Army Bowl: Winners and losers
SAN ANTONIO – The annual Army All-American Game is in the books and as usual the nation’s best prospects put on quite a show at the Alamodome. But who were the game’s winners and losers? We break down the best and worst from the day’s action.
The Trojans had arguably the best week out of any school, with several of their future players turning in big weeks. Things got even better in the fourth quarter of the game when five-star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown committed to USC over Stanford and Notre Dame. The dynamic wide receiver had a terrific game, hauling in four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. His connection and chemistry with future Trojans teammate, quarterback J.T. Daniels, was obvious as well during the game and Trojans fans have to come away thinking they have a very bright future.
Last year at this time the Sooners fans were just a few days away from being spurned by five-star linebacker Jacob Phillips, as he flipped to LSU after a longtime commitment to Oklahoma. But on Saturday it was all smiles for Sooners fans as they watched five-star defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles turn in a terrific performance and then announce his attention to join Oklahoma during the broadcast. Rumors swirled around Radley-Hiles all week, with Florida State and LSU both mentioned as possible destinations. Now Radley-Hiles will head to Norman, where he’s expected to enroll early.
The saga surrounding Kelvin Joseph finally came to an end with the former LSU commit and Baton Rouge native once again pledging to the Tigers during the game’s broadcast. Joseph didn’t just make news for his announcement, he also led the West team in tackles with six, all of them solo. LSU fashions itself as DBU and a big part of that is keeping elite defensive backs in state and they are doing that with the addition of Joseph. Add in that they beat out Alabama and Auburn and that he announced it on national television and it makes for a good day for Tigers fans.
CHIP KELLY AND JEREMY PRUITT
It was a good day to be one of the new coaches at UCLA and Tennessee as both schools added big commitments during the broadcast. The Vols didn’t have to wait long to receive their highly-anticipated addition of Rivals100 linebacker JJ Peterson, who announced his commitment to Tennessee in the first quarter. He was followed quickly by four-star offensive lineman Chris Murray, who pledged to Kelly and Bruins. Peterson’s commitment to Tennessee is due largely in part to his relationship with Pruitt and Kelly and his new staff also made Murray a priority after taking the job. The commitments show just how much a coach can impact a recruitment and how quickly things can change in recruiting.
It’s tough to ever say the Tide are losers, especially considering they’re about to play for the national championship and one of their future players Jalyn Armour-Davis had an interception during the game. But once again Alabama was left to watch as two players on their board committed to other programs on national TV. Rivals100 linebacker JJ Peterson made his pledge to Tennessee despite never visiting Knoxville, mainly because the Vols nabbed Jeremy Pruitt away as their head coach. And while Kelvin Joseph was a longshot for Alabama to steal from LSU, he’s a player the school has invested a lot of energy into recruiting over the past 12 months. Alabama will be just fine, but Saturday wasn’t a great day for the Tide.
EAST OFFENSIVE LINE
It was an up and down day for the group of East offensive linemen, which includes the nation’s No. 1 overall tackle Jackson Carman. While Carman and fellow tackle Max Wray had a pretty good day, the same can’t be said for the unit as a whole. Highly-ranked prospects like Georgia signee Trey Hill and Penn State signee Nana Asiedu were among those who struggled. They allowed four sacks and the East squad finished with just 70 total yards on 24 carries. All-star games can be tough for units as they have a limited time to gel, but considering the West team allowed no sacks it’s clear the East could have done better.
WEST RUNNING BACKS
Two-thirds of the original West running backs were unable to play in the game (Washington signee Trey Lowe and Oklahoma signee T.J. Pledger), which left the team with two healthy backs for the game. But that pair, four-star athlete Harold Joiner and three-star Rice commit Brenden Brady combined for 0 yards on three carries. Quarterback J.T. Daniels did manage to run for 21 yards on two carries but the inability for the backs to do much put much more pressure on the West quarterbacks to make plays.