The sixth annual Offense-Defense All-America Game on Dec. 29 at Cowboys Stadium will feature some big-time quarterbacks as well as plenty of talented linebackers, athletes and kickers.
Future SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten QBs to compete
The game will feature four quarterbacks who were proven winners as seniors.
The East team will be led by Air Force National Player of the Year finalist Maty Mauk of Kenton (Ohio) High, a 6-2, 195-pound Missouri commitment. Mauk led the nation in passing, finishing with 5,413 yards and 68 touchdowns as he led his team to the state championship game. Mauk is rated as the 22nd-best pro-style quarterback in the country by Rivals.com.
Joining him on the East roster will be Fruit Cove (Fla.) Bartram Trail's Nathan Peterman, a 6-2, 210-pound Tennessee commitment who threw for 2,940 yards and 36 touchdowns as he led his team to the state title game against No. 2-ranked Armwood. Peterman flew up boards as a senior and is rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com.
"Mauk and Peterman are both accurate passers who can sling the ball around," said Offense-Defense Director of Player Personnel Josh Buchanan, "Mauk compares to Chase Daniel while Peterman's accuracy will make him a hard player to keep off the field at UT."
The West roster will feature Nebraska commitment Tommy Armstrong, a 6-2, 210-pound prospect from Steele, Texas. Rivals.com rates Armstrong as the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback.
Star linebackers commit to O-D Bowl
At linebacker, the East team will feature Archibald (Pa.) Valley View's Nyeem Wartman, a 6-3, 225-pound Penn State commitment along with McKeesport (Pa.) High's Tyrone Neal, a 6-1, 225-pounder yet to commit, and South Carolina commitment Kaiwan Lewis, a 6-2, 225-pounder from Saint Joseph (N.J.).
Wartman, Neal, and Lewis are all rated as the No. 34, No. 42 and No. 44 outside linebackers respectively by Rivals.com.
"All three of them are violent hitters who make plays in traffic and can run," said Buchanan, "We are really excited about all of these guys because of their speed and athleticism and believe they will be very good at the next level."
Rounding out the East squad will be three BCS commitments. Thomasville (Ala.) High's Tyler Hayes, a 6-2, 215-pound Alabama commit, T.J. Burrell, a 6-0, 201-pound Clemson commit, and Florida commit Jeremi Powell, a 6-2, 205-pounder all have accepted invitations to the O-D Bowl as well.
The West squad inside linebackers will be anchored by Birmingham (Ala.) Woodlawn's Cassanova McKinzy, a 6-3, 235-pound Auburn pledge with Missouri commitment Donavin Newsom, a 6-2, 225-pounder from St. Louis (Mo.) Parkway North, and 6-1, 225-pound Tennessee verbal Otha Peters from Covington , La.
Rivals.com rates McKinzy as the No. 19 outside linebacker and 245th-best player in the country with Newsom as the No. 23 inside linebacker and Peters rated the 28th-best outside linebacker.
"These three players really excite me because they can all run and are headed to programs who have developed some very good NFL linebackers," said Buchanan, "They all had outstanding senior seasons and I expect them to really stand out in Dallas."
The West outside linebackers vary in size but are all headed to big time programs led by Ohio State commitment Josh Perry, a 6-4, 231-pounder from Galena (Ohio) Olentangy. Breaux Bridge (La.) High's Lamar Louis, a 6-0, 210-pound LSU commit and DeSoto (Texas) High's Michael Richardson, a 6-2, 215-pound Texas A&M commitment will round out the unit.
Athletes, kickers accept O-D Bowl invitations
With Orlando Thomas, Gabriel Marks, and other athletes already on the roster Alabama commit Kenyan Drake, Georgia verbal Blake Tibbs, and recent Georgia Tech commitment Justin Thomas have all accepted invitations to this year's game.
Drake will see time on both sides of the ball while Thomas will play quarterback and wide receiver. Tibbs will return kicks and play some wide receiver in this year's contest. Drake is a 6-1, 200-pounder from Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove, while Tibbs is a 6-2, 180-pounder from Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King and Thomas is a 5-11, 178-pounder from Prattville (Ala).
Rivals.com rates Thomas as the 225th-best player and No. 19 athlete in the nation while Tibbs is rated as the No. 49 wide receiver who can return kicks, and Drake highlights the group as the No. 12 athlete and 184th-best prospect in the nation.
"Thomas is a phenomenal athlete who will see time at quarterback and wide receiver while Tibbs is an explosive return man and Drake is a productive running back who can play both sides of the ball," said Buchanan, "All three of these guys have a chance to make a big impact at the next level."
The East kicker will be Knoxville (Tann.) West's George Bullock, a 6-2, 195-pound Tennessee commitment while the West will have Harvest (Ala.) East Limestone's Joshua Appleby, a 6-3, 235-pounder committed to Louisville.