January 5, 2012

Pipkins enjoying Army practices

SAN ANTONIO - Perhaps no prospect has improved his stock during U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices as Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins. The four-star prospect was already ranked No. 59 overall and No. 7 at the position by Rivals, but has shown that he may be underrated by dominating at West Team practices.

However, Pipkins had a rough stretch on the practice field earlier this week. He dominated Monday's session, and had a tough time replicating that performance the following day.

Playing a little too fast has been about the only thing Pipkins has done wrong this week. The 6-3, 330-pounder moves with the quickness of a much smaller player, and has shown the ability to penetrate into the backfield or hold up against double-teams at the point of attack.

His strong early performance (and his vocal leadership style) earned Pipkins the distinction of a captaincy for the West squad. That was one of his goals this week, and the other - a win for the West team - will have to wait until Saturday at 1 p.m. EST, when the Army All-American Bowl takes place (airing live on NBC). He will have three future teammates alongside him, with linebackers James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone and offensive lineman Erik Magnuson slated to start for the West team. The group of future Michigan commits, which also includes East offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, has grown tight over the course of the week.

Following the Army All-American Bowl, the next stage of Pipkins' football career won't take place until he moves up to Ann Arbor this summer. While success on the gridiron looks to be in the cards for the talented youngster, he's also looking forward to the academic experience at Michigan.

If Pipkins can live up to the hype on the field as a defensive tackle, Michigan fans will have less to worry about, as well.

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