The National team had several high profile players on its roster, including Alabama Crimson Tide Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. On Day 1, however, we spotlight disruptive defensive tackles, an FCS slot wideout and a flexible Fighting Irish defender in our Photo Gallery recap.
On Day 1, UCLA DL Osa Odighizuwa (No. 92 pictured) worked over guards as a three-technique defensive tackle, using a deft combination of power and quickness. He occasionally lost balance once up the field. Texas' Ta'Quon Graham (No. 49 pictured) had some issues with burly offensive guards on down blocks (due to pad level), but did show power when posting interior linemen as a one-technique defensive tackle.
Notre Dame DE Daelin Hayes (No. 9 pictured) bent around Oklahoma OT Adrian Ealy (pictured at the top) to force Arkansas QB Feleipe Franks to step up in the pocket on Day 1 of the National Team's practice session. Hayes later captured Franks on a naked bootleg and forced him to throw an errant pass that was nearly intercepted by California cornerback Camryn Bynum.
In 2019, Purdue LB Derrick Barnes (No. 19 pictured) was asked to rush the passer quite a bit from an outside linebacker spot. His physicality was evident when he met Michigan FB Ben Mason in the hole on a lead isolation on Day 1 of 2021 Senior Bowl practices. UNC RB Michael Carter (No. 7 pictured) displayed his unique footwork to maneuver through line gaps throughout the week. Much like in school, Carter was efficient running behind pulling offensive linemen on Day 1.
Washington DL Levi Onwuzurike (pictured swimming No. 71 Quinn Meinerz in the middle) used his quickness to get upfield penetration on Day 1 of the 2021 Senior Bowl practices. In one-on-one pass rush drills, his inconsistent hand usage allowed Meinerz to sit in the chair versus him. During a 9-on-7 period (run drill), Onwuzurike was flattened by MTSU OL Robert Jones. As evidenced in the picture above, pad level is a concern at times for Onwuzurike.
Washington's Keith Taylor, Jr. played in just three games in 2020 and South Dakota State's Cade Johnson did not play at all. Johnson's efficiency working in the slot extended to the sidelines, where he allowed his body to die along the chalk to stay inbounds. Taylor, Jr. had some success working against bigger receivers, but left an interception opportunity on the ground in a one-on-one period. Inside speed releases give him issues on occasion (Wallace, 1-on-1, Senior Bowl '21, Day 1).
Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah (No. 88 pictured) couldn't make this grab in man coverage versus Illinois State DB Christian Uphoff. Oklahoma's Tre Norwood had a strong break off the hash to help contend. Yeboah, a former Temple Owl, impressed in pass protection and produced some solid blocks as a down tight end turning out defenders.