Powell steals the show in Army Game
Five-star DE one of many Florida Gators commits to have a big game
SAN ANTONIO -- The West team defeated the East 30-13 in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but there was so much more to this game than the final score. Here are a few of the highlights.
Entering the game with the No.1 class, Florida added two more players to their 2010 class and reclaimed a lost key member. One of the additions was Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde), who played a very strong game which followed a good week of practice. Powell displayed athleticism and versatility on the national stage by making plays in all three phases of the game. He played well on defense from the end position showing good quickness and speed. He ended the first half by sacking East quarterback Paul Jones (McKees Rocks, Pa./Sto-Rox) and causing a fumble. The future Gator also kicked off the scoring by catching a 23-yard touchdown pass on offense when he entered the game at tight end. Powell is a top five prospect nationally at defensive end, but he is also a talented player on offense and displayed that. He beat the coverage and went up to get the ball displaying good hands and concentration. Powell also made an impact on special teams recovering a blocked PAT attempt and bringing it back for two points. His efforts won him the MVP honors.
Florida also landed a commitment from Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, Pa./George Washington) and the defensive tackle gave Gators fans a reason to get excited with his play. The big man, who is at his best taking on blockers and using his size, flashed good quickness off the ball on several plays and was able to notch two sacks as well as being generally disruptive. The Gators also got Matt Elam (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) back in the fold after he briefly decommitted and joined the Florida State class. The versatile athlete played defense and had a solid game displaying good tackling, range, and instincts.
While West quarterbacks Jake Heaps (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) and Connor Wood (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist) had their moments, the overall quarterback play was not great. That allowed an under-the-radar signal caller who stole the show. Cole Marcoux (Bronx, N.Y./The Fieldston School), who was selected to the roster after winning a reality series, sparked the East offense and help get them on the board with impressive play in the fourth quarter. The Dartmouth commit finished 5-of-8 for 99 yards and two touchdowns, including a 50 yard hook-up with Ivan McCartney (Miramar, Fla./Miramar). With good size and a strong arm, the New York native made some good throws and displayed good pocket presence and poise. His play could generate some interest in the pocket passer and Dartmouth might have to work to try and hold onto him.
The West team got some good play from their defense for most of the game, especially its defensive line. Powell, who finished with five tackles and a sack, was joined by two other talented linemen who made their presence known. Owa Odighizuwa (Portland, Ore./David Douglas), who made news earlier in the week by putting the nation's top-ranked OT Seantrel Henderson on his butt in one-on-ones, did not have a big game statistically, but displayed good quickness off the ball and played with a high motor. A name that came across the PA system a lot was Texas commit Reggie Wilson (Haltom, Texas/Haltom), who played both inside at tackle and at end. Wilson led the West with six tackles and had a sack. He got off the ball well, used his hands and, combined with high motor play, was a disruptive and productive presence.
California had four commits in the game, but the one who had the strongest outing was Cecil Whiteside (Newport Harbor, Calif./Newport Harbor), who finished with five tackles. Playing linebacker, the versatile Whiteside displayed good short-area quickness and did a good job of locating the ball and tackling. He landed a good stick in the fourth quarter which could be heard throughout the Alamodome.
In the secondary Trovon Reed (Thibodaux, La./Thibodaux), who pulled double duty and is projected as a wide receiver in college, played a strong game at cornerback. He did well in man coverage showing his speed and athleticism and using his height. Ahmad Dixon (Waco, Texas/Midway), a top five safety prospect, displayed his athleticism by lining up at corner in the game. He was beat in the first quarter, giving up a 41 yard pass to Markeith Ambles (McDonough, Ga./Henry County), but showed the short memory you like to see in a defensive back by bouncing back on the next play and breaking up a potential touchdown pass.
Rising to the challenge
The East offensive tackles had their work cut for them trying to block a talented West defensive line, but right tackles Robert Crisp (Hillsborough, N.C./Cedar Ridge) and Damien Robinson (Olive Branch, Miss./Olive Branch) held their own. Often facing MVP Powell, both big men made the Florida commit work to get to the ball. After a rocky start to the week, many eyes were on Henderson, the nation's best OT, but the 6-foot-7, 297-pounder played well, putting forth an unspectacular, but solid performance. Texas commit Dominic Espinosa (Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park) lived every lineman's dream by recovering a fumble in end zone in the fourth quarter and scoring a touchdown.
Up and down day for wideouts: It was a rough day for wide receiver Kyle Prater (Hillside, Ill./Proviso), who did not play overly well. The big receiver dropped a couple of passes including two potential touchdowns. None of his drops were easy grabs, but the big target who has a great catch radius and good and quick hands could not reel in some passes you would expect him to make. Prater, who said he is backing off his commitment to USC, finished with three catches for 32 yards to lead the East, but he could have had a bigger impact. On the flipside, West receiver Robert Woods (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) had a good outing and did not seem to be too bothered by the news surrounding USC. The tall and speedy wideout had two catches for 57 yards and also flashed some ability in the return game.
Sometimes special teams
Special teams play was up-and-down for the East squad. Punter Will Hagerup (Whitefish Bay, Wisc./Whitefish Bay), who is committed to Michigan, had a strong day punting and averaged 46 yards and Michael Palardy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas) displayed good ability to execute an onside kick. On the bad side, blocks led to nine West points. The West blocked a field goal attempt in the second quarter and an extra point attempt in the fourth. In the return game the athletic Keenan Allen (Greensboro, N.C./Northern Guilford), who played safety in the game, continued to show that he has the ability to be a dangerous returner and returned a kick and a punt for 33 yards.
Running back Spencer Ware (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton) had a good outing leading the East with 65 yards on the ground, including a long of 35. He hit the hole quickly and displayed good vision and burst as a runner. ... New Alabama commit C.J. Mosley (Theodore, Ala./Theodore) finished with only two tackles, but was an active defender for the West and displayed good speed and range as well as closing burst to ball carrier. ... Blake Lueders (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) led the East in tackles with five and also forced a fumble. Lueders, who played linebacker in the game, is a good sized prospect who could play end or linebacker in college. The Notre Dame commit could be a great in their 3-4 defense and the Fighting Irish should make sure they hold onto him.
Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Gerry Hamilton contributed to this report.