It’s been a strong year for talent on the Pacific Coast this year, and that point was driven home on Saturday as the West team used a strong effort from Washington-bound quarterback Cyler Miles (Denver, Colo./Mullen) as well as a smothering defense to earn a 24-12 victory over the East at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Miles hooked up with top receiver prospect Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo./Hillcrest) for the big play of the day – a 79-yard second quarter strike – which set an Army All-American Bowl mark for the longest touchdown pass on record.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound quarterback finished with an efficient day, completing 7-of-8 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown, while also finding paydirt on a four-yard run in the opening quarter to put the West on the board first.
For their play, Miles and Green-Beckham shared MVP honors, being awarded with the Pete Dawkins Trophy after the contest.
In regards to the ‘sons of former all-star athletes’ trend of the week, Barry J. Sanders (Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall) made his famous father proud. The offspring of the former Detroit Lions all-pro RB rushed for a 10-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give the West a 14-6 lead. Sanders later committed to play college football at Stanford – over offers from Alabama, Florida State and Oklahoma State – in front of a national television audience. Sanders was the third son of a Hall-of-Fame athlete to compete in one of the two major All-America contests this week, with Trey Griffey (son of Ken Griffey, Jr.) and Deion Sanders, Jr. taking part in the Under Armour Game on Thursday.
The Gators struck big on Saturday as well, landing a commitment from Shelby (N.C.) Crest defensive end Jonathan Bullard. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound prospect gave his pledge to the Gators over offers from Clemson and South Carolina, among many others, during game action in the fourth quarter.
“First off, I want to give thanks to my family and friends … and I’m going to be attending Florida,” Bullard said in making it known he will be playing for UF next year.
A total of 14 players in the game gave college commitments. Cal – landing pledges from DT Ellis McCarthy, WR Jordan Payton and DB Shaq Thompson – was the big winner of the day. Miami (DB Deon Bush and LB Tyriq McCord) and Louisville (LB Keith Brown and LB Nick Dawson) also scored major recruiting victories as well.
It was a tough day for the East squad, which featured four Florida commitments (OT D.J. Humphries, DL Omari Phillips, TE Kent Taylor and the aforementioned Bullard) on their roster. Led by Tampa Plant coach Robert Weiner, a three-yard touchdown run by 240-pound linebacker Kwontie Moore (Norfolk, Va,/Norfolk Christian School/Committed to Virginia) was one of the few highlights of the day for the East. Moore ran behind Humphries (lined up at left tackle) to get into the end zone. After the play, Humprhies – who will enroll in classes at the University of Florida next week – got up to give a ‘Gator chomp’ for the TV cameras.
Following the second-quarter touchdown pass from Miles to Green-Beckham, the West went into the break up 24-6. The second half was mostly uneventful, except for the college commitments, of course. Chad Voytik (Cleveland, Tenn.) did attempt to make things interesting. The fleet-footed signal-caller, headed to Pitt next fall, engineered a late drive to cut the score to 24-12 on a three-yard plunge he took in himself with 2:29 to play. The East squad could not recover the ensuing onside kick, however, as the West chewed up the rest of the clock to capture even up the overall series record at six games a piece with the East.
QB Anthony Alford (6-1, 200, Petal, Miss.) – Southern Miss
LB Keith Brown (6-2, 230, Miami/Norland) – Louisville
DL Jonathan Bullard (6-4, 255, Shelby, N.C./Crest) – Florida
DB Deon Bush (6-1, 180, Miami/Columbus) – Miami
LB Nick Dawson (6-3, 235, Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry) – Louisville
DB Jordan Diggs (6-0, 195, Cape Coral/Island Coast) – South Carolina
DL Ellis McCarthy (6-4, 315, Monrovia, Calif.) – Cal
LB Tyriq McCord (6-3, 220, Tampa/Jefferson) – Miami
LB Brian Nance (6-3, 215, Euless, Tex./Trinity) – Baylor
WR Jordan Payton (6-1, 190, Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) – Cal
RB Barry Sanders (5-11, 195, Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall) – Stanford
CB Kevon Seymour (6-0, 175, Pasadena, Calif./John Muir) – USC
DB Elijah Shumate (6-1, 200, Jersey City, N.J./St. Joseph’s Prep) – Notre Dame
DB Shaq Thompson (6-2, 210, Sacramento, Calif./Grant) – Cal
– Today’s attendance of 39,011 set a new Army All-American Bowl record, topping the previous mark of 37,983 set last year.
– The record touchdown pass from Cyler Miles to Dorial Green-Beckham beat a mark previously held by a pair of former Gators. Chris Leak found Andre Caldwell for a 78-yard touchdown pass in the 2003 edition of the Army Bowl.
– Kent Taylor led all receivers for the East, and was matched a game-high mark with three receptions on Saturday, which went for 21 yards. Jonathan Bullard also notched a game-high two tackles for loss (which was matched by West safety Shaq Thompson) to go along with three total tackles and a sack.