Each year the U.S Army All-American Bowl puts together one of the best postseason high school all-star games in the country. Over the years, 351 players have gone on from this national showcase to become NFL draft picks, adding even more credibility to this exhibition. Of the 54 players filling the East squad roster in 2018, the state of Florida is well represented with 13 players while 12 Georgia players were selected to take the trip to San Antonio, giving a strong southern flavor to this year’s game.
On Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC, East meets West in the Alamodome as who’s who of top-shelf high school football talent will go head-to-head. This exhibition game is similar to the NFL's Pro Bowl, as it will feature five- and four- and three-star prospects play together and line up opposite one another. This is especially the case with players from Florida and Georgia accounting for nearly half of the East roster.
Included in this group is Cartersville (Ga.) quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The five-star is considered the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2018 per 247Sports after throwing for more than 3,000 yards in each of his four high school seasons. Lawrence, who is committed to Clemson, will have two Florida wide receivers to throw to in this game in D'Marcus Adams, a four-star who is committed to Florida State, and Mark Pope, another four-star who is committed to Miami. Josh Vann, a four-star wide receiver from Georgia who is committed to South Carolina, also is on the East roster.
There’s plenty of star power on defense for the East team, including defensive end Xavier Thomas, a five-star from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. A Clemson commit, Thomas (right) is a rare mix of power and speed coming off the edge and is capable of making left tackles look foolish while forcing quarterbacks to throw the ball earlier than they want. He is joined up front by his teammate Taron Vincent, a five-star defensive tackle who is committed to Ohio State. Vincent uses great technique to get to the quarterback and is quick off the snap, filling the gap on running plays.
There’s also Patrick Surtain Jr., a five-star cornerback from Florida prep powerhouse American Heritage in Plantation. He is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, cover corners in his class. He will get a chance to showcase his speed and cover skills against the likes of California quarterbacks J.T. Daniels (USC commit) and Matt Corral (Ole Miss).
The best offensive lineman in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl might be Atlanta area product Jamaree Salyer, a line mover with impressive size (6-4, 342). The Pace Academy star has already committed to staying in state and playing for Georgia. Joining him up front is William Barnes, a four-star prospect from Apopka, Florida. He too possesses tremendous size (6-4, 325). The main beneficiaries of running behind this line are Lorenzo Lingard and James Cook. Both running backs hail from Florida, but only will stay in the Sunshine State. Lingard, a five-star prospect, has committed to play for Miami, while Cook, a four-star, opted for Georgia instead of following big brother Dalvin’s footsteps and play for Florida State.
Regardless of position, there is more than enough star power on display for college football fans to tune in to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Among the 25 players from Florida and Georgia, five have committed to the Bulldogs, four to Miami, four to Clemson, two to Notre Dame and two to Ohio State. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl gives fans a chance to catch a glimpse of the next wave of talent that will soon be arriving on campus.
Florida U.S. Army All-American Bowl Participants
RB James Cook, Miami Central High School, Miami – Georgia commit
RB Lorenzo Lingard, University High School, Orange City – Miami commit
WR D’Marcus Adams, Mainland High School, Dayton Beach – Florida State commit
WR Mark Pope, Miami Southridge High School, Miami – Miami commit
TE George Takacs, Gulf Coast High School, Naples – Notre Dame commit
OL William Barnes, Apopka High School, Apopka – uncommitted
DB Tyson Campbell, American Heritage, Plantation – uncommitted
DB Tyreke Johnson, Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville – Ohio State commit
DB Patrick Surtain Jr., American Heritage, Plantation – uncommitted
DL Nesta Silvera, American Heritage, Plantation – Miami commit
DL Xavier Thomas, IMG Academy, Bradenton – Clemson commit
DL Taron Vincent, IMG Academy, Bradenton – Ohio State commit
LS Oscar Shadley, Golden Gate High School, Naples – Virginia Tech commit
Georgia U.S. Army All-American Bowl Participants
QB Trevor Lawrence, Cartersville High School, Cartersville – Clemson commit
QB Jarren Williams, Central Gwinnett High School, Lawrenceville – Miami commit
WR Josh Vann, Tucker High School, Tucker – South Carolina commit
OL Trey Hill, Houston County High School, Warner Robins – Georgia commit
OL Jamaree Salyer, Pace Academy, Atlanta – Georgia commit
DB Derrik Allen, Lassiter High School, Marietta – Notre Dame commit
DB Kyler McMichael, Greater Atlanta Christian, Norcross – Clemson commit
DB Christian Tutt, Thomson High School, Thomson – Auburn commit
LB Adam Anderson, Rome High School, Rome – Georgia commit
LB JJ Peterson, Colquitt County High School, Norman Park – uncommitted
DL Justin Mascoll, South Gwinnett High School, Snellville – Clemson commit
DL Azeez Ojulari, Marietta High School, Marietta – Georgia commit
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience and is a member of the FWAA. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and has his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanWrightRNG.
(Photos courtesy of www.usarmyallamericanbowl.com)