LAKE BUENA VISTA — For blue chip receivers like Ermon Lane (6-2, 196, Homestead, FL Homestead) and Travis Rudolph (6-1, 188, West Palm Beach, FL Cardinal Newman) high school football comes easy. With Lane’s speed and big play ability, it’s easy for him to run right past cornerbacks and go up to make plays. A receiver with hands and technique like Rudolph can easily separate from your standard high school cornerback.
The cornerbacks they are facing this week at the Under Armour All-American game are anything but the standard cornerbacks they have faced the past four years in the state of Florida.
On team Nitro, Ermon Lane spent most of the second day of practice lined up across from Michigan commit and blue chip defensive back Jabrill Peppers (6-1, 205, Paramus, NJ, Paramus Catholic), who Lane said is probably the biggest talker at the All-American game.
Peppers isn’t all mouth, though. He may talk the talk but he also walks the walk and has pushed Lane every rep that has pitted the two against each other. It’s an opportunity and a new experience that Lane has enjoyed saying he has to bring his “A game” every play.
“It’s good going up against him because you’re getting better every play,” Lane said. “He plays real good; he’s a good cornerback. I’ve never gone up against anybody like that. It’s a good experience.”
Over on Team Highlight, Rudolph has his hands full with a matchup battle of his own. Rudolph has been lined up against Florida target Adoree’ Jackson (5-10, 182, Gardena, CA Juniper Serra) and Marlon Humphrey (6-0, 179, Hoover, AL Hoover). Jackson got the best of just about everyone he lined up against on day two but Rudolph has held his own the first two days.
While most players with his kind of talent rely on their God-given ability, Rudolph knows that he must work at the little things because hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
“Definitely just the little details,” Rudolph said when asked what he is working on this week. “Catching the ball, running my route precise. All that.”
“It just shows me that little details and technique is what it takes to be successful at the next level.”
Humphrey is one of the best cornerbacks in the country but Rudolph has been able to use his surgically precise route running to get the best of him on several occasions through the first two days of practice. Rudolph studies how Humphrey, Jackson and all of the cornerbacks here at the All-American game cover him and uses it to get an advantage.
“I’m just looking at all his techniques,” he said. “I’m seeing different techniques from different cornerbacks and they’re A1, dirty.”
Lane and Rudolph were standouts in high school — you have to be to earn an invitation to this game — but they aren’t just happy to simply have earned an invitation. Both players have stepped up their game this week and are shining above the other stars through the first two practices.
“You have to bring your ‘A’ game; this is the All-American game,” Lane said. “The competition and the practices. I’ve never practiced like this before, you gotta be on time, you gotta have timing, practice fast.”