Previewing the High School All-American Games

By John Brandon on December 27, 2013 at 4:30p

Bowl season is upon us, which means high-profile matchups, two weeks of non-stop football, conferences going head-to-head and watching seniors (and some juniors) play their final games as student-athletes.

But bowl season also means getting a chance to see the best high school football players face each other in a college-like atmosphere in their last live game action before heading to college. Over the last several years the significance of the high school all-star games has continued to escalate. These all-star games not only feature the best players in the country going head-to-head, they also feature several top recruits announcing their college decisions. With nine Buckeye commits playing in all-american games along with several targets, there is plenty to be excited about for these games. A couple Buckeye targets will even be announcing where they will be playing football next fall.

Join us after the jump for a breakdown of the All-American games and why you should watch each one.

Under armour all-american game

WHEN: January 2nd, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Tampa, Florida

OSU Commits OSU Targets Former Targets B1g Commits
Raekwon McMillan Tony Brown Andy Bauer (Missouri) William Ulmer (Maryland)
Jamarco Jones John 'JuJu' Smith Braxton Berrios (Miami) Juwann Bushell-Beatty (Michigan)
    Quin Blanding (Virginia) Michael Ferns (Michigan)
    Jeb Blazevich (Georgia) Drake Harris (Michigan)
    Andrew Brown (Virginia) Bryan Mone (Michigan)
    Brandon Harris (LSU) Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)
    Tyler Luatua (Notre Dame) Wilton Speight (Michigan)
    Damian Prince Jared Wangler (Michigan)
    Travis Rudolph Jake Hartbarger (MSU)
    Deshaun Watson (Clemson) Jeff Jones (Minnesota)
      Tanner Farmer (Nebraska)
      Thomas Holley (Penn State)
      De'Andre Thompkins (Penn State)

Expect Raekwon McMillan to be in Tony Brown's ear all week, a last-ditch effort to bring him to Ohio State. McMillan and Brown will be on team Nitro, while Jamarco Jones will team up with Buckeye target John Smith on team Highlight, probably going to do some recruiting himself. Meanwhile, an abundance of future Wolverines team up with 'Kwon on team Nitro.

Why you should watch: To see a defense with Raekwon McMillan, Da'Shawn Hand, Jabrill Peppers, Tony Brown and Lorenzo Carter go up against an offense with Leonard Fournette, Deshaun Watson, Speedy Noil and Damian Prince. Look for Jamarco Jones to go head-to-head with potentially Hand or Lorenzo Carter, while 'Kwon will go up against top RB Leonard Fournette. You should watch to see why Urban wanted Deshaun Watson so badly, to see why Raekwon McMillan is the top inside linebacker in the nation and to see what Michigan has coming in with Peppers, Drake Harris, Ferns and others. 

Offense-Defense All-American Bowl

WHEN: January 3rd, 5 p.m.
WHERE: Orlando, Florida

OSU Commits OSU Targets Former Targets B1g Commits
  Brady Taylor (V. Tech Commit) Thaddeus Snodgrass (Kentucky) Juwann Winfree (Maryland)
    Derek Barnett (Tennessee) Chase Winovich (Michigan)
      Chase Gianacakos (MSU)
      Gerald Owense (MSU)
      Taiwan Deal (Wisconsin)

Why you should watch: To check out Brady Taylor, a Columbus native who could be picking up a Buckeye offer in the near future. Taylor heads to the game with several other Virginia Tech commits, so it will be interesting to see how the dynamics between the commits plays out amidst the swirling rumors of Taylor potentially flipping Ohio State. You should also watch to check out Chase Winovich, Derek Barnett and Thad Snodgrass in particular. All three are players Ohio State showed a lot of interest in, with Snodgrass at one point thought to be a lock to be a Buckeye commit by many.

Army All-American Game

WHEN: January 4th, 1 p.m.
WHERE: San Antonio, Texas

OSU Commits OSU Targets Former Targets B1G Commits
Dante Booker Marshon Lattimore Kyle Allen (Texas A&M) Nick Allegretti (Illinois)
Johnnie Dixon Malik McDowell Myles Autry Jesse Aniebonam (Maryland)
Jalyn Holmes Derrick Nnadi Drew Barker (Kentucky) Mason Cole (Michigan)
Marcelys Jones Erick Smith Nick Chubb (Georgia) Brian Allen (MSU)
Demetrius Knox Solomon Thomas Matt Elam Montae Nicholson (MSU)
Curtis Samuel   Clifton Garrett (LSU) Connor Mayes (Minnesota)
Damon Webb   Elijah Hood (North Carolina) Jaden Gault (Wisconsin)
    Jalen Hurd (Tennessee)  
    Demarre Kitt (Clemson)  
    Josh Malone (Tennessee)  
    Artavis Scott (Clemson)  

Damon Webb and Demetrius Knox team up with Solomon Thomas and Malik McDowell on the West team, and will surely be recruiting the Buckeye targets hard. Interestingly enough, Webb and McDowell are both from Michigan, while Knox and Thomas are both from Texas. This really couldn't have worked out much better for the Buckeyes, as Webb and Knox can serve as de facto "hosts" for McDowell and Thomas respectively.

The rest of the Buckeye targets and commits are on the East team. Similar to the opening, the days leading up to the game will be a Buckeye showcase, and I would expect Ohio State to gain some momentum with Thomas, McDowell and Nnadi this week, especially with likely commitments from Lattimore and Smith at the game.

Why you should watch: To see several future Buckeyes in action. Ohio State already has seven Army All-Americans committed and at least three more that could eventually be Buckeyes. You should watch because Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith will be announcing their college decisions (time TBA). Also, we may get a chance to see Damon Webb go head-to-head with Johnnie Dixon and/or Curtis Samuel.

There are several players that Ohio State showed interest in at one point playing in this game as well as a few players committed to other Big Ten schools. After watching plenty of highlights, it will be exciting to see the future Buckeyes go up against some of the best of the best. A few more interesting matchups to watch are: Dante Booker against RB Joe Mixon, Jalyn Holmes against Knox and Jaden Gault (Wisconsin commit), Knox against Derek Nnadi and potentially Solomon Thomas against Marcelys Jones.

Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl

WHEN: January 5th, 9 p.m.
WHERE: Carson, CA
TV: Fox Sports 1

OSU Commits OSU Targets FOrmer Targets B1G Commits
    Orlando Brown Jr. (Tennesee) Zack Darlington (Nebraska)
    Poona Ford (Louisville) Clayton Thorson (Northwestern)
    Dallis Todd (Oklahoma) Johnathon Thomas (Penn State)
    Trevion Thompson George Panos (Wisconsin)

Why you should watch: To check out some players Ohio State will face in the future. Zack Darlington was at one point a top target for the Buckeyes, and is a tremendous player that Nebraska is getting. Darlington is not playing in the game due to an injury, but Clayton Thorson, Johnathon Thomas and George Panos are all highly-touted players that the Buckeyes will have to deal with in the future. Additionally, Ohio State will have to go up against the 6-foot-5 talented WR Dallis Todd when they face Oklahoma in 2016 and 2017 (his junior and senior seasons).


Comments Show All Comments

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Excellent preview, Brandon. Really appreciate all this great info, and am looking forward to seeing these guys in action!

SHAKENBAKE68's picture

Thanks JB. I appreciate all this info. I hope I can watch a couple of these games. It would be nice if our commits could sway a couple of our targets!

There is no such thing as "friendly fire"..

Tjames43's picture

I wish Sam Hubbard, Terry, and Parris were at ome of these games. I think they would play well.

John Brandon's picture

Me too, a little surprised/disappointed they aren't playing in any of the games but 9 guys in all American games plus more to come isn't too shabby. Buckeyes are looking at potentially 10 guys in the Army game alone

Tjames43's picture

Is either Sam or Parris playing in the Ohio North South game?

John Brandon's picture

I don't believe the rosters have been set for it yet, game is in late April 

BABuckeye's picture

Agreed. Especially after Terry did so well at The Opening.

Seattle Linga's picture

Hopefully January 3rd will be an ice-breaker of what we will witness on January 4th. At least TWO more Gray Boxes Please.....................

teddyballgame's picture

How is it decided who gets invited to what game?  I notice that TTUN has a lot of players in the Under Armor while we have a lot in the Army game.

John Brandon's picture

The game invites who they choose to and the players pick which game they want to go to. A lot of guys are invited to multiple ones. The army game has historically been more prestigious I believe but UA has been as good or better in recent years. But it's a mixed bag, not all the best guys go to one game or another

teddyballgame's picture

Thanks for the info.  I imagine it also depends where they might want to travel.  Tampa or San Antonio...

John Brandon's picture

Very true, as well as playing with future teammates especially

Crimson's picture

Army is historically the big one, and some prefer to go out of respect for the military.  However, Under Armor has been pretty even (or more popular) with recruits recently, because they give out better swag.

cinserious's picture

I would imagine, being in Florida, the UA game would be more of an Eastern or Southern thing for players, while the Army game is more centralized for the whole 'East/West ' matchup.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

John Brandon's picture

Actually this is a really good point, if you look at the rosters you'll see this is the case 

Hovenaut's picture

Definitely plan on referencing this come gametime(s). 
Nice work John. 

John Brandon's picture

Thanks Hove, I'll be sure to tweet it or link it in the forums or something come gametime to make it easier to find

Jbucks's picture

Hoping somthing great comes out of this, though id love Tony Brown to pick the Good Guys, maybe Kwon will get to him but, the 1 I think we need to land (i say need mostly bcuz of the Webb Lattimore Smith commits) (assuming they do) im gonna say Thomas & Nnadi are the 2 big ones for me, I think yiu can never have enough great talent in the lines

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

cinserious's picture

First of all, thank you 11W for this awesome update!
That team Nitro defense in the UA game is just sick. Kwon,Peppers,Hand...WOW!
The Army AA game will be sweet too with so many Buckeye targets and commits. We could see 4 players declare during the game. Awesome time to be a Buckeye!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

John Brandon's picture

Certainly a lot to be excited about with these games. I don't always watch them but the Army and UA bowls are much watch games for me this year.

UA to see Kwon and the insane defense he's playing with, along with Jamarco going against the best of the best and I'm excited to see Deshaun Watson and some of the other studs in this game.

Army because of all the Buckeyes in it and a couple more announcements 

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

I'll be watching some of these games!  I can't wait to hear that we get some more recruits!!  I hope that we get a few surprise recruits as well like last year!!
Go Bucks!!

Jbucks's picture

Recruiting Nation on Twitter posted a video of Jamarco Jones sending Juju Smith a recruiting pitch, I wasnt able to watch it, anyone know what was said? also Tony Brown listed OSU in top 5 leaving out TAMU

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

Jbucks's picture

Rumors swirling that Tony Brown is comitting to OSU, his date is Thursday

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

kholmes's picture

Great summary, John.
FYI - Michigan recruits Harris, Ferns, and Wangler are all injured and will not play (insert turf toe joke here).

John Brandon's picture

Thanks for the info kholmes