Under Armour All-American Game 2014: Top Players to Watch for on Both Teams

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 2, 2014

Jul 1, 2013; Beaverton, OR, USA;  Speedy Noil does the powerball drill during the SPARQ Rating National Championship at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon on Monday July, 1, 2013. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Under Armour All-American game will take place Jan. 2, and there will be a number of exciting college recruits to keep an eye out for during the game.

Coverage for the game will begin at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN, with Team Highlight taking on Team Nitro.  The nation's top recruits across the country will be playing against each other, and while some players have already committed to their respective schools, others are still waiting to make a decision.

Let's take a look at a few players from each team to watch for in this All-American game, breaking down what makes them such exciting recruits.

Note: All information and statistics regarding recruits provided by 247sports.com, and recruit rankings are based off of their composite rankings.


Team Nitro

Da'Shawn Hand, Defensive End (Alabama)

As the No. 4 recruit in the nation, Da'Shawn Hand is considered the best defensive player in the country for his recruiting class.  He will be joining the Alabama Crimson Tide next year, which means that we will likely be hearing his name on the big stage in the near future.

Hand finished his high school career with 56 sacks thanks to a 16-sack season as a senior this year.  He's a commanding defensive lineman that's able to dominate his opponents by rushing the quarterback and taking down ball-carriers in the backfield.  

At 6'4'', 265 pounds, Hand's frame gives him the opportunity to add some more weight during his college career, so he has the potential to move inside of the line.

This will be a great opportunity to see how Hand can play against the country's top offensive linemen.  If he can make a major impact against them, it will bode well for him when he has to go against SEC linemen in the future.


Jabrill Peppers, Athlete (Michigan)

As a running back and a defensive back, Jabrill Peppers became the No. 2 overall player in the nation thanks to his incredible athleticism.  He was able to put up nearly 1,900 total yards and 23 total touchdowns on offense in 2012.  On defense, he's recorded 137 tackles and eight interceptions over the past two years.

With Michigan, it's likely that Peppers will become a full-time defensive back for the team, and that seems to be a very good thing for the team.  According to Nick Baumgardner from MLive.com, former head coach Herm Edwards had this to say about Peppers when talking to ESPN:

It's not even close.  He's the best one I've coached.  I called Deion (Sanders) over and said look at that guy, and Deion saw the same thing.  I played that position and coached that position for a long time and he's a special talent.

For guys like Edwards and Deion Sanders to say things like that about Peppers, it means a lot, and we will see if he can show that during the game.


Team Highlight

Speedy Noil, Wide Receiver (Undecided)

With a name like Speedy Noil, I'd hope he's a good wide receiver.  As the No. 11 overall player and the No. 1 receiver in the recruiting class, the future is quite bright for this young receiver.

Currently, Noil has yet to decide on a school, but he's leaning toward either Texas A&M or LSU.  At 5'10.5'', 176 pounds, Noil is a freakishly fast recruit with a 40-yard dash time of just 4.40 seconds, which helps him pick up yards after the catch.  

As a slot receiver at the next level, Noil will be ready to come in and play as a true freshman.  He's an insanely fast player that looks like the next Tavon Austin at the position, and he's hoping that he can live up to that kind of hype.


Leonard Fournette, Running Back (Undecided)

As the top recruit in the nation, teams across the country are hoping that they can find a way to land star running back Leonard Fournette for next year.

Fournette ran for 1,792 yards and 16 touchdowns this year, but he turned a ton of heads back in 2012 after running for 2,136 yards and 31 touchdowns.  He has ideal size at the position at 6'1'', 226 pounds, along with some top-tier speed and ability to break tackles.  Fournette isn't afraid to run through defenders and explode through the line of scrimmage, making him a complete player.

While he hasn't decided on a school yet, it looks like the two top schools are either Alabama or LSU.  With how stacked both of those teams are already, they would be even more scary with a running back like Fournette on offense.