10 Bold Predictions for 2014 Under Armour All-America Game
Mixed in among all of the college football bowl hype, the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game will take place on Thursday (4 p.m. ET on ESPN).
Most of the nation’s top recruits will be in action during this game. More importantly, several of those recruits will be making a commitment during the game.
A lot is expected to happen, but why wait until Thursday to think about it?
Join B/R as we take a stab at making 10 bold predictions for this year’s edition of the game.
Defensive Backs Come Up with a Combined 8 Interceptions
It’s really all about picking your poison for the quarterbacks in this game.
In total, there are eight 5-star defensive backs set to play during Thursday’s contest. Eight of the top 10 cornerbacks will be in action, while each of the top three safeties will be participating.
Given that there is only one 5-star quarterback in action, the secondary will be favored to make a lot of plays.
In this case, look for these talented prospects to thrive, picking off a whopping eight combined passes.
Jamal Adams Helps Shut Down Speedy Noil
Devante “Speedy” Noil is the No. 1 WR for a reason.
The New Orleans native has looked impressive in practices. His explosiveness—paired with his ability to get in and out of breaks quickly—has many scouts singing his praises.
Noil, however, is certain to meet his match against a talented secondary.
That’s especially the case with 5-star composite safety Jamal Adams.
The Carrollton, Texas, native has showcased very technically sound mechanics for this stage of his career. He had impressive showings during the one-on-one portions of practice and has shown the ability to be very vocal on the field.
Adams is just the guy who can help bottle up Noil.
Thomas Holley Proves Doubters Wrong
The secondary isn’t the only aspect of the defense that will be loaded. The defensive line also boasts a talented crop, including four 5-star prospects among a slew of impressive 4-star recruits that are sure to impress; however, 4-star Thomas Holley isn't expected to be one of them.
Look for Holley to prove his doubters wrong, though.
A Penn State commit, Holley has been noted to be extremely raw. Not to mention, he will need to gain a little more weight before he can be taken seriously.
With several talented defensive linemen beside him, look for the offense to zero in on these guys, giving Holley several opportunities to make the offensive line pay for slacking off on him.
With a formidable secondary behind him, expect the quarterback to be stuck in the pocket longer than he would like, presenting Holley with the perfect chance to make some noise.
QB Play Is All-Around Poor
While other positions will have a tremendous amount of talent on display Thursday, the same cannot be said about the quarterback position.
Only one 5-star quarterback will be in action during this year’s Under Armour All-America Game. Furthermore, only one of the quarterbacks ranks in 247Sports’ top 50, with just three ranking inside the top 100.
The lone 5-star, Keller Chryst, will have plenty of talented receivers to choose from; however, the defensive line and secondary are likely to provide issues.
The other available arms all have the potential to grow into solid passers, but for most, Thursday’s contest will prove to be a bit overwhelming.
Jacory Washington Steals the Show
Lost among the long list of talented receivers during Thursday’s game is tight end Jacory Washington.
A 4-star recruit, Washington is only No. 12 among his position, according to 247Sports.com; however, the Westlake, La., native has been impressive in practice.
Washington shined in the skills competition, securing the top time of the day while being the only prospect not to drop the ball, via Nola.com’s James Smith.
Playing in the seams, Washington will mainly go up against the linebackers—whose group only includes one 5-star prospect—and will have a lot easier task than his wide receiver teammates. Look for Washington to be a safe haven to whoever his quarterback is, working as the go-to guy in clutch situations.
It should all lead to a pretty successful day for Washington.
Neither Team Cracks 10 Points
If you thought last year’s 16-3 game was as defensive as it gets, think again.
This year, neither team should top 10 points.
That’s because the talent on the defensive side of the ball far outweighs the talent on offensive side. In fact, the defense tops the offense with 13 5-star prospects in comparison to nine.
The biggest mismatch could be the quarterback position against the secondary. There is only one 5-star arm in the mix, while there are eight 5-star defensive backs.
Look for both teams to turn to the ground game, resulting in an overall low-scoring game.
Travis Rudolph Spurns 'Noles, Commits to Alabama
Florida wide receiver Travis Rudolph is one of the top wide receivers in the nation.
A 4-star recruit, Rudolph is favored to commit to Florida State (73 percent) or Florida (24 percent). Alabama is a distant third (3 percent).
After visiting the Alabama campus on Dec. 13, however, Rudolph said he's leaning toward the Crimson Tide, via Rivals' Mike Farrell.
Given his West Palm Beach, Fla., roots, though, many still expect the youngster to stay local. Not to mention, the Seminoles being one win away from a BCS title certainly helps.
Unfortunately for the Sunshine state, Rudolph will surprise people and pledge his allegiance to helping Nick Saban and Alabama get back to their championship-winning form.
Leonard Fournette Shows Why He Is No. 1, Rushes for 100 Yards...
Just from a physical standpoint, Leonard Fournette has all the looks of an NFL-ready running back.
The 5-star prospect is considered the composite No. 1 overall prospect of the Class of 2014. From his explosiveness to his ability to break tackles, Fournette has it all.
In a game that will be largely made up of defensive plays, expect Fournette to be one of the bright spots of the offensive side of things. He should make things look easy.
Although most running backs only see limited carries during these games, Fournette will easily have enough opportunities to crack the century mark.
...then Shocks the Nation by Committing to Alabama
For a long time now, the decision for 5-star prospect Leonard Fournette has come down to either LSU or Alabama.
According to many, the Tigers seem to be the odds on favorite to land the New Orleans native. Even 247Sports has LSU with a 95 percent shot of landing the local standout.
Regardless, Fournette will decide against his hometown roots and follow the Tide and their reputation for winning national championships.
It might make him the enemy of the state in Louisiana, but it will position him for a ton of success at the collegiate level.
Even After Losing out on Fournette, LSU Is the Day's Biggest Winner
Losing 5-star prospect Leonard Fournette will be a tough pill to swallow for LSU, but other than that, things will be all good for the Tigers on Thursday.
Among the prospects announcing their decisions, 5-star recruits Tony Brown, Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis will all choose to join LSU. Also, Thursday’s top defensive performer—Jamal Adams—will announce his decision to come to Baton Rouge, La.
All in all, it will be a great day for LSU as far as the Class of 2014 goes.