Winners, Losers and Grades from the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game

Ian Wharton@NFLFilmStudyFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 4, 2019

Winners, Losers and Grades from the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game

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    Some of the nation's best high school football prospects hit the field Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, at the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game.

    The Ballaholics outlasted the Flash despite a second-half comeback attempt, earning a 28-27 win. Though the final result didn't matter, the players showcased their skills for fans and future coaching staffs.

    Only three prospects made a verbal commitment during the broadcast—each to a different team. One school missed out on two of its targets despite being the favorite to land them. Surprisingly, Illinois and UCF both snagged big-time recruits.

    We graded every participant who made a notable impact and identified the major winners and losers from the contest. Those with minimal participation weren't graded.    

Grades: C

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    C+ Grade

    George Pickens, WR (Auburn): The 6'4", 190-pound receiver didn't get many opportunities to make waves because of poor quarterback play, but he showed off his big frame and soft hands when given the chance. He's a natural hands-catcher and could have huge upside.

    Keon Zipperer, TE (Florida): Though only targeted a few times, Zipperer made the most of his chances. He runs well for his 240-pound frame, appearing to have H-back potential as a move tight end.

    Joseph Wete, DE (Oklahoma): The lanky edge-rusher (6'4", 220 lbs) showed good awareness in the run game and decent burst off the line, but he also struggled when his athleticism met its match. He'll have to develop his pass-rush moves and plan of attack to be more effective.


    C Grade

    Dylan Wright, WR (Texas A&M): He wasn't targeted often, but Wright showed nice speed for his size (6'4", 215 lbs). He was ruled down on what should've been an interception and score for the Balloholics.

    Quinten Johnson, S (Michigan): Johnson logged a nice pass breakup, as he arrived right in time. He also had one tackle.

    Tyler Davis, DT (Clemson): Davis helped force an interception as he sprung into the backfield. He had a quiet night overall but has the first step and strength that Clemson will be able to mold.


    C- Grade

    Joey Yellen, QB (Arizona State): Yellen struggled with accuracy and extending plays. He has average arm talent but also made several head-scratching decisions. The Sun Devil recruit left some easy completions on the field and reacted poorly to pressure.

    Evan Neal, OT (Alabama): The 6'8", 360-pounder is strong and has unique traits, but he's also slow in his drops and movement. He'll have to clean up his pass-set drops to close off the interior rush lane better and continue to get in more optimal shape.

Grades: B

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    B+ Grade

    Amari Kight, OT (Alabama): He went back and forth with star defensive end prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux and had a nice pancake. Kight may be asked to step in early for Alabama. He did struggle with Thibodeaux's speed on a few snaps, though.

    Marcus Washington, WR (Texas): The 6'2" receiver showed nice route-running as well as the ability to improvise on broken plays, hauling in a 17-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

    Michael Jansey Jr., LB (Northwestern): Jansey had an impressive pick-six and some stops near the line of scrimmage. His speed and range in coverage appeared limited as underneath receivers created separation with relative ease.

    Jowon Briggs, DT (Virginia): He finished with three tackles and one sack. His strength and pad level stood out against quality competition. He should compete for playing time early.


    B Grade

    Brian Williams, S (Texas A&M): Williams finished several open-field tackles with proper technique. He appeared quick to react to incoming targets and grabbed an interception against Yellen.

    Tre'Mon Morris-Brash, DE (UCF): He logged an impressive sack early on. His burst around the edge is a serious weapon, though he over-ran a few plays because of aggressiveness.

    Bo Nix, QB (Auburn): Nix showed solid athleticism as he evaded pressure and has enough arm talent to throw across his body on the move. He was late on a couple of throws, but he possesses a good skill set and an arm worth developing.

    Cade York, K (LSU): York made a 59-yard field goal after pump-faking an incoming rusher who had an easy block. Still, he later missed the potential game-winner from 49 yards out.


    B- Grade

    Jaden Davis, CB (Oklahoma): He competed extremely well with receiver Theo Wease despite his 5'9" frame. He size may be an issue against bigger targets moving forward, but he was in good position throughout the game. His activity level and aggressiveness project confidence.

    Mykael Wright, DB (Oregon): Wright played on offense and defense, showing toughness on both. He earned some yards after the catch on a short reception and later made a tackle for loss on defense.

Grades: A

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    A+ Grade

    Jerrion Ealy, RB (Ole Miss): Ealy proved unstoppable despite his 5'10", 200-pound frame. He set an event record for rushing yards (119) in only three quarters, showing elite quickness and some power. It was a dominant performance.

    Theo Wease, WR (Oklahoma): The best playmaker on the field for the Balloholics, Wease had one touchdown and had another taken away because of an incorrect call. He showed tremendous leaping prowess, hands and ability to adjust to the ball.

    Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE (Oregon): Thibodeaux proved worthy of the hype. He didn't play a ton but was constantly in the backfield when he was in. He had one sack and nearly added two more. He'll be a star.


    A Grade

    Joshua Calvert, LB (Washington): Calvert led the winning team in tackles. He's rangy with plus speed and has a chance to become the next standout Huskies linebacker. He lost an interception because of an incorrect ruling on the field, which would've been a score.

    Jayden Daniels, QB (Arizona State): Daniels is a great athlete who possesses a smooth throwing motion, and he created big passing chunks by extending plays with his legs. He maintained poise well while throwing a touchdown pass.

    Michael Johnson Jr., QB (Penn State): He showed great placement skills on passes and feel for pressure in the pocket. Johnson created chunk plays as a runner, too. He has to watch it when taking negative plays on rollouts, but otherwise he had a great showing.


    A- Grade

    Zacch Pickens, DL (South Carolina): The 6'6", 285-pounder played end and still showed solid speed even though he projects to play inside for the Gamecocks. His powerful hands and awareness to get after the quarterback stood out as foundational traits.

    Kenyon Green, OT (Texas A&M): Green was mauling defensive players in the run game. The 6'4", 330-pounder has a bright future at either tackle or guard for the Aggies if he can develop better hand placement as a pass-blocker.

Winner: Oregon Ducks

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    The Oregon Ducks had four committed prospects in the game, highlighted by 5-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, 4-star cornerback Mykael Wright and 4-star running back Sean Dollars. Both defensive players starred, and Dollars started.

    Thibodeaux lived up to the hype as the No. 2 player in the class, showing a more advanced pass rush than most collegiate freshman and sophomores. His explosiveness and adaptable approach were too much for his blockers. He controlled his movements and built a plan, which is rare for high school players.

    Wright also stood out as a potential two-way prospect at corner and receiver. His natural aggressiveness will help him carve out a role early in his Ducks career.      

Loser: Florida State

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    It was a disappointing night for the Florida State Seminoles in terms of commitments. Wide receiver Arjei Henderson committed to Florida even though he was projected to go to the Seminoles, putting a damper on the event for FSU.

    Shammond Cooper, a 4-star linebacker, held true to his projection of picking Illinois over Florida State. The Seminoles tried to make a late push to steal him but missed on a player who could've bolstered their defense early in his career.

    It was a quiet night for the 10 Seminoles commits who participated, too. Though there was nothing to be overly concerned about, the evening could've gone much better for the program.

Winner: Penn State

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    The future of the Penn State backfield looks to be in good hands if this game was any indication. Quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. was fantastic with his arm and legs. He made defenders dive after him and shake their heads as he completed throws on a rope. He looked like a potential star.

    Running back Noah Cain also stood out. His powerful frame (5'10", 208 lbs) allowed him to bully the defense in the fourth quarter. His burst was surprising for his size.

    Cain should be an early contributor for the Nittany Lions after Miles Sanders bolted for the NFL.

Loser: Team Flash Quarterbacks

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    One team had two quarterbacks who continued to hit passes both in the pocket and on the move, and the other team was the Flash.

    Texas A&M commit Zach Calzada and Arizona State prospect Joey Yellen each struggled with accuracy and poise under pressure. Each allowed multiple turnover opportunities, which was a startling contrast to what Jayden Daniels did for the Balloholics.

    Both Calzada and Yellen must work on their footwork and ability to handle a free rusher, or they'll continue to fall behind Daniels, who's the more dynamic signal-caller committed to the Sun Devils.

    Texas commit Roschon Johnson showed better athleticism and natural feel for the game, but the dual-threat QB also had enough misses to warrant concern over his potential to help immediately.