Larry Blustein

MONDAY TAKE: Under Armour Game Remains A Springboard

Larry Blustein
January 07, 2019 - 9:14 am

When you spend a week with some of football’s icons and history makers, it’s not hard to see how those five days will last a lifetime.

That is what happened for some 100 of the top football prospects in the country this past week in Orlando.

Every day, watching and listening to some football immortals like Deion Sanders and Steve Mariucci – as well as some of the top high school coaches in the nation – rubs off – and it did during this year’s annual Under Armour All-American Football Game in Orlando.

For many of the country’s best seniors, it was a week that was earned with impressive performances throughout their careers.

They came from every corner of the country – and used this nationally-televised showcase their many skills to their new schools and universities that they will be attending – as soon as this week.

LOCALS STEPPED UP

As usual, what would any all-star event be without a sprinkling of south Florida talent?

Prospects such as Te’Corey Couch (Chaminade-Madonna, University of Miami), Akeem Dent (Palm Beach Central, FSU), Kaiir Elam (North Palm Beach Benjamin), Ge’Mon Eaford (Deerfield Beach, Oregon), John Dunmore (Chaminade-Madonna, Penn State), Jaden Davis (St. Thomas Aquinas, Oklahoma), Jordan Battle (St. Thomas Aquinas, Alabama), Daniel Carter (St. Thomas Aquinas, Pittsburgh), Anthony Solomon and (St. Thomas Aquinas, Michigan) all came and added to the prospects from south Florida who have impacted the game throughout the years.”

For Davis, who truly had a superb career, the opportunity for his family and friends come out and support him made this entire experience extra special.

“They treat you right and the coaching is amazing,” Davis explained. “Coming here with three other teammates also made this extra special for me.”

No matter who you talked to, everyone as excited to play in this game, which has produced so many elite players. First round talent from last year like Josh Rosen, Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James, Calvin Ridley and Daron Payne to mention a few.

“Sharing the stage with so many of this nation’s elite prospects made the entire week so special,” said Couch, who was singled out all week for his play. “This is a time that I will always look back on.”

THE GAME WAS THRILLING

Highlighted by record-setting performances from Team Flash running back Jerrion Ealy (Ole Miss signee) and Team Ballaholics wide receiver Marcus Washington (Texas signee), Team Ballaholics came away with a thrilling 28-27 victory in front of 17,716 fans at the 12th annual Under Armour All-America Game. It was the first contest decided by one point in Under Armour All-America Game history.

Capping an 11-play, 65-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the fourth-quarter clock, Washington, who was named his team’s MVP, was on the receiving end of a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jayden Daniels, an Arizona State pledge, with 3:41 to play for the game-winning score. It was the second time the tandem connected in the game; Washington caught a 17-yard pass from Daniels early in the second quarter. Washington’s two touchdowns matched the record held by former UM Hurricane Jeff Thomas in 2017.

Not to be outdone, Ealy was also named team MVP after rushing for 119 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns, which each met or set game records. His 119 rushing yards established a new game record, breaking the old mark of 110 yards by Damien Harris in 2015. He also matched Harris’ game record with 16 carries and Maurice Washington’s two rushing scores from 2018.

Team Flash kicker Cade York, an LSU signee, gave his squad a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after booting two field goals, including a new Under Armour All-America Game record 59-yarder. Team Ballaholics came alive in the second quarter after touchdowns by Washington and fellow wide receiver Theo Wease, an Oklahoma commit, gave their team a 14-6 lead. 

Team Flash would respond as the half came to a close. Ealy scored the first of his two touchdowns with 19 seconds to play, bringing Team Flash within one at halftime, 14-13.

The teams traded scores in the third quarter. Team Ballaholics #DreamFearlessly Fan Vote winner Michael Jansey Jr., who will be heading to Northwestern next year, made his mark in this year’s contest. He tipped a Zach Calzada (Texas A&M) pass, then snagged the interception and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown, giving his squad a 21-13 edge midway through the third. Ealy would respond for Team Flash with a 38-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-20 heading to the fourth.

Penn State commit Noah Cain gave Team Flash the lead early in the fourth after a 3-yard touchdown run, 27-21, but Daniels came in for the ensuing drive and led Team Ballaholics to the decisive score.

Josh Calvert, who will play for Washington next season, led the way defensively for Team Ballaholics, tying a game record with 10 tackles. Florida State commit Raymond Woodie III and Texas A&M signee Brian Williams also had interceptions for Team Ballaholics.

Three players announced their college commitments throughout the evening. Prior to kickoff, linebacker Shammond Cooper out of Trinity Catholic High School (Missouri) pledged his commitment to Illinois. At the start of the second quarter, defensive lineman Tre’Mon Morris-Brash out of St. John’s College High School (Virginia) announced he would be attending UCF. Prior to the start of the fourth, wide receiver Arjei Henderson from Fort Bend Travis High School (Texas) committed to Florida.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Tuesday night (8-9) on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). For the past 11 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!