Alabama prep football stars Cameron Echols-Luper and Jason Smith will have to flip the script Saturday at the Cramton Bowl for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Both played quarterback in high school, and both are making the switch to receiver.
“It’s a difficult transition, but at the same time, it’s easy because I can read coverage a lot quicker because I was at a quarterback’s standpoint for the last four years,” Echols-Luper said. “I can find out what (the defense is) going to do, and I can find an open hole and get open for the quarterback.”
Echols-Luper played for Auburn High and is committed to Texas A&M. Smith played for McGill-Toolen and has committed to Auburn, he even has the orange and blue braces to prove it. Smith said he realizes the difficulties of being on the other end of the pass.
“Now, I see what I yell at my receivers about,” Smith said. “If you drift a little bit, that can mess up the whole play. The depth of your route has a big deal to do with everything. When I do something wrong, I’m like, ‘Dang, now I feel bad for yelling at my guys.'”
Echols-Luper said the hardest part about the transition is being more physical on an every-down basis. Chris Yeager, coach of Mountain Brook High and head coach for the all-star game said both are coming in to their own.
“If we can just get the ball in their hands, we feel like they can make plays,” Yeager said. “The big thing of playing receiver is getting the timing down, and they’ve been on the delivering end of that thing. I’m sure it’s a little bit different for them, but for where we’re at, I think they’re doing fantastic. Those guys are athletes, they can learn to do anything.”
Already rivals: With five Auburn commits and two heading to Tuscaloosa, the Alabama All-Stars have already immersed themselves in the Iron Bowl rivalry. They may be on the same team this week, but Alabama commit ArDarius Stewart said the battle has already started.
“Yesterday in the hallway, we had a little scuffle a little screaming battle or whatever, but it was just for fun,” Stewart said. “There’s always something friendly going on.”
Stewart is playing safety for the all-stars but will play as a wide receiver for Nick Saban. Auburn defensive back commit Kamryn Melton said he is ready to guard Stewart.
“We’re just friendly competition,” Melton said. “I know ArDarius Stewart, we’re on the same side of the ball this week, but it’s pretty much competition.”
Auburn wide receiver commit Earnest Robinson said he is above it all.
“There’s no trash talking,” Robinson said. “We just have more talent than them. So, yea.”
Keep your enemies closer: Mississippi all-stars Deon Mix and David Mahaffey last saw each other in the 6A state championship where Mix and South Panola beat Mahaffey and Brandon 31-23. Now, they share a room at Comfort Inn for the week.
“It’s kind of ironic,” Mahaffey said. “We played in the 6A state championship two weeks ago against each other, and now we’re rooming together. It’s weird, but it’s been cool. We’ve gotten along really well, and it’s been fun.”
Mix said he hasn’t gloated to Mahaffey about winning the state title, not yet anyway.
“I haven’t been talking any trash to him,” Mix said, “haven’t even mentioned the state game yet. But I’ll mention it later on.”
Quick hits: Stewart said he plans to give Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper a “little competition.”… Robinson said he is 100 percent committed to Auburn but still plans on visiting Florida, Florida State and LSU.