It didn't take long before the result of the 5th annual Under Armour All-America Game would be decided, as the White team dominated the Black team by a score of 49-16 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
From the start the White team, coached by Herm Edwards, took charge in this contest, starting with their first drive of the game. After tacking a sack at the hands of Buckeye commit Noah Spence, OSU target, Jameis Winston (Florida State) put his team up 6-0 (XP missed) after launching a 75 yard bomb to Alabama commit Amari Cooper to open up scoring for the night.
The Black team answered on their next possession with a Ross Martin (Duke) 32-yard field goal, but the team's inability to make a big play when it mattered most to find the end zone would set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Later in the first quarter, the White team took out Winston in favor of Cal commit Zach Kline, who did not disappoint, opening up the lead to 13-3 after a 32 yard touchdown strike through the air to Marvin Bracy (FSU).
After another returned possession, things started to look good for the Black team when Spence hit White QB Tanner Mangum (BYU), causing an interception to fall into the hands of Landon Collins (Alabama). The momentum didn't last long however, though, as Black QB Connor Brewer (Texas) threw a pick of his own that was returned 93 yards for an interception to end the first half with a score of White 20 Black 3. To make things worse, Brewer suffered a concussion on the play, causing him to miss the remainder of the game.
With Connor Brewer out and Preston Dewey (Miami) ruled inactive before the game, the Black team was left with just Chad Kelly (Clemson) behind center, so the sides asked Mangum to switch from White to Black, a move Steve Mariucci (Black coach) may later regret, although it was a classy sportsmanship move by both the player and coaches.
The second half didn't go much better than the first half for the Black team, as Terry Richardson (Michigan) fumbled the opening kick-off and it was returned by the White team to the Black 3-yard line. This time the score wouldn't be changed, as Noah Spence lead the black defensive line with a forced fumble (recovered by Winston) and two tackles on a four down, goal line stand.
Once again the Black team couldn't take advantage, and even worse had the resulting punt blocked by Marcus May (Florida) and it fell out of bounds in the back of the end zone, for a safety to put the White team up 22-3. On the ensuing drive, that lead was increased to 29-3, as Winston hooked up with Shaq Roland (South Carolina) on his second score of the night, this one from 16 yards out.
The White team finally got a touchdown on the board on the next possession, as Kelly, nephew of former Bills QB Jim Kelly, found TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (USC) in the end zone for an 11 yard scoring strike. That would be all the scoring from the White team until garbage time late in the game.
The White team extended their lead to 49-10 midway through the fourth quarter after a Cyrus Jones (Alabama) interception went for six, an Amari Cooper punt return went 92 yards for a score, and Keith Marshall (Georgia) put one in on the ground from two yards out.
The Black team finally got on the board again with just minutes remaining, as Kelly found Buckeye target Davonte' Neal on a 3-yard scoring pass. The extra point was blocked and the score was set at 49-16, where it would become final.
Six players made their commitments at the game, including DB Lucas Thompson, RB Wes Brown, DE Channing Ward, DB Chaz Elder, ATH Cyrus Jones, and DB Landon Collins. Thompson chose East Carolina, Brown chose Maryland, Ward chose Ole Miss, Elder chose South Carolina, Jones chose Alabama, and Collins also chose the Tide, in what became one of the most bizarre announcements I have ever seen, with his mother taking the mic and openly saying she wanted him to choose LSU.
Five OSU players of interest played in the game, including QB Jameis Winston, DE Noah Spence, WR/CB Davonte' Neal, OL Joey O'Connor, and LB Dalton Santos.
Winston, who is expected to visit Columbus on January 20, was named the Player of the Game. He finished the game completing 8 of 9 passes for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns against 0 interceptions, while also making a bunch of plays with his legs. He is definitely the real deal and you can see why many of the top programs in the country are going after the current Florida State commit.
The aforementioned Spence was an absolute beast, recording two sacks and a forced fumble in addition to seven or eight tackles on the night. Spence showed the ability to make plays from both the strong and weak sides and has great burst coming off the line of scrimmage. The one thing I really liked about him is that he never gave up on plays, even if he over pursued or the runners went into the second or third levels. This kid is going to be a good one.
Davonte' Neal started off slow, but picked things up, participating in both the return and receiving games. He finished with 2 catches for 16 yards and a TD, as well as 2 kick returns for 49 yards (24.5 avg). He definitely has tremendous speed and I am very anxious to see what happens when he makes his official visit to Columbus next weekend.
O'Connor played both tackle and guard all week, but watching him in this game, guard is definitely his more natural position. Both offensive lines struggled, not only because the defensive line talent was outstanding, but also because it's very hard to get in sync with such short time to practice together. O'Connor is a very good player and had his ups and downs throughout the game.
Finally, Santos looked like a great player and I saw him in on at least 6 tackles tonight. He is currently committed to Tennessee, but with some changes to the coaching staff there, is expected to make some visits and Ohio State will be one of the schools he checks out. He looked good both against the run and the pass and plays with a mean streak you want in the Silver Bullets. He is definitely a MIKE linebacker and could fill a need and some depth for OSU next season.