UA Game: Winners and losers
ORLANDO -- There were a bunch of top performances Saturday in the Under Armour Game but also some players who struggled in the all-star showcase. Here is a look at those players:
DT Rashan Gary, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic
Gary capped a dominant week in Orlando by taking home team MVP honors, and the honor was well deserved despite strong competition from several others. Gary finished Saturday’s game with six tackles, including three sacks. He lived in the Team Armour backfield, and also was seen running down plays to the sideline throughout the game.
DT Ed Oliver, Houston (Texas) Westfield
Aggressive and so tough in the middle, Oliver, the team MVP, was in the backfield all game, dominated the interior offensive linemen and showed off a tremendous amount of strength. Nobody could handle Oliver, who had five tackles (with at least 2.5 for loss) and never stopped going as the game went on. He was a menace to the opposing team’s run game.
DT Benito Jones, Waynesboro (Miss.) Wayne County
Had Gary not taken team MVP award, Jones had a strong case for the honor. The Ole Miss commit finished second on Team Highlight with five tackles, including four for loss and one sack. Although he does not have ideal size at just 6-foot and 280 pounds, Jones is explosively quick off the football and used his low center of gravity to create a consistent push in the middle of the line.
QB Malik Henry, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Henry was consistent, poised in the pocket, made smart throws and when he needed to escape and run for extra yards the Florida State commit did that too without running out too early. The four-star finished 9 of 12 passing and threw two touchdowns, showing great touch on some passes and zipping the ball other times when needed. He was the best quarterback in the game -- and it wasn’t close.
DE Antonneous Clayton, Vienna (Ga.) Dooly County
Clayton was especially active early and seemingly got in the backfield at will against some quality offensive tackles. He blew up some read-option plays with his speed and he showed an excellent mix of speed and power with a great ability to track running backs and quarterbacks down. The Florida commit lived in the backfield especially in the first quarter.
LB Aaron Hansford, Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College High
Practice sessions are not set up to showcase linebackers because most are non-contact, so Hansford had a quiet week leading up to Saturday’s game. He broke out in a big way when the cameras turned on, however, finishing tied for second on Team Highlight with five tackles in the game. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Hansford’s speed was evident as he was making plays sideline-to-sideline.
LB Ben Davis, Gordo, Ala.
Better than any linebacker in the game, Davis tracks down plays to the outside, gets in the backfield on stretch plays and then comes up to deliver the boom. The five-star and top-rated inside linebacker has such great length, he’s so instinctive and then doesn’t hesitate to come up and hit hard or wrap up the ball carrier.
WR A.J. Brown, Starkville, Miss.
Brown has excellent hands and got open numerous times even though he hadn’t shown off tremendous speed during the week of practice. He weaved through multiple defenders for a 53-yard gain, too. Still, the four-star receiver ran great routes, created separation from some elite cornerbacks and then caught a touchdown pass on a slant from Henry. He was consistently good all week and stood out in the game, too.
DE McTelvin Agim, Hope, Ark.
Agim’s performance was overshadowed by Rashan Gary and Benito Jones along the Team Highlight defensive line, but evaluated on its own the Arkansas’ commit’s performance was very impressive. Playing both end and tackle, Agim consistently worked angles on offensive linemen and used his quickness to create penetration. He finished with three tackles and a sack on the day.
WR Dionte Mullins, Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep
The offensive play of Saturday’s game unquestionably was Mullins’ one-handed snag that would have made Odell Beckham Jr. proud. Cornerback Kristian Fulton had solid coverage on Mullins, but the 5-foot-11, 183-pound Miami commit threw his right hand out and snatched the football before waltzing the final two yards into the end zone. It was one of two receptions for Mullins, who finished with 35 yards.
OL Landon Dickerson, Hudson (N.C.) South Caldwell
Team Armour’s offensive line had a tough task handling Team Highlight’s front seven, but Dickerson was one of the few bright spots. After missing a block early in the game, Dickerson rebounded and was able to level several pancake blocks as the game went on, including one that put Benito Jones on his backside. Dickerson was especially effective pulling and locating on the edge to spring his running backs.
DB Eric Cuffee, Waco, Texas
Cuffee had a quiet game except for one play. Four-star receiver Josh Hammond caught a pass toward the sideline and went to turn up the field when Cuffee arrived, wrapped up Hammond (and the ball) and ripped it right away from the Florida commit. It was especially impressive that Cuffee just didn’t push him out of bounds, which he could have easily done but instead went for the ball and got it.
OL Deonte Brown, Decatur (Ala.) Austin
The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Brown was another casualty of the dominant Team Highlight defensive line. The game got off to a rough start for the Alabama commit when he whiffed twice in the same drive during pass protection, and did not improve as he was worked over by Rashan Gary throughout the game. Brown has the size and strength to handle bigger defensive tackles, but lacked in quickness and technique.
QB Jarrett Guarantano, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
For the week, Guarantano was the best quarterback at the game but he struggled in the game because of some of his own errors and because he was getting pressure all the time from defensive linemen. The four-star Tennessee commit was inconsistent throwing just one completion in seven passes, he got sacked twice and also lost a fumble.
RB Kareem Walker, Wayne (N.J.) De Paul Catholic
Walker had his opportunities but couldn’t make a lot happen. The four-star needs to hit the opening faster and then fall forward when getting tackled. Sometimes, the Michigan commit hesitates as things develop and partly because of Walker and partly because of some offensive line miscues, Walker was dragged down in the backfield too often.
OL Terrance Davis, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha
The day started off well for Davis when he announced his commitment to Maryland in the first quarter. Things went downhill from there for the future Terrapin, though, as he drew a tough assignment having to face-off against the dominant interior defensive tackles on Team Highlight. The 6-foot-4, 307-pound guard did not put up much of a fight and gave up several plays for negative yardage.
WR Tyrie Cleveland, Houston (Texas) Westfield
Cleveland emerges from the week with a net positive performance, but his in-game showing disappointed after what was a stand out week of practices. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound pass catcher had two very catchable passes thrown his way and dropped both, finishing with zero receptions on the day. Cleveland was the best wide receiver in practices all week, but a ghost during the game even though he had his chances.