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January 4, 2009
SAN ANTONIO - The U.S. Army All American Bowl is in the books with a 30-17 win by the East squad over the West. Led by the combination of quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Bryce Brown, the East passing game had its way with a talented West secondary. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell brings us his final East Hot 11 from the week based on the performance of the players in the game itself.
East Team Final Hot 11
QB Tajh Boyd
6-1/208, Hampton (Va.) Phoebus
In addition to his impressive and record-setting passing numbers in the game, consider this. Boyd was playing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and was still able to not only move around when he needed to but also get enough zip on his passes downfield. His touchdown throw on the run to Corey Brown was a thing of beauty and perfectly placed, and he showed great touch on his two touchdown throws to Bryce Brown.
RB Bryce Brown
6-0/215, Wichita (Kan.) Wichita East
Brown flashed his receiving skills all week in practiced and showed that he's a mismatch for any linebacker in solo coverage. He only got to show his running ability a few times in the game but his versatility was certainly on display. He could have had three touchdown catches if he wasn't overthrown early in the game.
WR Corey Brown
6-1, 180, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway
Brown made the most of his opportunity in the game, making the best catch of the game for the East squad for a touchdown. Brown went up over two defenders to make the grab and held on despite getting the wind knocked out of him. And as good as he is at wideout, his upside is even better on defense.
DB Willie Downs
6-2/192, Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby
Downs came into this week more known for his offensive ability but he's leaving as one of the best two-way prospects in the nation. He has natural instincts on the defensive side of the ball, great closing speed, good size and excellent hands. And when he gets his hands on the ball, he instantly turns into an offensive threat as evidenced by his interception for a touchdown. Some players are always around the ball and Downs is one of them.
6-4/255, Florence (S.C.) West Florence
When the lights go on and the action is live, Goodman perks up and becomes hard to deal with. He's still very raw but he has tremendous physical ability, a good get-off and he uses his long arms and strength to knock offensive linemen off balance. Although he didn't show up in the box score much, he was simply too much for the West offensive line to deal with and he freed up others to make plays.
LB Larvez Mars
5-11/205, Apopka (Fla.) High
Mars is certainly undersized for a linebacker but when you get past that you see a terrific football player who makes tackle after tackle. He uses his thin frame to his advantage by making blockers miss and he has excellent lateral speed. Like Downs, he always seemed to be around the football.
DE Donte Moss
6-4/235, Jacksonville (N.C.) Northside
The most exciting matchup coming into this game was Moss against West offensive tackle D.J. Fluker. Moss was giving away nearly 100 pounds in the battle but you wouldn't know it. He is very physical, never backed down from Fluker and gave him fits with his speed. Moss was excellent against the run and his pressure of AJ McCarron led to Downs' interception for a touchdown.
OL Xavier Nixon
6-6/263, Fayetteville (N.C.) Jack Britt
The entire East offensive line played great and gave their quarterbacks time but Nixon stood out above the rest. Protecting the quarterback's blindside, he was nearly flawless in the game and showed off his great athletic ability and quick feet throughout the game. He may need to add weight, but beyond that he has few flaws.
LB Shayne Skov
6-3/235, Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity Pawling
Skov became the vocal leader of the East defense during the week and backed it up with physical play. In the game he did much of the same. He had back-to-back tackles for a loss during a goalline stand for the East and he was a terror on special teams. His strength is tacking on blockers and shooting the gaps but he can also run laterally and he was solid in coverage. And this was his first year playing linebacker so his upside is tremendous.
WR Logan Thomas
6-6, 233, Lynchburg (Va.) Brookville
Thomas came into the week a bit rusty after playing the last two seasons at quarterback, but he got better at each practice at catching the ball. In the game he showed off his hands with a nice catch from Kevin Newsome for a 42-yard gain and also his power after the catch on 12-yard gain. He also got to throw the ball but put a little too much air under what could have been a touchdown.
6-2/186, Massillon (Ohio) Washington
Turner is a big corner who can move and support the run and he was all over the field in the game. He led the East with seven tackles, had a big interception and helped keep the ever-dangerous Rueben Randle from breaking any big gains. He's a rarity with his combination of size, speed and ball skills at his position.