The Under Armour All-American game has pulled itself equal with the Army All-American Bowl over the past couple of years. This year's game features the top 14 players in the 247Sports Composite rankings, plenty of high-profile college announcements, a couple of Ohio State commits/targets, cool uniforms, and plenty more.
Two Ohio State commits are going to be participating in this year's UA game in the form of offensive lineman Jamarco Jones and linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who is currently the Buckeyes' top commit in their 2014 recruiting class. Jones (Team Highlight) and McMillan (Team Nitro) will be playing on opposite teams for the last time in awhile. McMillan will be starting classes at Ohio State just a few days after the conclusion of the game. Keep an eye out for both of these future Buckeyes.
There are also a couple of Ohio State's remaining targets who will be participating in the game in cornerbacks Tony Brown and Jermaine Roberts, the latter of which is currently a soft verbal commitment to the Texas Longhorns. Brown will announce his college decision during the game (more later), while Roberts will take an official visit to Columbus later this month. Both of these defensive backs would be welcome additions to Ohio State' secondary, which already has a lot of young talent.
As this game features some of the nation's top recruits, there are also a couple of other players to keep an eye on while watching the game:
Offensive players on Team Nitro to watch include Florida State running back commit Dalvin Cook, speedy Minnesota running back commit Jeff Jones, Florida wide receiver commit Ermon Lane, Georgia tight end commit (and former Buckeye target) Jeb Blazevich, and Missouri offensive line commit Andy Bauer. The 6-foot-6-inch, 305 pound offensive tackle commit was also considering the Bucks at one point in his recruitment.
Jeff Jones more than holding own. Tearing it up. Just filed something about him runs in morning. Would be instant impact for Minn. @Trill40— Jeremy Crabtree ESPN (@jeremycrabtree) December 30, 2013
The strongest part of Team Nitro is their defense, which features a couple of elite prospects. Top players to watch include Alabama defensive end commit Da'Shawn Hand, Georgia defensive tackle commit Lamont Gaillard, Ohio State linebacker commit Raekwon McMillan, Michigan cornerback commit Jabrill Peppers, and safety Laurence "Hootie" Jones, who actually grew up rooting for the Scarlet and Gray.
Team Highlight's offense appears to be a bit stronger than that of Team Nitro's. Their offensive attack will be led by LSU quarterback commit (and former Buckeye target) Brandon Harris, top running back Leonard Fournette, wide receiver Speedy Noil, Notre Dame tight end commit Tyler Luatua, and Alabama offensive tackle commit Cameron Robinson, who is rated as the top offensive linemen in the nation and the number two overall prospect.
Team Highlight also showcase a very strong defensive, which features Texas A&M defensive end commit Myles Garrett, who had OSU in his final five, Virginia defensive tackle commit Andrew Brown, Penn State defensive tackle commit Thomas Holley (who was once interested in the Buckeyes, before OSU cooled on him), Auburn linebacker commit Tre' Williams, and Virginia safety commit Quin Blanding. Ohio State finished second for the five-star defensive back.
DE Myles Garrett putting on a clinic against LT Cameron Robinson during 11on11. Sacks, PBUs, TFLs just dominating.— Josh Newberg (@joshnewberg247) December 30, 2013
Prediction: Highlight 14 Nitro 10
Numbers to Know
5 of the 247Composite's Top 25 players will be announcing their college decision. We'll profile them below, but the group includes RB Leonard Fournette (#1 overall), CB Tony Brown (#9), WR Speedy Noil (#11), DT Gerald Willis (#21), and CB Jalen Tabor (#24).
The 40 time of 5-star Ohio State commit, linebacker prospect Raekwon McMillan. While perhaps not overwhelmingly impressive at face value, when you consider that McMillan checks in at 6-2 242, that kind of speed coupled with that frame is not the kind of unstoppable force you want anything to do with.
The 247Composite average rating for the other Buckeye pledge in attendance at this particular all-star game, Chicago, IL product Jamarco Jones. The 6-5 290 pound offensive lineman's score is based on a formulaic average of each of the four major recruiting services. Jones' figure is good enough for a Composite 4-star rating and to make him the 5th best tackle prospect in the entire 2014 class.
Cast of Characters
The nation's top prospect (#1 overall/ #1 running back) is set to choose between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers Thursday afternoon. He took an official visit to LSU on December 6th and to Alabama on December 13th. While most people have the 6-foot-1-inch, 225 pound running back pegged to the Tigers, I wouldn't be surprised if Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide pulled off the upset.
One of the nation's fastest players, Tony Brown (#9 overall/#3 cornerback), is going to announce his decision between Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Texas, and USC. The speedy corner, who clocked a 4.35 40-yard dash time earlier this year, has been considered an LSU lean for the duration of his recruitment, as his older sister runs track for the Tigers. A few days ago rumors started to circulate than the standout corner would choose the Buckeyes, but I can't see that happening.
The nation's top wide receiver (#11 overall/#1 wide receiver) will choose between LSU and Texas A&M at the UA game. The Tigers will look to add one of their top in-state targets as a part of what could be the biggest recruiting day in the history of their program. Texas A&M can't be counted out as they've been able to use Johnny Manziel and their offense as a very good recruiting pitch.
Gerald Willis III
One of the nation's top defenders (#21 overall/#2 defensive tackle) and five-star recruit Gerald Willis is yet another elite talent set to announce at the UA game. While there will be other hats on the table when he announces his decision on ESPN, I think LSU is a pretty heavy favorite to land Willis.
I thought Maryland was in pretty good position to land the 6-foot-1-inch, 180 pound corner (#24 overall/#4 cornerback) until he eliminated them a couple of days ago. His two finalist are Alabama and Arizona, where his teammate, running back Jonathan Haden, is committed. While there's an outside chance he picks the Wildcats, I would be pretty surprised if he didn't roll with the Crimson Tide.
The Texas high school football star (#27 overall/#2 safety) is set to announce his decision between Florida and LSU is St. Petersburg today. A month or so ago, I thought he was going to be a Longhorn, but he no longer has interest in part because of the unclear coaching situation in Austin. While there's a chance he'll pick the Gators, I'm pretty confident he'll be one of the many great additions to the Tigers' class that we'll see today.
This is one of the harder predictions to make for players announcing at today's game. Alabama, Florida, and Florida State are all pretty close in this race. This top prospect (#69 overall/#7 wide receiver) took an official visit to Florida State on November 1st and one to Alabama on December 13th. He didn't take an official to Florida. I think Alabama and Florida State are the best bets for the 6-foot-1-inch, 185 pound receiver.
Prediction: Florida State
All rankings per 247Composite