BYU WR Puka Nacua Amazes; Center advanced to the first round?

1) SMU’s Rashi Rice gave up a nap to poop on Tuesday.

Rice knows how to open up, and that trait was on display at the end of Tuesday’s training.

The USA team’s coaches pitted a series of five one-on-one battles — O-linemen vs. D-linemen, linebackers vs. running backs, receivers vs. corners — to close out the session. He was tied at two wins on defense, and two on offense.

That left Rice battling South Carolina’s CB Darius Rush in the tiebreaker. Rice won just off target and quickly got the breakaway on the way to the drill, but Shepherd QB Tyson Bagnet’s putt was wide. Technically this was a win for the defense – meaning Rice and his teammates owed 15 pressure passes.

“It’s okay,” Rice said with a smile, “we’ll have that tomorrow, if they give us another chance.”

Rice stood out on the first day and appears to be among the most talented receivers at this year’s event. He also hoped to be among the most prepared.

“I’ve been studying all night and all morning,” he said. “I didn’t put the playbook down. I was like, ‘I can’t take a nap. I had to listen to these plays. I didn’t want to come out here and be like the guy who didn’t know what (he) was doing. Everyone here was competing for jobs, and I didn’t want to. To be unprepared and look foolish.”

Rice, who is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds in the Senior Bowl, caught 96 passes for 1,355 yards and 10 TDs in 12 games last season. Tuesday was his most competitive game in two months, as he last played on November 26.

“I had to pick up my pace a bit,” he said, “and it took a few reps. Those corners are fast.”

2) TCU QB Max Duggan’s up-and-down day ends on a high note in full teamwork.

Duggan spoke Tuesday morning, reflecting on what he called an “eventful” and “special” season with the Horned Frogs, but one that came with many twists and turns.

He initially lost his fight to Chandler Morris for the starting QB job but won it back when Morris was injured on the opener. Duggan never looked back, leading TCU to the College Football Playoff and being named a Heisman Trophy finalist. Then the season ended on a bang after Georgia upset the Frogs in the title game, 62-7.

“We kicked our butts, but you know, there’s a lot to learn from him,” Duggan said. “… (learning) how to deal with something (that was) a failure in our eyes, and how to rise from it, you know.”

Duggan started slowly on the single and was passed by Alabama’s DeMarcco Hellams for an interception in a 7-on-7 action.

But in full team reps, Duggan is beginning to shine. He completed all five of his passes in the session, and avoided rushing twice to find Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo, who also had a good day.

It’s been a good start to the week for Duggan, an unconventional passer-by who has nonetheless helped his stock significantly over the past six months. Bowl executive Jim Nagy said Duggan worked himself into the top of the third day of the draft.

3) Georgia RB Kenny McIntosh has an injury scare.

McIntosh entered the Senior Bowl week as one of the hottest linebackers in mobile but left his first practice early with what initially appeared to be a daunting injury.

McIntosh fell and was taken care of by the coaches after a road run and attempted wrecking loose ball on Hancock Whitney. He remained frustrated for several minutes before leaving under his own power.

Fortunately, the injury is not considered serious. NFL Network insider Tom Bellicero reported that he had a calf muscle cramp. Several players spoke after practice about the unexpectedly hot weather conditions and how coaches reminded them over and over again to hydrate.

McIntosh passed his first test at the event weigh-in, coming in at 210 pounds (his listed Georgia weight) and just under 6 feet tall. Hopefully he’ll be able to come back to practice this week and show off the skills that allowed him to rush for 829 yards and gain 504 yards last season for the home championship.

4) Ronnie Bell works through the downs to get strong on day one.

In the middle of a national team workout, Michigan WR Ronnie Bell ran to the sideline, did 15 push-ups and then ran back down the field for more work.

“I can’t leave here, man,” said Bill. “I have to be at 100 percent. So I go, do push-ups after that rep, but then, you know, I have to keep moving for the next play and try to keep a good practice.”

Bell did so, dusting Ohio State defensive back Ronnie Hickman on a slanting road during the one-on-one. He has also shown the ability to adapt to throws off the goal and catch balls out of his frame. The latter was something he particularly wanted to show off this week, Bell said.

“Without a doubt,” he said, “it must be in my heart, you know, that I may catch anything thrown at me, so that if it is near, I must put it on display to be able to do it. I am not the biggest man (5-11, 192), but I have the reach (31 1/8 inches of arms) to make these plays.”

5) If you are a Steelers fan and want to help out for a QB Kenny BeckettThis could be your lucky season. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was front and center Offensive line drills during the national team session.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, a year ago, Tomlin seemed to be, too Paste it on the quarterback. The Steelers ended up drafting Pickett, a 2022 Senior Bowl attendee, in the first round. The offensive line is Higher need for Pittsburgh this off season. Will they address the situation in the first round? we will see.

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