UA All-America Game: The Farrell Awards
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Under Armour All-America Game is in the books with Team Spotlight taking home the 23-21 win over Team Highlight. After following practices all week leading up to the game in Orlando, here are the Farrell Awards from the week.
LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE
This award goes to the most dynamic and exciting player during the week, the guy who gets everyone's attention when he has the ball. It was Ricky Slade who was a dynamo in the run and passing game. He’s not very big and durability as a feature back is a question mark, but the Penn State signee is as elusive as they come and can turn on the jets in just a couple of strides.
Honorable Mention: Justin Watkins and Alabama signee Xavier Williams had their moments. Auburn commitment Matthew Hill had some nice moves after the catch. Jacob Copeland also showed off some nice moves including reversing direction in the game itself. Ole Miss signee Elijiah Moore also made some big plays during the week.
This goes to the player who raised his stock the most during the week, and that was Nick Petit-Frere.
Honorable Mention: Penn State signee Justin Shorter and UCLA commit Olajiah Griffin could be pushing for five stars. Texas signee DeMarvion Overshown had a very good week of practice. Penn State signee PJ Mustipher was dominant all week. Nebraska quarterback signee Adrian Martinez was the best quarterback in practice all week. Mississippi State signee and offensive lineman Kwatrivous Johnson should be in line for a fourth star. Auburn signee Quindarious Monday was also a guy who improved his stock at defensive back. Auburn commitment Coynis Miller was all over the field in the game. Finally, Georgia defensive end signee Brenton Cox had a slow week of practice but was dominant in the game and could be pushing for a fifth star.
This award is not one that you want; it's for the player whose stock dropped the most and that’s defensive end Jordan Davis. Davis, an Alabama signee, entered the week pushing for a fifth star but after a strong start he regressed each day after the first practice. He won’t plummet, but he’ll be further from that fifth star.
Honorable Mention: Florida signee Emory Jones had a rough week overall and should drop some. Stanford quarterback signee Jack West also struggled. Tennessee signee Alontae Taylor got open often but dropped many passes during the week.
This award is given to the best-looking prospect on the hoof, the guy who looks like he could play in college or even the NFL right now. This one is easy as offensive lineman and Minnesota signee Daniel Faalele is a mountain of a prospect with no bad weight. At 6-foot-9 and nearly 400 pounds, he is the biggest offensive lineman I’ve seen at an all-star game. It would be easy to pass him off as an NFL player.
Honorable Mention: Justin Shorter is a great looking wide receiver. Auburn signee Joey Gatewood looks like a defensive end playing quarterback. Alabama commit Quay Walker is built just like you’d want at linebacker. Nick Petit-Frere has a great build for a tackle prospect. Texas commit Keondre Coburn looks great for a defensive tackle. Ohio State commit Tyreke Smith has also added some great weight at defensive end.
This award goes to the player with the best feet, whether it's an offensive lineman or a cornerback, big man or mighty mite. I’ll give this to Ricky Slade. His feet can be a blur at times and he changes direction on a dime.
Honorable Mention: Oregon signee Steve Stephens has nice feet as a defensive back as does Olajiah Griffin. Florida State defensive back signee Asante Samuel also has smooth footwork. Running back Maurice Washington flashed great feet in the game while Ohio State running back signee Brian Snead also showcased some fancy footwork.
This one goes to the biggest hitter, which is essentially the guy who laid the lumber in the game or by accident in practice, because there was not much tackling to the ground during the week. B.J. Foster, the Texas signee who was on my stock down list in the middle of the week, laid a great hit in the game on Slade that forced a fumble and nailed wide receiver Justyn Ross late in the game.
Honorable Mention: Kentucky commitment Xavier Peters is a big hitter. Florida signee Trey Dean loves to light people up. Alabama signee Eyabi Anoma arrives so fast at the football that he crushes people.
This is for the prospect that does all of the dirty work that doesn't get into the box score or noticed by many. Maryland signee Austin Fontaine didn’t get much attention overall but if you watched closely he did all the little things during the week and during the game for his team. He won’t stuff the stat sheet but he’s a good player.
Honorable Mention: Notre Dame linebacker signee Jack Lamb does a lot of little things that go unnoticed. Merlin Robertson is a sure tackler and always seems to be in position. Texas defensive back signee D’Shawn Jamison didn’t have his name called much but that’s because his coverage was solid.
This award sounds like it's for a defender who hits, but it's really for a receiver with the best hands during the week. This is a tough one because there were so many drops but I’ll go with Miami tight end signee Brevin Jordan. Jordan caught everything that was thrown his way and will be a reliable target for any quarterback down the road.
Honorable Mention: Justin Watkins caught everything thrown his way this week which isn’t supposed to be his strength, although he did have a drop in the game. Justyn Ross made some great catches showing off his body control. Justin Shorter also made some nice grabs. Brian Snead showed good hands out of the backfield as did Ricky Slade and Texas commit Keaontay Ingram. Elijiah Moore also showed off good hands.
POISE UNDER PRESSURE
This is essentially for the best quarterback who performs when the lights come on and there is actually a live pass-rush coming at him. Joey Gatewood had a strong game not only running the ball but passing accurately. He was very poised in the pocket, handled the rush well and when he ran he finished with a bang. His ceiling is very high.
This award goes to the quarterback with the best arm who showed the ability to make all the passes with zip on the football. Washington signee Jacob Sirmon missed two days of practice and the game but to me showed off the best arm of the group. Accuracy was an issue as it was with many of the quarterbacks, but he can get the ball where it needs to be.
This award goes to the quarterback who was the most accurate throughout the whole week. It was clearly Nebraska signee Adrian Martinez, who was smooth from day one and hit the most receivers in stride. He was the victim of a couple drops in the game and was outplayed by Gatewood and Thompson-Robinson to an extent, but he had the most accurate week overall.
Honorable Mention: Gatewood looked good throughout the week with his accuracy while Sirmon was the most accurate passer during practice on his team.
This goes to the player who showed the most fire and temper during the week and Trey Dean gets the nod here. He tussled with Jalen Preston in practice and was aggressive and physical all week from the cornerback prospect.
Honorable Mention: Florida commit Richard Gouraige and Northwestern signee Devin O’Rourke got into it in one-on-ones during practice. Linebacker Merlin Robertson was also quite angry all week as was linebacker Jack Lamb.
This is for the player who provided the best coverage on defense during the week. To me it was former UCLA commitment Olaijah Griffin in a close battle over many others as there were many defensive backs that had good weeks. Griffin has great length and feet and he closes on the ball at the right time rarely being late to track the ball.
Honorable Mention: D’Shawn Jamison was solid. Asante Samuel was excellent and fellow Florida State signee AJ Lytton had a good week, too. DeMarvion Overshown was good as well. Quindarious Monday had a good week of practice. UCLA signee Bryan Addison had some good moments also.
This goes to the smallest guy who made the biggest impact and played bigger than his size and this year it’s Slade. I’ve already mentioned why he’s been so good so there’s no need to go into detail here. Is he a five-star running back? His size holds him back but he’s good, very good.
ALL OR NOTHING
This is for the player who will either make a huge play or potentially make a mistake or be invisible at times. B.J. Foster was the perfect example of this in coverage, undercutting a pass for a perfect interception and having some nice pass breakups but for the most part being a step or two too late to the ball or getting his head around. His performance in the game saved him from a bad week overall.
Honorable Mention: Wide receiver Alontae Taylor was wide open almost all the time during the week but dropped too many passes despite making some nice grabs as well. Wide receiver Devon Williams flashed his five-star ability at times but not nearly enough. Defensive end Brenton Cox was the same way – inconsistent. Defensive end Jordan Davis had a great day one in team play and then was invisible the rest of the week beyond losing one-on-one reps.
This award goes to the player who was simply good all week long and could be relied upon to bring it each and every day. Clemson signee KJ Henry lived up to his five-star status and was excellent on the first day and had a good game as well. He’s an elite talent.
Honorable Mention: Austin Fontaine, Dante Stills, Nick Petit-Frere, Delone Scafie and many others were just good throughout the week when it comes to the big men. Trey Dean and many of the defensive backs were also good all week long. Adrian Martinez was solid from day one until the game.
This award goes to the player who had the biggest impact in the game itself and clearly it’s little-known Maurice Washington who scored touchdowns rushing and receiving. Washington called out Rivals.com this week and said he would prove us wrong during the game and he sure did.
Honorable Mention: Joey Gatewood had a very good game offensively. Brenton Cox was all over the field as was Eyobi Anoma and Coynis Miller. Daniel Faalele was one of the best offensive linemen in the game. Despite his fumble, Ricky Slade had a good game also. Alabama signee Xavier Williams had his moments.
This award goes to the player entering the game that was in prime position to earn that extra star, whether it was a fifth or fourth star, but didn't meet those expectations. It was going to be Brenton Cox before his great game but it has to be Jordan Davis. Davis, despite an average week, could have redeemed himself with a huge game but it didn’t happen.