The oldest All-American game isn't an easy pick for the most popular amongst recruitniks, as the Under Armour All-America Game has caught up to it over the years, but it's hard to argue with the talent the US Army All-American Bowl has been able to reel in year after year. This year's game features a ton of Ohio State commits/targets, a few big college announcements, obligatory appreciation for our nation's military, and much more.
The East team features five players currently committed to the Buckeyes and two players who are likely to be a part of Ohio State's class come Saturday. Commits on the team include wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, offensive lineman Marcelys Jones, defensive end Jalyn Holmes, linebacker Dante Booker Jr., and athlete Curtis Samuel, who is working out as a defensive back in practices for the game. Two likely Buckeyes on the team are safety Erick Smith and athlete Marshon Lattimore, who like Samuel, is playing cornerback this week. Both are expected to announce their college decisions during the game Saturday. One last player the Buckeyes are still expressing interest in is defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, but he appears to be a long shot as things currently stand.
cant build a better OLB prospect than Dante Booker. total package.— Shannon B. Terry (@sbterry247) December 30, 2013
There are also a few future Buckeyes and a handful of OSU targets playing for the West team. The two commits are offensive guard Demetrius Knox and cornerback Damon Webb. Remaining targets for the 2014 class on the West team include defensive ends Malik McDowell and Solomon Thomas. Both elite defensive linemen are slated to take official visits to Ohio State in late January.
Damon Webb and Bryce Dixon go up for a jump ball, Dixon looks like he had it, but Webb snags it away just before hitting ground. #ArmyBowl— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) December 30, 2013
With all of the talent expected to be on display in this All-American game, there are other players to keep an eye on while taking in the game.
Players on the East offense you'll want to be watching closely include Florida quarterback commit Will Grier, Georgia running back commit Nick Chubb, Tennessee wide receiver commit Josh Malone, who took a couple of visit to Columbus before deciding to play for his home state school at the college level, Michigan offensive line commit Mason Cole, and super athlete Tennessee commit Jalen Hurd, who was very interested in the Bucks at one point in his recruitment.
Lot of buzz in the press box for the Georgia Commits today. Isaiah Wynn with a big block springing Nick Chubb on long run.#ArmyBowl— Rusty Mansell (@Mansell247) December 30, 2013
The East team also has a lot of talent on the defensive side of the football led by Florida defensive line commit Khairi Clark, defensive tackle Matt Elam, who will announce his decision between Alabama and Kentucky at the game, North Carolina State defensive end commit Kentavius Street, Florida corner commit Chris Lammons, and Tennessee safety commit Todd Kelly Jr., who took a visit to Ohio State last spring.
2nd session about to start here for the East Team. Early morning MVP for me was Matt Elam. He is the real deal. #ArmyBowl— Rusty Mansell (@Mansell247) December 30, 2013
Numbers of Buckeye commits/targets:
- #2 ATH Marshon Lattimore
- #4 WR Johnnie Dixon
- #14 ATH Curtis Samuel
- #22 S Erick Smith
- #47 LB Dante Booker Jr.
- #50 OG/C Marcelys Jones
- #65 DT Derrick Nnadi
- #90 DE Jalyn Holmes
Texas A&M quarterback commit Kyle Allen is the non-OSU commit/target I'm most excited to watch this weekend. Others players I'm excited to watch on the West offense include Texas quarterback commit Jerrod Heard, uncommitted running back Joe Mixon, who will be announcing his decision at the game, 6-foot-6-inch wide receiver Mark Andrews, who played with Allen in high school and had some interest in OSU at the beginning of his recruitment, and uncommitted offensive linemen Damien Mama.
Kyle Allen, Josh Frazier, Damon Webb best by position from #West #ArmyBowl practice (FREE) http://t.co/DNRLtAYae6— JC Shurburtt (@jcshurburtt) December 31, 2013
While the West offense is pretty strong, the defense might be even stronger. The D is led by Alabama defensive tackle commit Josh Frazier, LSU linebacker commit Clifton Garrett, who had the Buckeyes at his leader for the first part of his recruitment, linebacker Nyles Morgan, LSU cornerback commit Ed Paris, and multi-talented Oregon athlete commit, Budda Baker.
Oregon commit Budda Baker having a good morning session. Just broke up a pretty thrown ball for Bryce Dixon. #ArmyBowl— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) December 31, 2013
Numbers of Buckeye commits/targets:
- #17 DE Solomon Thomas
- #21 CB Damon Webb
- #67 DE Malik McDowell
- #77 OG Demetrius Knox
Prediction: West 27, East 20
Cast of Characters
One of the nation's top running backs (#18 overall/#1 running back) is ready to choose between Oklahoma, UCLA, and Wisconsin today. All three seem to be pretty close in this race. Oklahoma has been after him the longest, UCLA is the in-state school, while Wisconsin's run heavy offense would be a very good fit for him. I wouldn't be surprised with any decision he announces today.
There will probably be more than one hat on the table, but I think this is one of the easier picks for today's US Army All-American Bowl. Ohio State has lead for the super athlete (#36 overall/#5 cornerback), who will likely be a corner at the college level, for the duration of his recruitment. Really, the only other team that has an extremely small chance is Alabma, but that's very unlikely to happen.
Prediction: Ohio State
One of the nation's top linebackers (#54 overall/#3 inside linebacker) will be getting a very good education no matter what he decides as his two finalist are Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, two schools with prestigious academic reputations. I think Notre Dame is the favorite heading into today, but a Vanderbilt decision wouldn't be too much of a shock.
Prediction: Notre Dame
This is another pretty easy pick as Texas A&M is a pretty big favorite for the massive 6-foot-7-inch, 220 pound wide receiver (#86 overall/#11 wide receiver). Oregon is the other team still in the race, but that would be a pretty shocking development. The Aggies have done a phenomenal job translating their offensive success over the past couple of season to success on the recruiting trail.
Prediction: Texas A&M
One of the best tight ends (#116 overall/#2 tight end) will choose between two in-state schools UCLA and USC. I'm pretty confident we'll see him pick the Bruins, but a selection of the Trojans isn't out of the realm of possibility. Dixon is one of my favorite prospects in this recruiting class and will be a great addition to either of the cross-city rivals.
A couple of months ago I thought Iowa would be the choice for Wallace and I still think they would be the best fit as the Hawkeyes have always done a phenomenal job with offensive lineman #118 overall/#14 offensive tackle), but it appears the 6-foot-6-inch, 305 pound tackle will be playing his college ball in the SEC. The two finalists are Alabama and Arkansas, with the Tide being the decision day favorite.
The Virginia Cavaliers are quietly putting together a rock solid recruiting class headlined by in-state stars Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding and it's probably going to get even better today. Virginia is a heavy favorite to land Kamara over Pittsburgh and Wisconsin. The 6-foot-2-inch, 210 pound athlete (#125 overall/#10 athlete) will probably start his college career playing wide receiver.
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Prediction: Ohio State
This is the most difficult pick of the day to go along with Joe Mixon. Elam will decide between college football power Alabama and in-state Kentucky. The Wildcats, who have been the laughing stock of the SEC for years, have been doing a much better job on the recruiting trail of late. Gaining a commitment from Elam (#166 overall/#16 defensive tackle) would be absolutely huge for them. If he picks Alabama, the Crimson Tide will increase their lead for the number one 2014 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-5-inch, 300 pound defensive tackle (#216 overall/#19 defensive tackle) has seen his stock drop throughout the recruiting process, due to missing his senior season due to an injury and should double-check pictures before tweeting a screenshot , but he definitely has the frame to be a very good player at the college level. If he works hard enough he has a good chance to play in the NFL. Georgia is probably the favorites, followed by Alabama Auburn, Florida State, and Ole Miss.
It's a pretty close race between Oklahoma and UCLA for the standout linebacker (#249 overall/#21 outside linebacker). Florida and USC both remain in the picture, though both are long shots at this point. I think the Bob Stoops and the Sooners, especially hot off their huge upset win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, hold the edge going into the decision, but I wouldn't rule the Bruins completely out of this race.
All rankings per 247Composite