On a day when most of the nation's top football recruits were on the same field together, the East steamrolled the West with a 48-14 win in the 2019 All-American Bowl.
East quarterback Graham Mertz, who was named MVP after throwing for 188 yards and five scores, gave Wisconsin fans a taste of what they can expect in 2019. The Kansas native broke the All-American Bowl record for touchdown passes when he threw three in the first half alone.
Mertz also made a strong case to be the Badgers' starter under center as soon as he sets foot on campus:
Two of Mertz's touchdown passes went to Georgia commit Dominick Blaylock, including the opening score. Blaylock turned a simple out route into a 57-yard gain by running past one defender and using his speed to cruise into the endzone.
Blaylock's success was a welcome sight for Bulldogs fans who saw receivers Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman declare for the 2019 NFL draft on Friday.
Brad McDaniel @DFF_BMack
Georgia WR signee Dominick Blaylock has two TD catches on two drives in the #AllAmericanBowl. Both out of the slot. Sneak peak at his 2019 #DevyWatch profile. “Blaylock seems like a nice fit in the slot because he can do more after the catch with this athleticism” https://t.co/hRXpzoxDP4
Georgia also got a glimpse of its future on the defensive line when Nolan Smith recorded a sack on a speed rush off the edge against West quarterback Ryan Hilinski in the first quarter.
Future Bulldogs defensive end Travon Walker made his presence felt, putting pressure on Spencer Rattler in the second quarter that led to an incomplete pass. The Georgia native earned high marks for his performance during practice throughout the week:
On a day without a lot of highlights for the West, Rattler and Garrett Wilson connected for two nice touchdowns in the second half for the team's only scores of the game:
Even though the game is an exhibition, the East's domination of the West could speak to a significant difference in talent between the two areas of the country in this year's recruiting class. But at least Wilson, who is committed to Ohio State, has a highlight he can show off as he heads to Columbus.
More important than the final score on Saturday, eight recruits announced their college commitments during the game.
Haselwood was the best prospect to declare, giving Oklahoma's 2019 class a huge boost with his decision.
In a not-so-surprising development, Alabama and Georgia were given plenty of reasons to be excited about their incoming freshman classes.
Georgia picked up 4-star cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, taking away some of the sting from losing out on Haselwood.
Florida landed its own 4-star cornerback when Chris Steele decided to leave his home state of California for the SEC.
"I committed to UCLA and USC originally and a big part of that was because they were the hometown schools for me," Steele told Greg Biggins of 247Sports. "When I compare them to Florida, I feel like I’ll be developed better and I just like the stability of the coaching staff at Florida so I’m really excited about my decision."
Purdue also hit a home run when wide receiver David Bell bypassed Ohio State to remain in Indiana and play for the Boilermakers.
The biggest winner from the day's recruiting announcements was USC. Head coach Clay Helton and new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury landed two 5-star wide receivers in Kyle Ford and Bru McCoy.
With one month to go before National Signing Day on Feb. 6, 247Sports has the recruiting classes for Alabama and Georgia ranked first and second, respectively. The SEC occupies four of the top five spots, with Texas A&M at No. 3 and LSU at No. 5. Oklahoma is sandwiched between those programs in the fourth slot.
There is still a lot of work for every program across the country to do before their 2019 freshman classes are finalized, so expect these rankings to shift in four weeks as coaches and recruiters prepare to make final pitches to their top targets.
All recruiting info via 247Sports.com unless otherwise noted.