Winners, Losers and Grades from the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2018

Winners, Losers and Grades from the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game

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    Many of the nation's best high school football prospects took the field to showcase their skills at the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, Florida.

    Thanks to a massive effort from a lesser-known player and a late defensive stand, Team Highlight edged Team Spotlight 23-21.

    Four prospects revealed their college choice during the broadcast, and each committed to a different school. Some coaching staffs missed key targets, but Penn State and Ohio State split a pair of interested prospects, as most expected.

    Not every game participant received a grade, potentially due to minimal participation or a lack of a noteworthy impact.

Grades: C

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    Nicholas Petit-Frere
    Nicholas Petit-FrereCredit: Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

    C+ Grade

    Richard Gouraige, OT (Florida): The 4-star wasn't alone in this regard, but Team Highlight defensive ends occasionally overmatched Gouraige. He'll be a key player for Florida soon, though.

    Christian Meadows, OT (Florida State): The FSU-bound lineman joined Gouraige with intermittent struggles up front. Meadows was badly beaten on a sack by West Virginia pledge Dante Stills.

    Steve Stephens, S (Oregon): Stephens assisted on a tackle but also unsuccessfully tried to undercut a pass in coverage. Instead, it resulted in a 31-yard touchdown for Spotlight.


    C Grade

    Jalen Preston, WR (Texas A&M): He eventually reeled in a catch for 15 yards, but he also dropped passes on consecutive snaps.

    Kalon Gervin, CB (Michigan State): Though the cornerback played tight coverage on a downfield pass once, he also bit hard on a double move. Gervin recovered to make a tackle but allowed a 41-yard gain.


    C- Grade

    Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT (uncommitted): No matter the caliber of the prospect, it's extremely difficult to play offensive line at the Under Armour or Army games. Petit-Frere had a rough time trying to stop a couple of elite defensive ends. He's still an excellent talentand recovered a fumble.

    Jacob Copeland, WR (uncommitted): The playmaking skills are obvious. Copeland ran 15 yards backward and across the field to pick up a couple of extra feet on his first reception. But he'll need to learn when a seven-yard gain is a good play. He also lost a fumble on a punt return.

Grades: B

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    B+ Grade

    Ricky Slade, RB (Penn State): The 5-star handled 11 touches and consistently showed off tremendous burst. Slade lost a fumble early in the game, but he atoned for the mistake with a touchdown on a screen pass later and ended with four receptions.

    Joey Gatewood, QB (Auburn): He finished strong for Spotlight, accounting for two touchdowns. Early in the game, though, Gatewood took a couple of unnecessary sacks when he held on to the ball far longer than he should have. The 4-star was an impressive runner, though.

    Delone Scaife, OL (Miami): Unofficially, Scaife earned a pair of pancakes. A holding penalty blemished an otherwise commendable night for the 4-star lineman, who worked at multiple spots up front.

    Tyreke Smith, DE (Ohio State): One of the four players who announced his collegiate intention (spoiler!), Smith provided three unofficial pressures for Team Highlight.

    Adrian Jackson, LB (Oregon): Jackson registered four total tackles, including one stop for loss. He'll bolster an Oregon defense that needs improvement at linebacker.

    Dante Stills, DE (West Virginia): The Mountaineers legacy leaped to swat a pass at the line of scrimmage and soon followed up that play with a sack.


    B Grade

    BJ Foster, S (Texas): Perhaps he avoided a targeting call on the play, Foster displayed his fantastic closing speed to break up a would-be touchdown. He also forced a fumble and grabbed an interception, though he coughed up the football after the pick.

    Anthony Schwartz, WR (Auburn): Not only did the new Auburn pledge display his elite speed, he high-pointed a pass to complete a 41-yard catch. Schwartz was otherwise quiet but ended with two receptions for 49 yards.

    Trey Dean, DB (Florida): Referees didn't call the pass interference in the end zone, but it was pretty obvious. Dean also watched an interception go through his hands. Still, he put together a respectable game and unofficially broke up two passes.

    Al Blades Jr., CB (Miami): In addition to managing one tackle, Blades recovered the onside kick that gave Spotlight a last-minute chance to pull off a 20-point comeback.

    Seth Small, K (Texas A&M): Small missed his first extra point but converted his next three kicks, including a 26-yard field goal that proved to be the game-winning score.


    B- Grade

    Xavier Peters, LB (Kentucky): The 225-linebacker had three tackles, one pass breakup and even provided a highlight-reel kickoff return. However, his late hit out of bounds was completely unnecessary and not even close to a borderline tackle.

    Jack West, QB (Stanford): While it didn't help that West often needed to scramble away from pressure, he rarely looked comfortable. He completed just four passes in 15 attempts. He connected on a downfield shot but threw the ball out of bounds on a 4th-and-8, too.

    Matthew Hill, WR (Auburn): On the bright side, he was a shoestring tackle away from potentially returning a punt from a touchdown. Strangely, Hill twice punted the football after his contributions on special teams, one of which resulted in a penalty.

Grades: A

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    A+ Grade

    Maurice Washington, RB: We'll have more on Washington shortly, but the game MVP put together a sensational display. He scored three touchdowns to lead Team Highlight.

    Eyabi Anoma, DE (Alabama): Anoma made life miserable for Spotlight offensive lineman. The Alabama-bound rusher recorded two sacks and, unofficially, three pressures.

    Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB (UCLA): Though his final line read 7-of-15, that didn't reflect his accuracy. Receivers dropped three on-target balls, and one failed to track a well-thrown downfield pass. Thompson-Robinson snapped a gorgeous strike to Washington on a wheel route for a touchdown.

    Coynis Miller, DT (Auburn): Miller tallied six stops and contributed in a variety of ways. He registered one sack, quickly recognized and ended a quarterback draw and made a tackle on special teams.

    Merlin Robertson, LB (uncommitted): The 6'3", 241-pound linebacker made his presence felt throughout the contest. He notched a game-high seven tackles, making five solo stops.


    A Grade

    Brenton Cox Jr., DE (Georgia): The 5-star was nearly perfect, recording three sacks for Team Highlight and unofficially adding another pressure. However, he also jumped offside once.

    Rosendo Louis, LB (South Carolina): A late flip to Will Muschamp's team, Louis made South Carolina proud. He accumulated six tackles with one impressive stuff at the line of scrimmage and also forced a fumble.

    Evan McPherson, K (Florida): We've got love for specialists, too. McPherson knocked home a pair of extra points and successfully executed an onside kick late in the fourth quarter. He did get hurdled on a kickoff return, but we applaud the tackling effort.


    A- Grade

    Xavier Williams, WR (Alabama): First of all, shooters shoot. Williams wants to take Demi Lovato to prom. Anyway, the wideout caught a 31-yard touchdown and ended with two receptions for 46 yards.

    Brevin Jordan, TE (Miami): A potential Day 1 starter at Miami, Jordan grabbed three passes for a Highlight-best 71 yards. His 48-yard catch-and-run set up Small's decisive field goal. The minor knocks on Jordan were slipping on his first reception and dangerously carrying the ball on his long gain.

    Jake Camarda, P (Georgia): The trajectory of his kicks seemed awfully low, but a couple of friendly bounces helped Camarda notch 56- and 47-yard punts.

Winner: Ohio State Buckeyes

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Tyreke Smith, the No. 60 player in the country, kicked off the Under Armour exhibition with a commitment to Ohio State.

    The defensive end joins an already stellar class, bolstering the No. 2 unit, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Smith is the fourth defensive lineman rated a 4-star or higher in the Buckeyes' impressive haul.

    As a senior, Smith accumulated 70 tackles with 23 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including 11 sacks. He also notched eight receptions for 192 yards and four touchdowns.

Loser: Texas, Louisville Hopes for Nik Bonitto

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    Nik Bonitto
    Nik BonittoCredit: Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

    When a player commits, the ordinary qualifier is that it's a non-binding pledge. For Nik Bonitto, however, that wasn't the case.

    The 4-star outside linebacker announced he would attend Oklahoma, picking the Big 12 champions over Texas and Louisville. However, those two programs no longer have a chance to recruit Bonitto because he has already signed with the Sooners.

    Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley mentioned Bonitto by name, which would otherwise be a recruiting violation. David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel confirmed the signing.

    In previous years, players have revealed their college choice at an All-American but flipped on signing day. But Bonitto is locked in with OU.

Winner: Maurice Washington, RB

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    Maurice Washington
    Maurice WashingtonCredit: Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

    During an in-game interview, Maurice Washington said he had the least "least amount of notoriety" of any prospect at the showcase and said he was very under the radar.

    Well, not anymore.

    Washington, who totaled 1,835 rushing and receiving yards and 24 offensive touchdowns as a senior, is about to see his recruitment explode. The uncommitted talent showed off excellent balance and patience en route to earning MVP honors.

    He scored three times, running in a pair of touchdowns and catching another. Washington also ripped off a 63-yard kick return to open the second half. That performance is going to make help the 3-star land serious attention from top schools.

Loser: Commitment Drama

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    To some, in-game commitments are the best part of All-American showcases. Four prospects revealed their choice, and it was an awesome moment for those athletes.

    But the night still lacked drama.

    The 247Sports Crystal Ball showed 96 percent of predictions for Jayson Oweh to Penn State. Ohio State enjoyed 94 percent of the projections for Smith. Schwartz and Bonitto had 83 percent to Auburn and Oklahoma, respectively. They all chose the favored school.

    Great for them but less entertaining for us.

Winner: Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Jayson Oweh capped the night with a pledge to Penn State, which kept his signing quiet as Oklahoma did for Bonitto.

    According to Land of 10's Tyler Donohue, the 4-star defensive end submitted his paperwork to the school during the early signing period.

    This is a major addition for the Nittany Lions, since prized prospect Micah Parsons will begin his college career at linebacker instead of defensive end. Oweh, rated No. 5 at his position, is now the team's highest-ranked incoming lineman.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.