2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Recap with In-Game Commitments
Written by Ryan Wright
Under the bright lights of the Alamodome in the Lone Star State where everything is bigger, nothing was as big as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday. Top players from around the country converged on San Antonio for one last high school showcase game delighting college football fans from sea to shining sea.
A few days to prepare for a game as complicated as football is never easy, but some made it look easier than others. On the East’s opening drive, 5-star Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence threw an improbable pick with IMG Academy’s Brendan Radley-Hiles tipping the pass for the interception. On the East’s second drive, Lawrence, looking to redeem himself, lost a fumble but was recovered by a teammate and then threw a second interception, this time into the arms of Steele High School’s Caden Sterns.
On the West roster, Matt Corral got the second-team drive leading his squad down the field for a Charles Campbell 32-yard field goal, making good after a miss earlier in the game.
In-game commits at all-star games have become the norm seeing East squad linebacker JJ Peterson, from Colquitt County (GA), announce just before the end of the first quarter that he was heading to Tennessee over Georgia and Alabama.
Miami Hurricanes signee Jarren Williams, from Central Gwinnett (GA), took over for the East with just over three minutes left in the first quarter. Hopes were high but Aidan Hutchinson started off the second quarter with a sack for the West. A fourth-and-19 led to an East punt with 5-star Tanner McKee taking over on the West’s opening drive of the second quarter. Both squads had troubles connecting on passing routes trading three-and-outs.
A second in-game commitment took place, the is one from Mater Dei offensive guard Chris Murray choosing UCLA over Notre Dame and Stanford.
Problems for quarterbacks continued on the field with JT Daniels throwing a pick with four minutes left before halftime brought down by Mobile (AL) defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis.
On the last drive before halftime, Trevor Lawrence drove the East squad down the field setting up a 32-yard field goal by South Pointe High School (SC) kicker BT Potter. The drive was stalled after another sack by Michigan defensive end commit Hutchinson. Despite all the action on the field, the teams went into halftime tied 3-all.
Matt Corral got the start under center for the West out of the locker room but the East forced a three-and-out. Lawrence got the start for the East, and after a couple of penalties against the West, pushed the ball down the field into scoring position. Miami Central star running back James Cook gave the East a 10-3 lead on a 16-yard touchdown run to the right with 6:21 left in the third.
Late in the third quarter Baton Rouge safety Kelvin Joseph picks LSU over Florida State, Alabama, and Auburn.
Inside their own 5-yard line, Tanner McKee took over for the West launching a 40-yard pass down the left side of the field to Amon-Ra St. Brown escaping the shadow of their goal post. On the reception, St. Brown fought off a defensive pass interference for the reception but then punted the ball into the stands for an unnecessary penalty.
With the East holding the West to a punt, Hutchinson against got into the mix with another sack taking down Jarren Williams with 1:30 left before the end of the third quarter forcing a third-and-18 which led to a punt.
Speedy Kentucky wide receiver Rondale Moore of Trinity High School commits to Purdue over Ohio State, Florida State, and Alabama. Moore, one of the fastest players on the field Saturday, has a posted 4.3 time in the 40-yard dash.
The fourth quarter started off with fireworks on a drive led by JT Daniels. Daniels connected with Miami wide receiver signee Brian Hightower on three passes including a completion on a third-and-21 to keep the drive going. On first-and-10, with 9:21 left in the fourth, Daniels dropped back for a 16-yard connection with St. Brown tying the game at 10-all.
In the fourth quarter, two more verbal commitments took place. IMG Academy cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles commits to Oklahoma over USC, UCLA, and Florida State and Amon-Ra St. Brown commited to USC.
On the field, Notre Dame quarterback commit Phil Jurkovec threw a pick with 7:59 left in the game with Caden Sterns coming up with his second interception of the game.
The West quickly pounced on the turnover with Ole Miss quarterback commit Matt Corral leading a two-play drive with a corner of the end zone touchdown pass from the 3-yard line to Episcopal High School’s (TX) Jaylen Waddle for a 17-10 lead.
On the ensuing East possession, Lawrence drove the ball down the field connecting with James Cook on a 10-yard pass play to the corner of the left end zone with 2:57 left in the game. In the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the game cannot be extended into overtime. The East went for the win on a trick play 2-point conversion trying a double-reverse pass but could not convert giving the West a 17-16 win.
Texas safety commit Caden Sterns wins Most Valuable Player of the Game honors with two interceptions in the game.
Photo credit: US Army All American Bowl; West offense vs. East Defense