. While Kyle tends to struggle in man coverage, Kendall excells. At the same time, Kyle Fuller is probably the second best corner we have seen in run support at Virginia Tech behind Brandon Flowers. Kendall isn't that kind of player. He missed two open field tackles, and seemed VERY hesitant to stick his head in to gang tackling and pursuit. Torrian Gray will need to find the balance between utilizing Kendall's unique man coverage ability, while "hiding" his weakness in run support until he improves.
Wyatt Teller is a kid who I have really been eager to see in a Hokie uniform. He has exceptionally good feet for a kid his size, a huge wingspan, a great motor, and a nasty attitude that could be the foundation of a 1st round talent at left offensive tackle. But, Wyatt wants to play defensive line, and in Army All American Bowl practices and the games, he rotated between defensive end and defensive tackle. At end, Wyatt maintained gap leverage and was solid, athough he defintely does not look quick enough to be a proto-typical Bud Foster style defensive end. He held his ground, but he wasn't in the backfield making plays like some of his peers on the East squad. Wyatt also played defensive tackle, and looked totally lost. He got upfield frequently, but lost gap integrity just as often.
Wyatt is a bull in a china shop. His motor and effort are outstanding, but he is too dependant on lowering his shoulder and knocking the offensive lineman out of his way (a trait you often see in high school defensive linemen, just like Ken Ekanem) instead of using leverage techniques and getting rid of the offensive lineman. Against top level athletes, Teller also looked slow in space, including one play where he stunted right into a QB scramble towards the right sideline. Teller had an excellent angle, but the QB beat him to the edge. The measurables and effort are exciting, but I don't see him making the immediate impact I thought he would in year 1. I would expect to see Charlie Wiles do a bunch of individual work with Teller to improve his technique, and I still think a position change to left tackle is a possibility.