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Senior Bowl notebook | Bull rushes, interceptions and one-handed grabs

National wide receiver Roman Wilson of Michigan runs through drills during practice for the Senior Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/ Butch Dill)
National wide receiver Roman Wilson of Michigan runs through drills during practice for the Senior Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/ Butch Dill)

Day 2 of the Senior Bowl has come to a close. There wasn't a cloud in the sky as the sun shined on the players and coaches at Hancock Whitney Stadium, and while several players with strong performances on Day 1 tried to maintain their momentum, others attempted to get back on track and give scouts some positive plays to evaluate. Let's not waste any more time and dive into what happened Wednesday afternoon.

-- We'll start things off with 1-on-1 matchups between receivers and defensive backs. Florida's Ricky Pearsall has been a player to watch all week, and he started things off with a touchdown grab over Washington State's Chau Smith-Wade.

-- Another player that has performed well for most of the week is Arizona's Jacob Cowing. A 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, he's one of the smaller prospects playing in the all-star game. That hasn't stopped him from making dynamic plays, and his first rep of the day was a sideline grab over Max Melton from Rutgers.

-- Fast forward to the end of the National team practice for a bit, but the catch of the day came from Michigan's Roman Wilson. Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell called him out, and the entire team crowded around them to see the matchup. Wilson easily got open against Wilson, and he put an exclamation point on the day by making a one-handed, sideline grab.

-- Speaking of Mitchell, it was still a good day for him. He managed to grab an interception during one-on-one drills and ran it back for a touchdown.

-- Let's focus on the defensive backs for a bit, because there were a few players who looked much better on Day 2. Willie Drew out of Virginia State nearly had an interception working against Brenden Rice, who's been one of the better receivers in a packed class. Notre Dame's Cam Hart, who had an interception on Day 1, provided tight coverage once against while matching up against DeVontez Walker.

-- A bull rush is a common move for defensive linemen, but this year's prospects seem to be particularly good at it. DeWayne Carter easily pushed Arizona's Jordan Morgan into the quarterback's lap during one-on-one drills. On the American Team, T'Vondre Sweat might be the best at it because of his size and burst. He's been stood up a couple of times, but that often comes after the centers and guard matching up against him has given up significant ground.

Relive some of the top plays and moments from this past season

-- Here's a few random thoughts about some of the offensive linemen from the National team: Kentucky's Jeremy Flax has some solid feet, and he did a good job today of mirroring pass-rushers. Remember when we wrote that this year's defensive line prospects are impressive bull rushers? Well, Tanner Bortolini from Wisconsin managed to stop them a few times by lowering his hips and stalling their momentum. The linemen transitioned to passing off twists for a bit, and the tandem of Dominick Puni and Kingsley Suamataia worked well together.

-- Morgan has had an up-and-down week so far. He's struggled at times in pass protection, mostly because of his hands and punch, but he's a solid run blocker. He did a good job of climbing up to linebackers during team drills, allowing his running backs to sneak by him for big gains.

-- This year's class of running backs at the Senior Bowl aren't particularly large, but they are not afraid of contact, either. After a decent run down the left sideline, Isaiah Davis from South Dakota State laid a hit on a defensive back to finish off the play.

-- It was nice to see Xavier Legette make a few plays after a quiet Day 1. Making contested catches was something he was known for at South Carolina, and he fought through contact from Jarvis Brownlee Jr. to secure a pass in the middle of the field during one-on-one drills.

-- Texas' Christian Jones was one of the clear stars from Day 1, but he had a few slip ups during Wednesday's practice. In fairness to him, he was going against some impressive competition. He and Alabama's Chris Braswell split reps, with Jones winning the first one and Braswell taking advantage of him ducking his head on the second one. He also struggled a bit against Texas Tech's Myles Cole, who bull rushed him into the quarterback.

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