Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., played host to some of the nation's top collegiate football recruits on Jan. 11 in the annual Blue-Grey All-American Bowl as the South defeated the North in a 47-44, double-overtime thriller.
Plenty of high school's greatest players were flashing their skills one final time before making the jump to college ball, and the stars of the game itself had already made their collegiate intentions known.
DeMatha Catholic's Chris Jones, a big-bodied wide receiver already committed to Wisconsin, was the star of the first half. He got things started early with a 79-yard touchdown reception from Robert Webber, as the bowl's Twitter details:
Wisconsin commit Chris Jones catches a 79-yard touchdown pass from Robert Webber and North leads, 14-7, at midway point of first quarter.— Blue-Grey Football (@BlueGreyFB) January 12, 2014
Jones would go on to score three touchdowns in the half and give the North a 34-7 lead by halftime.
St. Petersburg Northeast's Keith Harrington had seen enough by the time the second half began. The Washington State commit used his blazing speed to score two touchdowns in the half, including one early in the fourth to bring his team back to life:
We have a game. #Wazzu commit Keith Herrington scored, yet again, for the South and the team trails, 41-34, at start of fourth quarter.— Blue-Grey Football (@BlueGreyFB) January 12, 2014
Harrington scored three touchdowns in total to that point, but it was USF commit Deiondre Porter who put an exclamation point on the comeback with a strong rushing touchdown:
Comeback is complete. South Florida commit Diondre Porter scored for the South and we're tied up, 41-41. Less than six minutes left.— Blue-Grey Football (@BlueGreyFB) January 12, 2014
Unlike Porter, one has to wonder why the top Florida schools let Harrington get away in the recruiting process, as FlaVarsity hints:
Dear Florida D-1 schools. How did you let Keith Harrington get away— FlaVarsity (@FlaVarsity) January 12, 2014
The contest would make its way to a second overtime, where the North scored a field goal to go up 44-41.
Harrington once again took over, this time on the final drive of his career before jumping to the collegiate level. The soon-to-be member of the Cougars scored on a three-yard run to end the game:
Northeast's Keith Harrington scores on a 3-yard TD to win the game for the South, 47-44, at @BueGreyFB All-American North vs. South Bowl— TBO HighSchoolSports (@TBO_PrepSports) January 12, 2014
As expected, Harrington was named the MVP for his stellar performance. He also split the Co-Offensive Player of the Game award with Porter, while Tre Watson took home Defensive Player of the Game for the South.
For the North, Jones was obviously given the offensive award, while Arizona commit Devon Brewer was given the defensive award.
Overall, the 2014 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl was a nice glimpse at some of football's future stars. While plenty of talent was on display, Jones and Harrington completely stole the show with big plays that made the annual affair another resounding success.
The duo clearly has enough talent to make those around them better. That's great news for the Badgers upon Jones' arrival, a team known for its rushing prowess and is in need of receivers. The same goes for the Cougars, a school known for its air-raid offense but is about to receive a major boost on the ground from Harrington.
Note: All pertinent info courtesy of bowl's official site.