10 Biggest Takeaways from 2014 High School Football All-Star Games
High school football all-star games are always interesting to cover because so much happens around each of them. There's always observing which recruits are performing well during practices, the recruiting buzz and then prospects announcing their decisions.
With the Under Armour and Army all-star games now over, it's time to reflect. A lot of things happened over the past few days, so it would be wise to hit on some of the key moments.
An SEC school will not finish this recruiting cycle as strong as many thought, while a Pac-12 school is showing signs of life on the trail. Plus, a mother once again showed her displeasure on national television.
Herman Edwards and Steve Mariucci Are Great for the Under Armour Game
The Under Armour game is slowly emerging as the premier all-star football game for elite recruits. The 2014 edition had a wealth of talent, but it also was once again coached by two former NFL head coaches.
Herman Edwards and Steve Mariucci are outstanding tutors for this game, as they both do an excellent job of blending their exceptional football knowledge and ability to communicate with some humor.
"Herm" and "Mooch" both know the game is about the kids, and they don't make it about themselves. They also seem to understand how to keep the players relaxed so everyone has fun during the game.
April Justin Will Never Be Happy
The mother of Alabama safety Landon Collins and 5-star defensive lineman Gerald Willis, April Justin has made it perfectly clear she is an LSU fan.
She made headlines during the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game by visibly not agreeing with Collins' decision to pick 'Bama over the Tigers. This year, she was up to her old ways.
When Willis announced for the Gators, she was once again visibly annoyed that her son would not be playing in Baton Rouge.
Sean White Can Play with Anyone
Sean White has played his cards as well as any prospect has during the 2014 recruiting cycle. The 3-star passer looked great during spring and summer camps, then he had a solid season at University High School in Florida.
He then threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns during the Under Armour All-America game, per the official stats. Auburn is getting a sleeper at quarterback in White.
And Just Like That, Here Comes USC
USC hasn't made as much noise as it usually makes on the recruiting trail. However, the Trojans are starting to get loud.
They picked up two 4-star commitments this weekend, as tight end Bryce Dixon and receiver/cornerback Rahshead Johnson decided to be Trojans. Look for USC to use this momentum to finish strong on the recruiting trail.
Players Form Tight Bonds During the Week of All-Star Games
These all-star games are operated like well-oiled machines. Organizers do not just bring in players the night before the game.
Practices are scheduled, events are held, and meetings take place during the week leading up to the game. During this time, it's evident the recruits playing in the game start to form tight bonds—especially the ones going to the same college.
It's great to see the best players in the country bond and form lasting friendships at these events.
Put More Focus on All-Star Game Practices Than Actual All-Star Games
Watching all-star games is always fun because it's neat to see many top players on the field at one time. However, don't put much stock into a prospect's performance during these games.
Like NFL scouts treat the Senior Bowl, it's wiser to track a player's performance during the week of practices. A lot goes into a football game regarding timing, strategy, scheme, cohesiveness and more.
The reps players get during drills in practice during the week are better tools to use to evaluate them than their actual performances during the game.
Declarations Continue to Get Stranger
College football recruiting has come under some scrutiny in recent years due to it making recruits celebrities before they play a down of college football.
Among the most tangible evidence of this is the coverage and attention prospects receive when making their college declarations. While the Army game stuck to the semi-traditional platform of having a recruit pick the hat of the school he was choosing, things were a little different at the Under Armor game.
Watch the clip above to find out how.
Kyle Allen Is Going to Have Some Serious Weapons Around Him at Texas A&M
Kyle Allen is a 5-star quarterback who is headed to Texas A&M, and it's starting to become clear he's going to have excellent weapons at his disposal around him in College Station.
Speedy Noil, a 5-star athlete who is expected to play receiver in college, committed to the Aggies at the Under Armour game. Then, 4-star receiver Frank Iheanacho pledged to Texas A&M at the Army game.
Toss in 4-star running back Varshaun Nixon, plus current young receivers such as Ricky Seals-Jones, Sebastian LaRue, Laquvionte Gonzalez, JaQuay Williams and Kyrion Parker at Texas A&M and you see why Allen is smiling.
Alabama Can Beat Any School for Any Recruit at Anytime
Alabama is on pace to bring in one of the best classes in recruiting history. Once again, it proved that it can win any recruiting battle it enters.
Sure, 5-star defensive back Jalen Tabor spurned the Tide for Arizona, but Alabama still pulled off some nice recruiting wins in recent days.
Also, don't forget earlier in the cycle, the folks in Tuscaloosa won fierce recruiting battles over 5-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, 5-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, 4-star linebacker Christian Miller, 4-star offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher and 4-star defensive tackle Josh Frazier.
LSU Will Not Be Finishing as Strong as Many Thought It Would
The Tigers are still going to sign a great class, but it won't be as strong of a group as they hoped.