While the first major high school football all-star game wrapped up last night, the second and final will take place this weekend, and features even more Hurricanes prospects of interest than the Under Armour All-America Game.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is a draw for some of the most talented recruits in the country and is hosted annually in San Antonio, Texas. The U.S. Army Bowl is entering it’s 18th year and is a tradition that goes back even further than the Under Armour Game. It’s the best football the high school level has to offer partnering with the U.S. Army. What could be better!
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the nation’s premier high school football game. It has helped showcase the Nation’s most promising high school athletes – athletes who have gone on to achieve college, professional and personal greatness – and talented band members, some of whom have gone on to become U.S. Army Soldiers. More than 100 football players and 125 marching band musicians and color guard members have been selected from across the country to participate in a week focused on leadership and teamwork alongside Army Soldiers and senior Army leaders in San Antonio, Texas. Each U.S. Army All-American is chosen not just because he or she excels on the football field or in music, but because each one embodies the values of Army Soldiers – values like Loyalty, Respect and Integrity.
The week-long celebration, starting Monday, Jan. 1, and leading up to the Bowl Game, provides a platform for Soldiers to engage with students, families and community officials while showcasing the Army’s latest innovations in technology and its ongoing commitment to the development of America’s future leaders.
The 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at the San Antonio Alamodome, and will be broadcast live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.
The game is sponsored by Adidas and, if you’ve seen any Miami games in the past few years, you know the players will be rocking some gnarly gear on Saturday:
We're high speed now— #ArmyBowl (@ArmyAllAmerican) December 28, 2017
The best players in the country will honor the bravery of past, present and future U.S. Army soldiers when they debut the Primeknit #A1 Uniform & #adizero 5-Star 7.0 Primeknit Cleats.#ArmyBowl #teamadidas ///
Coming 1/6/18: https://t.co/x8rCfaXCmN pic.twitter.com/q7Soaa1fdf
Practice has been going on all week, and some prospects are beginning to generate major buzz. As promised, nine Miami commits and targets (compared to seven in the UA Game) will take the field on Saturday, and here’s what to know about each, including their chances of impacting the game.
Since the rosters are split geographically East and West, it makes sense that the East team is the one to watch from a Miami perspective. Four commits and three targets make seven players to look for on the East squad, with six being from the state of Florida.
QB Jarren Williams (Miami Signee)
For a high school QB, Williams has a very complete game. He isn’t afraid to take risks downfield and has the requisite arm strength to back it up. Williams has the pinpoint accuracy to work the quick game as well. Basically, the Miami signee has the arm talent to make any throw into even the tightest windows. Williams’ mechanics do not break down when he gets outside the pocket, where his athleticism allows him to make something out of nothing throwing on the run or picking up yards with his legs. Additionally, he shows the ability to read a defense and make pre-snap adjustments and the Lawrenceville (GA) star hopes to be a factor in Miami 2018 QB competition when he enrolls next week.
While #1 overall QB and recruit in the nation Trevor Lawrence is also on the East team and is expected to draw the start, Williams has been dropping dimes like this all week and will certainly get his chance to impress the Texas crowd.
RB Lorenzo Lingard (Miami Signee)
Lingard had a monster senior season at University High, and looks to follow that up with a dynamite performance against some of the best players in the nation. So far, so good for the early UM signee. He’s demonstrated why he’s such a tantalizing prospect, displaying his exciting blend of speed and power both inside and outside the tackles. Hell, at a well-built 6’0” 190 pounds, he even won the push-up contest.
WATCH: Push-up, Hot dog eating contests take place at the @ArmyAllAmerican Bowl. #Miami RB signee Lorenzo Lingard wins the push-up title, while the team of #Clemson OL signee Jackson Carman and LB Dax Hollifield down the most hot dogs.https://t.co/zgdNes9Yjq (Photos included) pic.twitter.com/Q6UQHNNgMs— Tom Loy (@TomLoy247) January 4, 2018
Here Lingard shows burst in getting to the edge and into the endzone. If he doesn’t get the start on Saturday, Lingard will be seeing the field a lot regardless. It’s only a matter of time before this five-star is the starting RB for Miami.
WR Mark Pope (Miami Signee)
Pope has been as advertised all week in practice and is showing some incredible explosiveness. His route running is some of the most advanced I’ve ever seen in a HS prospect and Pope’s wiggle and subtle head fakes are just enough to get defenders off-balance. While the knock on Pope is his slight frame, he’s made DB’s pay for trying to come up and be physical with him, beating the jam, getting behind coverage, and converting on deep balls. Oh, yeah, and the most important part of being a receiver? Pope’s got that down too: he doesn’t drop anything.
Here’s him beating Miami target Tyson Campbell, who has been one of the most consistent DB’s all week in practice.
I expect Pope to draw the start tomorrow, and he’ll most definitely be making an impact in Miami’s 2018 receiver rotation.
OT/OG William Barnes (Miami Target)
Barnes is the longest shot on this list in terms of ending up with Miami, but if he came on board, he would instantly be the best tackle in the class for UM. Barnes is an advanced run-blocker and has the frame and athleticism to excel in pass protection with more development. He is also known for being proficient at the mental side of the game and has a chance to draw the start at tackle or guard for the East team.
DT Nesta Silvera (Miami Commit)
The first of a 3-man contingent from Heritage (FL) at the U.S. Army Bowl, Silvera did not sign early so he could officially visit Miami in January with his high school and all-star game teammates Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr. One of the most disruptive interior defenders on either team so far, Silvera’s brute strength is a nightmare when paired with his quickness off the snap.
He plays with good leverage and even showed great awareness to intercept a batted ball in practice. With RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton mulling over the NFL and Silvera’s ability to influence Miami targets Campbell and Surtain Jr., Silvera is arguably Miami’s most important commit in this class.
CB Tyson Campbell (Miami Target)
Like I said previously, the five-star Heritage (FL) product has been one of the more reliable defensive backs in attendance in San Antonio this week. Campbell sports outstanding speed and length, along with incredible ball skills. The top target at CB for the Canes the majority of the cycle, Miami is doing whatever it takes to get Campbell in the orange and green and he is expected to be on campus with Silvera and Surtain Jr., along with another teammate in Andrew Chatfield, at some point in January.
CB Patrick Surtain Jr. (Miami Target)
Surtain Jr. joins his Heritage (FL) teammates at the U.S. Army Bowl as the third of the trio, but is probably the most highly-touted overall. He’s the complete package as a lockdown corner, showing range, instincts, physicality. Surtain Jr. is being pulled in all different directions as a national top 10 prospect would, so for Miami to keep him home when he was an LSU lean most of the process would probably be the single biggest recruiting win of any program in the 2018 class. No, that’s not an exaggeration. He’s that good and that important.
The Canes have one commit and one target representing the West Team. Let’s see who has a chance to upstage the stacked East squad.
WR Brian Hightower (Miami Signee)
Even though Hightower goes to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, the 6’3” receiver is originally from California, so he was placed on the West team. No matter, as Hightower will give us something to look forward to when the West is on offense. And it seems like the Miami signee will get plenty of playing time, as he’s been one of the best pass-catchers in San Antonio so far in practices. After struggling with drops on Day 1, Hightower has come back strong with some highlight-reel worthy plays. Just take a look at this one-handed grab Hightower makes after falling down:
Hightower is a possession receiver that also shows the ability to win jump balls downfield. If this week is any indication, he’s gonna be a PROBLEM for ACC DB’s very soon.
DT Michael Thompson (Miami Target)
As detailed in this month’s Freshman 15, Thompson has had a wild recruitment thus far. The Parkway North (MO) star has a great get-off that, when combined with his amazing power and length, can be overwhelming for any offensive lineman. Once Thompson establishes a gap, he can be almost impossible to move. He is proficient at collapsing a pocket from the inside and opening up pass rushing lanes for his teammates. Thompson tentatively plans to be at Miami on an official visit on 1/26 and has showed off his versatility in practice this week, winning reps both on the inside and outside.
That’s a wrap, and UM is certainly well-represented out at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Which Canes commit or target are you most interested in watching? Let us know in the comments.