Under Armour All-America Game: Storylines to watch
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Difficult rankings questions and recruiting conundrums get a chance to play out at all-star games across the country. With the Under Armour All-American Game set to take place Jan. 3, here's a look at the top storylines to track.
The best matchup of the week
Five-star Kayvon Thibodeaux played against excellent competition during the season, but he hasn’t faced anything like what he’s going see in Orlando. The top four offensive tackles in the country await him, and he’ll get reps against each of them in practice or the game. Five-stars Darnell Wright, Evan Neal and Kenyon Green, along with Rivals100 prospect Wanya Morris, will give Thibodeaux all he and the rest of the defensive linemen can handle. All four offensive tackles present different challenges for Thibodeaux, so it will be a good opportunity for him to show the full range of his arsenal.
Offensive tackles are often referred to the cornerstones of the offensive line, and they make up the best position group in the Under Armour All-America Game. The top four and six of the top 10 offensive tackles in the country are in Orlando this week, and they will become household names in the very near future. Five-stars Darnell Wright, Evan Neal and Kenyon Green lead the group. Neal, an Alabama signee, and Green, a Texas A&M signee, are finished with their recruitments, but Wright is still entertaining suitors. Tennessee is the favorite to land his commitment.
Speaking of the Vols, Wanya Morris, the No. 4 offensive tackle in the Rivals100, has already signed with Tennessee. Michigan State signee Devontae Dobbs and Alabama signee Amari Kight are also Under Armour All-Americans.
Indecision in the secondary
There are five unsigned defensive backs in the Rivals250 participating in the Under Armour All-American Game and the top two are verbally committed to Florida State. Five-star Akeem Dent, the No. 28 player in the Rivals100, has been committed to Florida State for a long time, but watch out for Alabama, Miami and a few others. Top 50 prospect Brendan Gant is also verbally committed to the Seminoles, and his commitment seems to be on more stable ground.
Rivals250 prospects Christian Williams and Quinten Johnson are verbally committed to Alabama and Michigan, respectively. Williams seems to be in wait-and-see mode, while Johnson and the rest of his teammates will sign in February at his high school.
Kaiir Elam, a Rivals250 defensive back, is not currently committed, and the top contenders for him are Florida and Georgia. Georgia had the momentum but it has swung toward Florida now that former Dawgs defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has taken the head coaching job at Colorado.
Fireworks on the outside
Wease, an Oklahoma signee, is an elite route runner with exceptional hands and the ability to make acrobatic catch look easy.
Pickens, an Auburn verbal commit, is a physical specimen who knows how to get open over the middle and specializes in taking the top off of defenses. He also has a huge catch radius, which makes it very hard for defenders to reach around him to knock the ball away.
Dent and the DBs will have to use every bit of their length, footwork and instincts to get the better of these two receivers.
Tall order for the nation’s best linebackers
There will be plenty of fireworks when the running backs meet the linebackers at the Under Armour All-American Game. Three of the top five running backs - five-star Penn State signee Devyn Ford, Rivals 100 LSU signee John Emery and Rivals100 Penn State signee Noah Cain - along with Rivals100 Oregon signee Sean Dollars, the No. 2 all-purpose back in the Rivals100, will go against the best there is in the 2019 class this week.
The top two inside linebackers in the Rivals100, five-star Georgia signee Nakobe Dean and Alabama signee Shane Lee, are joined by the top two outside linebackers in the Rivals100, Auburn signee Owen Pappoe and Penn State signee Brandon Smith.