Da’Shawn Hand, Jalen Tabor among local stars at Under Armour All-America Game

December 31, 2013

Woodbridge senior defensive end Da’Shawn Hand and four other local players will take part in Thursday’s Under Armour All-America Game (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

With the college football bowl season underway and the NFL playoffs on the horizon, the nation’s top high school football players will also get in on the postseason fun this week with the Under Armour All-America Game on Thursday and Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.

Today, we’ll take a glance at the Under Armour game (televised on ESPN at 4 p.m. Thursday) followed by a preview of the Army All-American Bowl on Thursday.

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Of the 104 players honored at school ceremonies over the past few months during the Under Armour jersey tour, five seniors hailed from the D.C. metro area: Woodbridge’s Da’Shawn Hand, Good Counsel’s Sam Mustipher, McNamara’s Damian Prince, Friendship Collegiate’s Jalen Tabor and St. John’s quarterback Will Ulmer.

After celebrating Christmas with their families last week, all five descended upon Florida this past weekend in preparation for Thursday’s game at Tropicana Field. Here are some tidbits on the local quintet gathered from texts, tweets and notebooks:

– Da’Shawn Hand looms just as large among the nation’s elite. Several notebooks by recruiting sites lauded the Alabama commit’s imposing physique and added power and flexibility at 6-foot-4 and about 260 pounds. Expect the All-Met Defensive Player of the Year to make some impact plays Thursday from the defensive end spot.

– Damian Prince will not play in Thursday’s game after recently tearing a couple tendons in his hand. The McNamara offensive lineman told me in a text that the “experience is great! You feel like you’re in college going to a bowl game, and my favorite part is really getting a chance to know the guys. Being as though we all come from different areas, it’s great to know where guys come from and their story because we all have one.” After returning from the UA Game, Prince will take his final three official visits to Florida, Miami and South Carolina before announcing his college choice on Valentine’s Day.

– Jalen Tabor is expected to choose between Alabama and Arizona during the game’s telecast. The senior defensive back showed off his sure hands on Sunday in the video below from ESPN’s Phil Murphy. Pretty sweet:

– During the first two days of practice, Will Ulmer has primarily lined up at wide receiver. The Maryland commit occasionally moved from under center while at St. John’s and though Ulmer has voiced his desire to play quarterback when he enrolls at Maryland next fall, his speed and athleticism make him a threat at multiple positions.

– Sam Mustipher got a few cameos during Monday’s telecast of practice on ESPNU. The Notre Dame commit has had a busy last few weeks, taking his official visit to his future campus in South Bend, studying for final exams at school, cheering on several of his Good Counsel teammates in the Maryland Crab Bowl and finally taking a family vacation to Miami before heading a few cities over for this week’s UA Game.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 10
Oakton girls’ basketball players who scored in the Cougars’ 87-41 win against Loudoun County in Monday’s Cassel’s Cougar Holiday Classic final.

VIDEO OF THE DAY
Already off to a strong start this season, DeMatha sophomore Joe Hampton hopes to continue this success by slimming down his body and expanding his skills.

BREAKFAST LINKS
-The 2013 calendar year brought us plenty in terms of highlights on the preps sports scene. Relive some of those moments through the year’s top stories featured on AllMetSports.com.

-Despite his small stature, McNamara senior wide receiver Jordan Crockett continues to come up big on the field, earning MVP honors at last week’s Crab Bowl and an offer from Albany.

-Gonzaga defeated The Hun School, 6-0, to win the 21st annual Purple Puck in the wake of the tournament’s now-thriving tradition. Check out the photo gallery and video below.

PHOTO GALLERY (by Toni L. Sandys)

VIDEO

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The Ball Drop
Believe it or not, just a few hours remain in the year 2013. As you prepare to ring in 2014, be safe out there tonight and set some goals to make next year even better.

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