June 3, 2012

2012 Nebraska Shrine Bowl top performers

LINCOLN, Neb. - HuskerOnline.com was on hand for the 2012 Nebraska Shrine Bowl on Saturday. With the South team winning 34-18, there were several top performers that earned game balls. Recruiting Analyst Nate Clouse breaks down some of the top players from the day, including the most valuable players and players that shined for both squads.

Offensive MVP: Brandon Reilly, WR/DB 6-2, 190, Lincoln Southwest

Nebraska walk-on Brandon Reilly was everywhere for the South team on Saturday. He played safety, receiver, and even returned kicks for the South squad. Reilly was very impressive as a receiver and came close to breaking the all-time record of 120 receiving yards set by Gretna wide out Cole Spurgeon in the 2011 Shrine Bowl. Reilly's speed and hands were put on display during the game as he made several catches in traffic on the day. I was also impressed by his route running and the excellent body control that he showed on the day.

Defensive MVP: Brad Simpson LB, 6-1, 190, Ralston

Nebraska walk-on Brad Simpson set the tone for the South team right off the bat as he sacked North quarterback Ryker Fyfe on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later he intercepted a pass from Fyfe and returned it for a touchdown giving the South an early lead that they would not give up for the rest of the day. Simpson played with a great combination and speed and physicality on Saturday as a part of a talented South linebacker corps. He played sideline-to-sideline all day long and was consistently in position to make plays for his team. Simpson was solid in coverage and was not easily fooled on play-action or misdirection plays from the North.

Five who shined for the South:

South offensive line

-The South's offensive line was big, physical, and seemed to get stronger as the game went along on Saturday. Head coach Leigh Schmale ran a lot behind the right side highlighted by the strong play of guard Garrett Johns (Nebraska walk-on) and Mike Shoff (South Dakota State signee). Maybe the most impressive play in my opinion though came from left tackle Samuel Hahn (North Dakota State signee). Hahn displayed solid strength in the run game and very good pass protection for quarterback Derek McGinnis.

Fernando Hildreth WR/DB, 5-11, 160, Boys Town

-If you didn't know who Fernando Hildreth was coming into the game you did afterwards. Hildreth shined offensively as a wide out and defensively as a corner. He too had some kick returns where you could really see his initial burst and speed on display. He had two difficult open field tackles from his cornerback position that he made look easy. He also nearly picked off a Ryker Fyfe pass while covering a post route as well.

Andy Janovich LB, 6-2, 210, Gretna

-Nebraska walk-on Andy Janovich is just on another level physically. The South team coaches took advantage of his size and athleticism by lining him up as a linebacker, fullback, and even as a wide receiver during a few plays. Janovich's physical superiority was on display as he caught a pass in the flat from his fullback position in the red-zone. He proceeded to run over his own blocker as well as two to three defenders before he was finally brought down.

Derek McGinnis QB, 6-4, 204, Crete

-North Dakota State signee Derek McGinnis was another bright spot on the South squad on Saturday. He showed the ability to be a pocket passer as well as the ability to extend the play and throw on the run if need be. Whether he was on the move or not McGinnis always seemed to be able to get his feet under him in order to make a nice pass instead of relying solely on his arm strength. He also knows how to use his size and speed in the run game. He ran for a very tough three yard gain on a late fourth down play that helped seal up the victory.

Drew Ott LB/DL, 6-5, 247, Giltner

-University of Iowa signee Drew Ott was the jack of all trades on Saturday. He very well could have set the record for having lined up at five or more different positions during the game. Ott was at his best on the defensive side of the ball though. He showed the ability to run and play in space from his linebacker position. He really created havoc for the North team when he was lined up on the defensive line though. Ott was disruptive nearly every snap he played at defensive tackle or defensive end as the North line could not handle his speed and strength.

Five who shined for the South:

Sam Foltz WR/P, 6-2, 185, Grand Island

-Nebraska walk-on Sam Foltz wasn't targeted much as a wide receiver but when he was he made the most of it. He ran an excellent route and used his speed to get behind the defender on his 35 yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Foltz also had several nice punts on the day as the South defense stalled the North's offense on multiple occasions. Foltz wasn't quite kicking as well as I had seen him do in practice but was still impressive for a player who doesn't dedicate all of his time to punting.

Ryker Fyfe QB, 6-5, 205, Grand Island

-Nebraska walk-on Ryker Fyfe had a nightmare beginning to the game on Saturday. He was sacked on the first play and had a deflection returned for a touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. Once Fyfe was able to settle down and get in to a rhythm though he showed why he is the best quarterback in the state. He made several throws while under pressure that had plenty of zip on them and were accurate as well. Two of his best passes of the day went for touchdowns to Foltz and Terry Grigsby.

Terry Grigsby WR, 6-2, 185 Omaha North

-The Southwest Missouri State signee was one constant that the North squad could rely play after play. Grigsby was the North's playmaker as he caught nearly every ball that was thrown his way and fought for some tough yards after the catch. He ran a great route and had a nice catch on the run during his fourth quarter touchdown catch from Fyfe.

Say Von Miller DT, 6-0, 267, Lincoln High

-For as big and physical as the South team's offensive line was, defensive tackle Say Von Miller had a good day. He was very active and showed the ability to get extension and let plays develop rather than shoot gaps.

Jake Schany LB, 6-2, 210, Blair

-Univeristy of Ohio signee Jake Schany may have been involved in a few of the hardest hits of the day. Schany isn't always the flashiest player on the field, but as I mention earlier in the week, he always seems to be in the right spot at the right time. Schany is a rangy linebacker who just has a nose for the ball. He is a physical player that should do well once he gets to Ohio.

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