Grading the Top 25 Stars of the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game
The 2013 Under Armour All-America Game lived up to expectations, and the best college-football recruits in the nation showed us why they deserved their high rankings.
The black team (Highlight) ended up defeating the white team (Nitro), 16-3, but we all know the final score doesn't matter in an all-star game like this.
What matters the most to these players is that they were able to show off a bit of their talent to college-football fans, coaches and the media.
We got to see how these highly ranked recruits responded in game situations, and that will be huge in the evaluation process from this point forward.
I intently watched the 25 highest-ranked recruits (according to the 247Sports composite rankings) at the 2013 Under Armour game. Here's how each star recruit graded out.
Note: Considering that all of these players are All-Americans, the lowest grade a player could received was a C-. N/A's were given to skill players that weren't targeted. Grades were based on how much a recruit was able to stand out and make plays amongst other elite recruits.
25. Adam Breneman, 4-Star TE, No. 43 Overall Recruit (Penn State)
That said, he has great potential as a tight end at the next level. Breneman has good size, so he'll be able to stay put in pass protection and hold his own against defensive ends and blitzing linebackers.
His size will also allow him to be a mismatch in the secondary as a pass-catcher.
24. Jalin Marshall, 4-Star ATH, No. 42 Overall Recruit (Ohio State)
Overall, Jalin Marshall had a very impressive game and showed us the potential that he possesses as an athlete at the college level. He made one huge 44-yard reception in the second quarter where he went over the top of the safety in the seam and made a great catch.
Marshall also made one of the more impressive hits of the game on a punt return.
23. Priest Willis, 4-Star CB, No. 41 Overall Recruit (Uncommitted)
Priest Willis was rather quiet during this game as far as his ability to make plays in the secondary was concerned. That could mean that the opposing quarterback wasn't throwing his way, but there was plenty of passing all over the field in this game.
I still really like the potential that Willis will be bringing to the college level, but it's worth noting that he didn't stand out amongst the other All-Americans.
22. Stacy Coley, 4-Star WR, No. 40 Overall Recruit (Uncommitted)
I did not hear Stacy Coley's name called at all during this game. On one hand, that doesn't mean much considering that the field was crowded with the best skill players in the country. On the other hand, Coley didn't find a way to get the football.
21. Keith Ford, 4-Star RB, No. 38 Overall Recruit (Oklahoma)
Keith Ford made a few positive plays in the game and showed a ton of potential in the meantime. As a runner, he displayed incredible footwork, vision and the ability to make cuts. He even showcased his straight-line speed and vision on a great kick return. Overall, Ford was very impressive.
20. Darius James, 4-Star OG, No. 37 Overall Recruit (Texas)
A quiet game is a great game on the offensive line.
19. Max Redfield, 4-Star S, No. 36 Overall Recruit (Notre Dame)
Max Redfield's biggest moment came in the third quarter when he officially committed to Notre Dame. He's a huge commitment for the Fighting Irish, and he'll fill a very big need in their secondary.
Overall, he had a quiet game and didn't make many big plays outside of coverage on overthrown balls. I have a feeling he had the big decision on his mind, though.
18. Ty Isaac, 4-Star RB, No. 35 Overall Recruit (USC)
Ty Isaac bounced the football outside a bit too much, which isn't necessarily his strength. He's a great all-around running back, but I would have liked to see him get upfield a bit more on his runs so that he could utilize his natural size, power and straight-line speed.
17. Leon McQuay III, 5-Star S, No. 30 Overall Recruit (USC)
Leon McQuay III made one memorable play in coverage in the secondary where he displayed elite-level athleticism. It's possible that he may have the highest upside out of all the defensive backs in this class.
McQuay III's biggest moment came when he committed to USC.
16. Robbie Rhodes, 5-Star WR, No. 29 Overall Recruit (Baylor)
Robbie Rhodes only saw the football once in the flats on what appeared to be a wide receiver screen play. That points to the coaching staff trusting in his speed and ability to make people miss in the open field, and he does have a ton of that.
He didn't make much out of that play, though (four yards), and overall, Rhodes had a very quiet game. That still does not take away from his potential in any way.
15. Robert Foster, 5-Star WR, No. 28 Overall Recruit (Alabama)
Robert Foster was the premier receiver in this game, and that was easy to tell. He was the main target for his team downfield, but they also looked to him to pick up yards after the catch on shorter routes. He displayed great footwork and route-running and looked extremely comfortable overall.
Foster finished the game with 55 yards on four receptions.
14. Joey Bosa, 5-Star SDE, No. 27 Overall Recruit (Ohio State)
Joey Bosa had a few big moments in this game that really showed off his potential. There was one play in particular where he backed off the line of scrimmage as a rusher, put his hands up and was able to deflect a pass out into the flats.
He almost intercepted that pass, and he also came up with a sack off a bad snap in the fourth quarter. Bosa displayed a ton of football instinct in this game.
13. Carl Lawson, 5-Star WDE, No. 23 Overall Recruit (Auburn)
Carl Lawson got some good pressure on the quarterback in the second half, but had a very quiet game in general. That's not something that should be an issue, though, considering that this was just an all-star game. He's wouldn't want to hurt the quarterback, and besides, the elite defensive ends were seeing plenty of great pass coverage and double-teams.
12. Christian Hackenberg, 5-Star Pro QB, No. 22 Overall Recruit (Penn State)
Christian Hackenberg lived up to the expectations. He stood strong in the pocket and made some great throws.
Overall, he looks physically ready to be a big-time college quarterback, but there are still things he needs to work on. He needs to develop better timing in terms of his internal clock so he can get throws out quicker.
His stats weren't great (4-of-16 for 34 yards), but other than that, it was hard not to be impressed with Hackenberg.
11. Shane Morris, 5-Star Pro QB, No. 21 Overall Recruit (Michigan)
Potential is the key word for Shane Morris. He has great measurables and immense potential, but I just didn't see it in this game. His football needs more zip on it, especially to the sideline. He also seemed to have a pretty big case of "happy feet," and he kept flushing himself out of the pocket before the pressure dictated it.
Morris went 2-of-10 for 23 yards and one interception.
Still, one performance doesn't tell the whole story for Morris.
10. DeMarcus Walker, 5-Star SDE, No. 20 Overall Recruit (Alabama)
DeMarcus Walker showed some very good signs in this game. He's one of those "high-motor" players that's constantly rushing the quarterback and applying pressure. He has great size and can be a physical player, so overall, there's plenty to like.
He's a very strong pass-rusher and could fit the "Jack" linebacker role perfectly for Alabama.
9. Dee Liner, 5-Star DT, No. 18 Overall Recruit (Auburn)
Dee Liner was very quiet in this game. He did make one tackle, I believe, but other than that, Liner did not have a ton of production. Like I said for Carl Lawson, that doesn't tell the whole story considering the nature of an all-star game and the fact that these guys were seeing a lot of double-teams.
That said, I expected more out of Liner in this game.
8. Kelvin Taylor, 5-Star RB, No. 17 Overall Recruit (Florida)
Kelvin Taylor showed off his skill set a few times in this game, and overall, he was pretty productive. He had a nice run that demonstrated his speed and explosiveness on the edge, but also let a big pass go through his hands in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
That said, he looked very good coming out of the backfield as a receiver in the flats. He took a screen and notched a few yards, while displaying shiftiness and speed in the open field.
7. Tony Conner, 5-Star S, No. 15 Overall Recruit (Uncommited)
Tony Conner did not make an impact in this game at all. In fact, I didn't hear his name called once. Considering that this was a chance to really stand out amongst the best of the best, this wasn't a good showing for Conner.
It doesn't diminish his ability, but it would have been nice to see a few plays out of the talented safety.
6. O.J. Howard, 5-Star TE, No. 13 Overall Recruit (Alabama)
O.J. Howard didn't have a great game, but it was interesting how much he was targeted. He's a big target and a natural mismatch just about everywhere on the field, and it's obvious that the game plan was to get him the ball early on.
Unfortunately, he couldn't make plays and was covered very well by the linebackers in the red zone.
5. Matthew Thomas, 5-Star OLB, No. 9 Overall Recruit (Uncommited)
Matthew Thomas was easily the star player on team Highlight's defense. He read a screen pass perfectly and picked it off early on in the game. It would have gone back for six had he not tripped.
Thomas also made a huge hit on Shane Morris near the end of the first half. Overall, he was very impressive.
4. Reuben Foster, 5-Star ILB, No. 8 Overall Recruit (Uncommitted)
Reuben Foster was a constant presence on the field defensively. He displayed quickness, vision and awareness as a middle linebacker. He also looked comfortable in space in pass coverage. He's a very athletic linebacker, but also can play strong, physical football.
The casual fan may not have noticed Foster's play much, but it was very solid.
3. Montravius Adams, 5-Star DT, No. 7 Overall Recruit (Uncommitted)
2. Vernon Hargreaves III, 5-Star CB, No. 6 Overall Recruit (Florida)
Vernon Hargreaves III has everything that you look for in a shutdown cornerback. He has good size and is a very lanky defender. He also has the speed to stick with receivers and blanket them in the secondary.
He had a great game and made a ton of plays, stepping up at the line of scrimmage and playing strong against the run. His marquee play came late in the second quarter when he knocked a sure touchdown pass out of Laquon Treadwell's hands on the way down in the end zone.
Hargreaves III also registered an interception in the fourth quarter.
1. Robert Nkemdiche, 5-Star SDE, No. 1 Overall Recruit (Uncommitted)
Robert Nkemdiche is a pure pass-rusher, but he can also play very strong against the run.
He made an impact in this game just with his presence alone. He put a ton of pressure on the offensive line and oftentimes demanded more than one blocker.
He displayed great fundamentals, quickness and ability to pursue the quarterback out of the pocket.
Nkemdiche didn't fill out the stat sheet, but in the end, he played a great football game.