Army Bowl: The five most interested teams
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the longest-running postseason football all-star game and has seen its popularity grow since it first kicked off in 2001. Many of the prospects that choose to cap their careers in San Antonio also commit to their future college in the game as well, giving fans all the more reason to watch. Here is a quick look at the five teams and fan bases that have the most to watch for during Army week.
Buckeyes fans shouldn’t need to be told to watch the Army game every season; former game MVPs include Ted Ginn Jr., Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor. This year’s edition will be of particular interest, as nine Ohio State commits will be playing in the game. The East’s offensive trio of Wyatt Davis, Tyjon Lindsey and Tate Martell will try and work around the West’s Chase Young, Baron Browning and Shaun Wade. Josh Myers, Haskell Garrett and J.K. Dobbins round out the group of future Buckeyes at the game.
Of the players set to announce their commitments at the Army game, five-star safety Jeffrey Okudah seems a likely pickup. Bubba Bolden, Jay Tufele and Darnay Holmes are also strongly considering Ohio State. Bolden and Holmes will announce their commitments during the game.
Bulldogs fans won’t be stressing about which players may be committing to Georgia during the game, but should enjoy being well-represented with committed players. All eight commits are on the East roster. Future quarterback Jake Fromm will share a backfield with running backs D’Andre Swift and Tray Bishop playing behind Andrew Thomas and Netori Johnson on the offensive line. Richard LeCounte and Nate McBride will be leading the East defense while Jeremiah Holloman will try and take his opportunity to earn a fourth star.
Georgia is still in the picture for five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, who is not expected to announce this week.
Michigan fans can watch at least five future Wolverines this week. Rivals100 quarterback Dylan McCaffrey will work on the West team while all of his committed future teammates take up for the East. It’s a shame he won’t be throwing to five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones or fellow Rivals100 pass catcher Tarik Black. He’ll also try to avoid defensive lineman Deron Irving-Bey and Rivals250 cornerback Ambry Thomas during the game.
Michigan’s best hope of landing a big-time commitment come in the form of Rivals250 offensive tackle Chuck Filiaga, who will be choosing between the Wolverines, Nebraska and Oklahoma during the game. Michigan is also in the mix for Holmes and possibly Eno Benjamin. Players like Tufele, Soloman, Oliver Martin, Willie Gay and Tedarrell Slaton have all been heavily recruited by Michigan as well and are worth keeping an eye on.
Similar to Ohio State and Georgia, the Sooners will be strongly represented with six commits at the game. Addison Gumbs, Levi Draper on the West roster and Jacob Phillips on the East make linebacker the most concentrated position of the group, but Rivals250 defensive end Isaiah Thomas and tough offensive lineman Creed Humphrey will also look to show well for themselves. Seeing how Robert Barnes has recovered from an injury that forced him to miss much of the second half of his senior season will also be a focal point.
OU fans hope that Okudah including the Sooners in his top three is more than just lip service and that they have more than just an outside chance to nab his commitment. The same could be said for Oklahoma’s part in the Filiaga sweepstakes. Landing either prospect would be a nice cherry on the top of an already elite 2017 class for the Sooners.
Things might have been very different for the Trojans had they not finished the season so strongly. USC doesn’t have a large contingent of committed players in the game, boasting only the trio of Hunter Echols, Brett Neilon and Stephen Carr, but that’s still one-fifth of their entire 2017 class to-date. The interest for USC lies with the players it could see commit during the game and the days leading to National Signing Day.
USC has an outside shot with national top-three player Foster Sarell, who will announce during the game, as well as Holmes and Bolden. Of the players not expected to commit during the week, the Trojans are being strongly considered by Tufele, Solomon, Greg Johnson, Joseph Lewis, Austin Jackson and K.J. Jarrell. Landing any number of those players down the stretch would help USC finish as strongly on the recruiting trail as it did on the football field this season.