MOBILE, Ala. — For the first time in the three years I have covered the Reese’s Senior Bowl practices, there wasn’t any rain.
I was prepared for it, though.
Not only did I bring a rain jacket, but I also had an umbrella and a hands-free umbrella holder. Yes, those exist. Bottom line, the rain would not have had an effect on me.
Here are the players who stood out and some of the highlights plays on Day 3 of the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl practices.
You know the phrase, “Save the best for last?” Well, it applies to the play that Purdue tight end Payne Durham made on the final day of practice.
In the team portion of practice, Durham ran a rail route to the front right portion of the end zone. Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener gave the 6-foot-5, 258-pound tight end an opportunity to make a play with two defenders in the area. Haener came down with the ball despite his helmet being knocked off, and celebrated by allowing North Dakota State offensive lineman Cody Mauch to spike the football.
Durham also scored another touchdown in 11-on-11s and again gave the ball to his fellow offensive lineman to spike it into the turf. The former Boilermaker also had a nice catch over the middle of the field that forced him to use every inch of frame to haul in the football.
When Mauch wasn’t spiking footballs, he was doing some blocking. He had some nice reps in his one-on-ones against Louisville defensive lineman Yaya Diaby, and also got out in front for a screen pass to help give the ball carrier a nice running lane.
One of the players who had some success against Mauch was Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore. The 6-foot-1, 284-pound defensive lineman won both of his reps during the early portions of one-on-ones.
On the other side of the field, the wide receivers were lined up and going against the cornerbacks. UNC-Charlotte’s Grant Dubose made a really nice over-the-shoulder catch against Iowa’s Riley Moss.
During the one-on-ones, Dubose created great separation on a fade route from the 5-yard line and caught a touchdown in the back left corner of the end zone.
The tight ends showed out on the last day of practice. For the American team, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave looked like a big receiver — showcasing speed and clean route running.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end can track down passes in the air, elevate over defenders and has soft hands. Total package at the tight end position.
On defense, Oklahoma’s Darius Rush was a ball magnet the entire practice. In a one-on-one rep against Princeton wide receiver Andrei Iosivas, Rush ran the route for Iosivas and got himself an interception.
Rush also had a nice diving interception over the middle of the field in 7-on-7s. It felt like when the ball was in the air, you almost expected Rush to be there too to make a play.
I think the player who has made the most money during these practices is Tulane running back Tyjae Spears. His elusiveness and big-play ability has consistently shown up this week, but the route he ran in a one-one-one against Pittsburgh linebacker Sirvocea Dennis was absolutely filthy.
In fairness to Dennis, this is an extremely difficult route to cover, especially when the entire field is open for Spears. But the way the 5-foot-9, 204-pound running back gets low and breaks back to the middle of the field is incredible.
Spears has been fun to watch this week. Wouldn’t surprise me if he sky rockets on draft boards and becomes an early Day 2 pick.
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