The U.S. Army All-American Bowl took place yesterday, and there were several Michigan-related players involved – including offensive tackle Chuck Filiaga, who committed to the Wolverines during the broadcast (LINK). Here are my thoughts on the game, which was won 27-17 by the East.
Cheshire (CT) Cheshire Academy wide receiver Tarik Black was a backup wideout for the East team, but he was the first receiver in off the bench. He earned positive reviews throughout the week of practice for his route-running abilities, something that I noted in his commitment post. The East quarterbacks targeted him a few times, but he ended the game with just 1 catch for 9 yards. One of the incompletions was a back-shoulder fade on which Black failed to adjust (a tough play that almost never works with such little time to build chemistry), and the other was a post route that was thrown too high and broken up by the defensive back. He played about as expected.
Aledo (TX) Aledo offensive tackle Chuck Filiaga was the backup right tackle for the West. To be honest, I did not keep an eye out for Filiaga. He was the backup right tackle, and there were too many other players to watch.
Flint (MI) Southwestern defensive end Deron Irving-Bey was a backup defensive end for the East squad. He’s another player that I did not notice, except for 1 QB pressure. I did record the game, and I’ll go back and take a look before finalizing the TTB Ratings, but for now I have nothing significant to report. I can say that he did not stand out, because if he had, I would have noticed.
Hit the jump for more.
Littleton (CO) Valor Christian quarterback Dylan McCaffrey was the third-string QB for the West team after missing the first day of practice last week. When he entered the game, he led the squad on its best drive of the first half. It started off with a 38-yard completion on a screen route. He looked crisp and in control, but the center had a few bad snaps that were down at McCaffrey’s ankles or rolling back to him on the ground, so there were some glitches. By my count, he finished the game 2/4 for 40 yards and 3 carries for 10 yards. A deep ball was underthrown, but McCaffrey was rolling right and under pressure. There were questions throughout the week about his arm strength, and he does need to get bigger/stronger, but I think he has plenty of arm strength to be successful in the Big Ten.
Detroit (MI) Cass Tech wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones had a solid game and was one of the East team’s top targets. He started at wide receiver and played a majority of the game, at least until the East grabbed a comfortable lead. He ended up with 2 catches for 22 yards, one a 3-yard in route on which he fell to the ground immediate, and the other on a 19-yard catch-and-run slant. He also had a very nice catch on a poorly thrown ball that was tipped before it got to him, but as he gathered it in, his knees were landing on the sideline to cause an incompletion. He did a solid job of blocking a couple times, but he did get called for a holding penalty (which was declined to force a 4th down).
Detroit (MI) King cornerback Ambry Thomas (East team) earned the start at left cornerback. He wasn’t tested much because the West offensive line couldn’t protect the passer, but he did notch 1 pass breakup. He earned good reviews throughout the week, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be a high-impact player in Ann Arbor.
I was very interested to see what the running backs would do in this game, because the offensive lines are always subpar. It confirmed what’s been in the back of my mind for a while, and that’s the idea that Cam Akers (Florida State) is a better pure runner than Najee Harris (Alabama). I don’t think Harris is the #1 player in the country, let alone the top running back. Harris is the type of guy who needs an offensive line to create some room. When he gets going downhill, he can run and he can lower his shoulder to truck some people, but a weak OL is going to cause him problems. Akers is the type of kid who has the quickness, strength, vision, and speed to create something out of nothing. I’m not insulting Harris, but out of these two elite players, I would take Akers first.
I hate to say it, but I really like Ohio State’s class. Quarterback Tate Martell can run and throw the ball, defensive end Chase Young is quite a speed rusher, and cornerback/safety Jeffrey Okudah looks like a very solid ‘tweener type that the Buckeyes have had a ton of success with in recent years.
Florida State wide receiver commit D.J. Matthews can fly. Every team wants that type of speed, but it’s hard to find.
Overall, I was much more impressed with the talent at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl than the Under Armour All-American Game. There were some solid players at the UA game, and some had good performances, but I think the Army game had better players and more depth at every position group.
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