The first contest of the high school football bowl season, so to speak, was played Thursday but the Under Armour All-America Game itself proved secondary to the action surrounding it.
Several of the nation’s top recruits announced their college commitments during the game, including Friendship Collegiate’s Jalen Tabor. The senior defensive back chose Arizona over Alabama (rough Thursday for the Crimson Tide), following in the footsteps of fellow Friendship senior Jonathan Haden.
In the end, Team Highlight (featuring Tabor and McNamara’s Damian Prince, who was sidelined with a hand injury) defeated Team Nitro (featuring Woodbridge’s Da’Shawn Hand, Good Counsel’s Sam Mustipher and St. John’s Will Ulmer), 31-14.
Saturday brings another high school all-star game in the Army All-American Bowl. Beginning at 1 p.m. on NBC in San Antonio, all three local stars in Lake Braddock QB Caleb Henderson, Good Counsel DL Jesse Aniebonam and Annapolis Area Christian WR Demetrius Johnson will join forces for the East team in contention against the West.
— Aniebonam, a Maryland commit offered a glimpse at the hordes of equipment given to each of the players, including a helmet that looks like a cross between a race car driver’s helmet and Bane’s mask from “The Dark Knight Rises.”
— Jesse Aniebonam (@JesseBona_Bonam) December 29, 2013
— Henderson has had the chance to get acquainted with Charlotte Catholic senior running back and fellow UNC commit Elijah Hood. Henderson, who earned All-Met Offensive Player of the Year honors this past fall, should mesh well in the backfield with Hood, who’s proficient as a rusher between the tackles and as a receiving option in the flats.
— Johnson, who gained national attention as a wide receiver the last two seasons, is expected to line up mostly on the defensive end at safety and perhaps even linebacker. The senior dealt with some injuries this past fall, and Saturday serves as a good platform to showcase his skills before taking official visits to the two finalists in his recruitment: Marshall and Syracuse.
Several other local standouts will be in action Friday for the Offense-Defense All-American Senior Bowl in Orlando. The contest will feature DeMatha’s Ja’Whaun Bentley, Taiwan Deal, Deonte Holden and Cam Phillips, Good Counsel’s Kobie Walker, T.C. Williams’ Jeremiah Clarke and Stonewall Jackson’s Greg Stroman.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 86
Players from the D.C. metro area playing in high school all-star games this winter, including the Under Armour, Army All-American, Offense-Defense, Crab and Chesapeake bowl games.
— Following a lengthy investigation into the eligibility and residency of four Friendship Collegiate football players, the D.C. State Athletic Association announced its findings Thursday as “inconclusive,” meaning neither players nor school will face punishment.
— In case you missed it, check out some of the top AllMetSports stories from the year that was.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Ice on roads and sidewalks
We were all excited about a loaded schedule of Friday night hoops, but the weather has certainly thrown a wrench into our plans. Enjoy the snow day and stay safe out there with low temperatures creating some seriously icy spots all over the DMV.