Known for it’s incredible plays and theatrical commitment announcements, the annual Under Armour All-America Game took place tonight in Orlando and featured some of the top prospects in the nation going head-to-head with each other.
At Camping World Stadium, it was Team Highlight coming out on top, holding off a late Team Spotlight charge to win 23-21.
Highlight started fast, getting out to a 20-0 lead behind three straight Maurice Washington touchdowns. The uncommitted Texas RB put on a show for the ESPN viewers and was the best player on the field (he’s a 3-star by the way), twice scoring on short runs up the gut, and adding a 27 yard touchdown catch on a wheel route thrown by UCLA commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Washington also had a 65 yard kick return where he started left, cutback right all the way across the field, and galloped up the sidelines before getting taken down near the Spotlight 30.
Spotlight wasn’t about to get run off the field though, and woke up in the second half. Led by 2 touchdowns from Auburn QB commit Joey Gatewood (one on the ground, one through the air), Spotlight clawed themselves back into it. Midway through the fourth quarter, Miami signee and Team Hightlight TE Brevin Jordan helped to set up what would be the game-winning field goal, taking a pass from Thompson-Robinson and weaving his way through the defense nearly 50 yards inside the Spotlight 25. Texas A&M commit Seth Small then knocked through the 26 yard field goal.
After a Gatewood keeper made it a 23-21 game with under 2 minutes remaining, Spotlight needed a miracle... and they got one. A desperation Spotlight onside kick was recovered by none other than Miami signee Al Blades Jr., who kick-saved the ball from going out of bounds and hoped on it. However, the Highlight defense rose up and put the clamps down. On fourth down and the clock running out, Spotlight QB and Stanford commit Jack West’s pass fell short of it’s intended target and Highlight rushed the field to celebrate their victory.
Here are the Canes commits and targets who participated in this year’s game:
TE Brevin Jordan (Miami Signee)
Jordan made noise all week in practice and got the start at TE for Highlight. His first catch went for a loss of 2 yards on a drag route with a shoestring grab. Hauling in the low throw from HS teammate Thompson-Robinson caused him to slow down and lose his balance, tripping himself up behind the line untouched.
Jordan’s second catch was also notable: it came on a gadget play, wide receiver reverse pass from Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor where Jordan made the catch and got hit around the 5. Jordan stumbled and tried to stretch the ball out across the goal line, but was ruled down at the Spotlight 2 yard line for a 24 yard reception. Washington punched it in on the next play.
The Las Vegas product showed off his array of skills on his final catch of the night, snatching a dart from Thompson-Robinson near the sidelines and bursting up-field. Jordan demonstrated his field vision in weaving through traffic, making 2 defenders miss before getting tripped up inside the Spotlight 25 for a nearly 50 yard catch. That catch set up what ended up being the game-winning field goal by Small.
Miami-bound TE Brevin Jordan with an electrifying play: pic.twitter.com/LePscnBae7— Matt Porter (@mattyports) January 5, 2018
Jordan was also no slouch as a blocker, setting the edge on runs and holding his own in pass protection. He finished the game with 3 catches for 72 yards (all stats unofficial) in what was certainly a showcase in his bid to prove he’s the nation’s top tight end. Good luck keeping Jordan off the field at Miami next year.
S Gurvan Hall (Miami Signee)
Hall subbed in midway through the first quarter at safety and displayed his range on a play in the second quarter, reading the quarterback’s eyes and coming across the field to break up a pass near the sidelines. Hall ran out of real estate and just missed the INT. The UM signee finished with the 1 PBU.
CB Al Blades Jr. (Miami Signee)
Blades Jr. started at CB for Team Spotlight, making a tackle on Highlight’s opening offensive drive. Blades Jr. was not targeted all game and got blocked out of a play on a long Washington run. He had a mostly quiet day until making what might have been the most clutch play of the game at that point.
With the clock running under 2 minutes, Spotlight scored a TD to bring their deficit to 23-21 and needed to recover the onside kick to stay alive. The kick looked like it was going out of bounds, but Blades Jr. kick-saved the ball at the last second and pounced on it for the recovery. Blades Jr. finished with the one tackle and the FR that led to him wearing a makeshift Turnover Chain.
Al Blades, Jr.’s onside kick recovery pic.twitter.com/2IIAc8kCq2— Peter Ariz (@PeterAriz) January 5, 2018
The turnover chain at UA All American Gang @CanesInSight pic.twitter.com/p9GZfT6GTS— Erick Marrero (@ErickMarreroU) January 5, 2018
OT/OG Delone Scaife (Miami Signee)
Scaife got a lot of playing time and seemed to be one of Spotlight’s most trusted lineman, but had an overall uneven performance. He came off the bench at RT and got blown by to give up a sack and a QB pressure to UGA DE commit Brenton Cox. Scaife also gave up a second QB takedown on what was a coverage sack after Gatewood held the ball too long and ran right into the rusher.
He looked much more comfortable after he was moved inside to guard in the 3rd quarter. Scaife obliterated the man across from him six (!) times on pancake blocks and opened up holes in the running game repeatedly. The Miami Southridge star was also whistled for a holding penalty in the third quarter and also drew a personal foul when he was pushed by Illinois commit Calvin Avery after pancaking him to the turf.
Scaife at RT pic.twitter.com/Gnx0HPIlkv— #CanesfamRob (@flkeyssb20) January 5, 2018
In all, Scaife showed off his raw strength throughout the game, while speed off the edge gave him trouble. He’ll likely start off his career at guard at Miami, at least until he adjusts to the speed of the college game.
OG Cleveland Reed (Miami Signee)
Reed came off the bench for Spotlight and saw a lot of playing time at RG next to future teammate Scaife at RT. The Miami signee was on the field for Spotlight’s failed final comeback drive late in the fourth quarter and had an uneventful day, which is probably a net positive as an O-Lineman.
OT Nicholas Petit-Frere (Miami Target)
Every school in America is coming after this 5-star tackle and Petit-Frere got the start for Spotlight at LT. He played the majority of the game matched up against a talented Highlight D-Line featuring 5-star defensive ends Eyabi Anoma, KJ Henry, and Brenton Cox.
Petit-Frere had a rough night overall. He held up well in the first half, but struggled with the raw speed Highlight was bringing off the edge in the second half. Petit-Frere gave up 2 sacks and multiple pressures, including a crucial breakdown in the final seconds, letting a rusher blow by him for a sack with Spotlight trying to mount a comeback.
Regardless of this one bad game, Petit-Frere is still one of the premier high school tackles on the market right now and Miami is clamoring to get him on campus next month.
OG Christian Meadows (Miami Target)
Meadows got the least playing time of any Miami commit or target. He wasn’t on the field much, but he didn’t make any huge busts in his PT, so, like Reed, that’s a good thing. Stacy Searels is pushing for this FSU commit to flip to the Canes and Meadows will be on campus on 1/26 to give UM a chance to do just that.
The UA All-America Game has become a hot ticket for recruits wanting to announce their college intentions on a national stage. While there was no drama or theatrics this year and no Miami targets were scheduled to declare, four highly-recruited prospects chose a program for the next 3-5 years tonight, two of which were from South Florida.
Tyreke Smith, DE, Cleveland, OH (Cleveland Heights): Ohio State
Anthony Schwartz, WR, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Heritage): Auburn
Nik Bonitto, DE/LB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas): Oklahoma
Jayson Oweh, DE, Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy): Penn State
You may remember Schwartz and Bonitto as players Miami went after early in the cycle, but backed off on as time went on. Oweh got a late offer from Mark Richt’s staff at the end of October and actually had Miami in his original final 5. He planned an official visit to Coral Gables, before cancelling those plans and narrowing his choices to Ohio State and Penn State in late November.
That’s it and that’s all Canes fans. Overall, it was a good showing for Storm18 tonight against some of the best competition in the country in the first major all-star game of the cycle. As expected. Stay tuned for coverage of the next major high school all-star game, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which has plenty of Miami commits/targets as well and is taking place this weekend. And, as always...