The 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl certainly lived up to expectations.
Some of the very best college football recruits were on display in this game, and they did not disappoint.
In the end, the East team beat the West team, 15-8, in what was a very exciting and well-played game. The bright lights were on, the nation was tuned in and the stage was set, and many of these recruits showed us why they are so highly ranked heading into college.
I intently watched and scouted the top 25 players in this all-star game (according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings), and here are the grades that I came away with:
Note: Considering that all of these players are All-Americans, the lowest grade a player could have received was a C-. N/A's were given to skill players who weren't targeted. Grades were based on how much a recruit was able to stand out and make plays among other elite recruits.
Mike Mitchell displayed very good athleticism and strength setting the edge as an outside linebacker, especially in the fourth quarter. He has the size and speed to stretch runs to the outside on the edge, and he's talented enough to finish the tackle.
Mitchell also committed to Ohio State at the game.
Justin Manning did not make much of an impact on this game, but he still possesses incredible potential. He has a great combination of size and quickness. He'll be able to shoot the gap at the college level and make a ton of plays in the backfield.
The less you hear about a lineman during the course of the game, the better they played. There was a ton of pressure on the quarterbacks for the West team, but much of it came from the edges. Overall, the interior of the line played well. Credit Jake Raulerson for much of that play.
Greg Bryant is a very strong runner and displayed that a few times in this game. He can run between the tackles and pick up strong yards, but he's also able to cut it outside and make big runs. He's very hard to take down and is always running his legs and fighting forward against tackles.
Bryant had an impressive showing in this game.
Tahaan Goodman displayed great athleticism and football instincts early in the second quarter by sniffing out a screen and making a great tackle that likely saved a ton of yards. He played very physical and made a highlight hit in the second half.
Daniel McMillan only had two tackles in this game and a somewhat underwhelming showing. That doesn't take away from his potential as an outside linebacker, though. He has great intangibles and will fit nicely in Florida's defensive scheme.
Derrick Green displayed some great straight-line speed when he got the ball, but he also ran very strong. He's an explosive runner who can be solid between the tackles, but can also be shifty in the second level.
He ran very strong and seemed to get better every time he got the football. Green converted a huge fourth-down run midway through the third quarter.
Altee Tenpenny showed very good potential coming out the backfield as a pass-catcher. In the first quarter he ran a quick route into the flats and showed off some very good hands and concentration as a receiver. Tenpenny will be a versatile back at the college level.
As a runner, he was very shifty on the few handoffs he did receive. He also displayed great power and tenacity.
There was a lot of pressure on the West quarterbacks today, and a lot of it came from the right side of the line. To be fair to Kent Perkins, he was going up against the best pass-rushers in the nation as far as recruits are concerned.
Perkins has incredible potential overall, so there's nothing to worry about if you're a Texas fan.
Eli Woodward/Apple didn't show up on the stat sheet for this game, though he did play. He's a very good recruit for Ohio State, but as far as this all-star game was concerned, he was a non-factor.
Thomas Tyner showed very good potential when he got the ball. He's extremely explosive with the ball, and all he needs is a small lane to make something happen. He displayed elite speed and shiftiness as a runner.
A'Shawn Robinson was very impressive as a pass-rusher. He displayed incredible agility and quickness as he was able to shoot the gap and get good pressure on the quarterback in the fourth quarter.
Robinson has a ton of potential considering his combination of size, speed and agility. He finished this game with four tackles.
Derrick Henry picked up the first touchdown of the game on a counter play. It was a very strong run for a few yards. He's a very physical runner and drives his legs and picks up tough yards.
He was easily the most impressive offensive player in this game. Henry looked elite among the elite recruits.
Henry notched 53 yards on 10 carries and scored one touchdown.
Derrick Griffin caught a beautiful touchdown pass from Max Browne midway through the fourth quarter. He went and high-pointed the ball on the sideline in the end zone over the cornerback.
Out of all the receivers in this game, Griffin may have the most potential, especially as a receiver in the red zone. His height at 6'7'' makes him a very valuable wide receiver recruit for the Aggies.
Jalen Ramsey had somewhat of an underwhelming game considering how good he has the potential to be. He was in the right spots in the secondary but didn't make many big plays.
Ramsey notched one tackle.
Mackensie Alexander had a very productive all-star game.
He looked very impressive as a punt returner and was able to get some valuable field position for his team. He also looked good in the flats as a defender and made one very notable strong tackle.
Eddie Vanderdoes came up with a very impressive sack midway through the second quarter. He was able to chase the quarterback out of the pocket and wrap him up with a solid tackle. He displayed great quickness, athleticism and strength.
Vanderdoes also made a strong tackle in the third quarter in the backfield. He's a very physically imposing defensive lineman and really stands out on the line of scrimmage.
Ricky Seals-Jones had a disappointing all-star game. He was targeted a few times but didn't come away with a catch in this game. He still has immense potential, and he did stretch the defense as a deep threat.
Overall, this game didn't show us what Seals-Jones is capable of as an elite recruit.
Kendall Fuller played very physical as a corner, especially when he was one-on-one with 6'7'' wideout Derrick Griffin. He was able to disrupt the route, but still displayed the speed to stick with the deep route.
Fuller committed a big pass-interference penalty in the fourth on an under-thrown ball. He displayed good instincts to come back to the ball, though. A few plays later he almost intercepted the same kind of throw down the sideline.
Kenny Bigelow came up with a very impressive sack on the first play of the game. He showed off his combination of size, speed and agility. He was able to shoot the gap and chase down the quarterback right outside of the pocket.
Bigelow has incredible potential. He notched two tackles and a sack overall in this game.
Max Browne was very impressive in this game, and he looks like he can be the next great quarterback for USC. He displayed good pocket presence and showed off a huge arm.
Browne threw a beautiful touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter. He displayed great touch on a fade route to the corner of the end zone. He then completed the pass for a two-point conversion.
Laremy Tunsil displayed a lot in the time that he was on the field. He's a big, powerful run-blocker who is athletic and agile enough to block linebackers at the second level.
I would have liked to see more of Tunsil overall.
Jaylon Smith showed some great quickness and athleticism as a pass-rusher. He was able to get great pressure on the quarterback and forced a sack midway through the second quarter. He was able to flush the quarterback out of the pocket because of his speed..
Smith also showed great speed in pursuit and took very strong angles and was very comfortable in space in coverage. On top of all that, Smith blocked a very important field goal in the third quarter. He finished with four total tackles.