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December 18, 2012

Alabama-Mississippi All-Star awards

MORE FROM ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI: What we learned

Rivals.com analyst Kynon Codrington was in Alabama for last week's Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. After watching the players throughout the week, he handed out his awards.

Best of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic
Fastest Player
Kailo Moore RB, Rosedale (Miss.) West Bolivar
Moore is a standout in track and field. As a junior, he posted a 10.77-second 100-meter dash and a 21.27 200-meter time to win the AAU Junior Olympic championships. On the gridiron, he runs a 4.40 40 and is a scoring threat every time he touches the ball. During the week, he was the fastest player on either team until he injured his leg. Despite the injury, there wasn't another player as electric as Moore.

Texas A&M commit Cameron Echols-Luper is sudden and explosive. He posted a 21.15 200-meter last spring and displayed above-average linear speed during practice.

STRONGEST PLAYER
Darius Paige DT, Foley (Ala.)
Paige is strong at the point of attack. He can get underneath the pad level of opposing offensive linemen and drive them back on a consistent basis. He is disruptive up front, allowing the linebackers to fill and make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

UCF recruit Wilson Bell was right behind Paige. Bell has a strong upper body and powerful base.

BEST HANDS
Jason Smith, ATH, Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen
This may have been the easiest award to decide. Smith snatches everything with his hands and is a natural pass catcher. He has a wide catch radius and shows good concentration.

Ole Miss pledge Derrick Jones showed reliable hands after a rusty first practice. He hauled in a 41-yard touchdown pass over Florida State commit Marquez White.

BEST ROUTES
Jarren Johnson, WR, Jackson (Ala.)
Jackson runs precise routes, and he was one of the top wide receivers during practice, according to teammates. He runs a 4.67-second 40 (laser-timed) and knows how to set up defensive backs coming out of his cuts. He also knows how to find the holes in zone coverage.

BEST ARMS
Nick Mullens, PQB, Hoover (Ala.) Spain Park
Mullens isn't the biggest at 6-foot-1, but he throws a catchable ball and is very accurate. He has a good release to go with solid zip. He completed eight of 12 passes for 156 yards in the contest to lead all QBs. Showed touch and the ability to fit the ball in tight windows during practice.

STRONGEST ARM
Jeremy Johnson, DQB, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver
Johnson didn't have a strong performance on Saturday, but his arm strength was the best among the quarterbacks in attendance. He can drive the ball downfield with ease. At times he will overthrow his target, and he needs to learn to take a little off, depending on the route. The ball jumps off his hand, and you can see why Auburn was the first to offer the talented dual-threat QB.

BEST VISION
Johnathan Ford, New Hope (Ala.)
Ford does a nice job of picking and sliding through the holes. He sees cutback lanes well and is patient setting up blockers. Late in the game, on third-and-long with the team clinging to a five-point lead, the Alabama coaches called for an iso run. Ford took the handoff and bounced outside to pick up a crucial first down. He is a complete back with big-play ability.

Foley, Ala.'s Cedrix Reed led all running backs with 57 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Reed is shifty with good acceleration. He has a chance to be a productive back at the FCS level.

TOUGHEST TO BLOCK
Chris Jones, SDE, Houston (Miss.)
Jones was the unanimous choice among coaches and players. At the Mississippi practices, he was too quick for the offensive line. On Saturday, he took over and punished would-be blockers. He collected eight tackles, two for loss, one sack and one quarterback hurry. He was a mismatch against anyone he faced. The Mississippi State target helped his recruiting stock the most of the group.

BEST BLOCKER
Austin Golson, OL, Prattville (Ala.)
Golson did his best when facing the previously mentioned Jones. He has great feet to go with lateral quickness. The Florida State pledge uses his hands well and can get to linebackers in the second level. Fires off the ball and opened a few holes for the Alabama run game.

BEST PHYSICALLY
Reuben Foster, ILB, Auburn (Ala.)
The 6-2, 230-pounder shed noticeable weight from the elite summer events, the Rivals Five-Star Challenge and The Opening. Foster had the best size-to-speed ratio of any player on either roster. He used his physicality on the first play of the game when he shot the gap to lay the wood to running back Darrell Robinson. The five-star 'backer has a stout, barrel chest with a solid lower body.

BEST TACKLER
Antonio Conner, DB, Batesville (Miss.) South Panola
Conner is a sure tackler and can be left to defend center field. He wraps up well and is always in position. Takes proper angles and closes in a hurry. He finished with the second-most tackles for the day with seven and added two for loss and a pass breakup. The four-star defender will be an impact player at the next level. College defensive coordinators will probably use him in the box to stop the run or on safety blitzes. He has great range to go with excellent instincts.

BIGGEST SURPRISE
Kamryn Melton, DB, Dothan (Ala.)
Melton entered the event with a chip on his shoulder. The three-star was pushing to be a four-star prospect in the last rankings release. He brought his four-star game all week and turned in a stellar showing on Saturday. Melton tied for the second-most tackles on the Alabama squad with four. He notched an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss.

His secondary mate Jonathan Cook impressed with his sticky coverage. Cook tallied a pair of pass breakups and a pick. He returned his interception 57 yards to set up a score.



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