Similar to year’s past, many of the country’s more high-profile prospects were in action at the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. This time, it was the Class of 2016 version and North defeated South, 35-0, on Jan. 9 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium.
For all intents and purposes, the game was won down in the trenches. Arizona commit J.J. Taylor took home Offensive MVP for the North after running behind Navy commit Sean Rattay, Bowling Green commit Caleb Bright and Maryland commit Brian Plummer.
Also worth mentioning, Minnesota commit Conner Olson, Eastern Michigan commit Jake Donnellon, Army commit Michael Gerber and ACC target Lorenzo Taborn helped to clear the way on the ground for Big 10 Conference target Naeem Moore of the North.
Not to be forgotten was the collective effort of the linebackers for the North. Some of the standouts in that particular group included Navy commit DeLonte Berry, Kent State commit Matt Otwinowski, Western Michigan commit Tristian Pipp and Syracuse commit Tim Walton.
The well-known names lived up to the hype. After all, the scene was set for players to shine and receive added national exposure. They did so on one of the biggest stages around. Now, for most, up next is major college ball in the NCAA Division I ranks.
Equally important, a handful of hidden gem type of recruits did well in the spotlight, with most earning a spot in the game after good efforts during our series of Blue-Grey All-American Combines (Regional and Super levels). The future is also bright for them.
Once everyone recently arrived in the Sunshine State, the country’s best had an opportunity to work with our staff of NFL veterans, now turned coaches for the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl, including the North’s Arlen Harris of Rams and Lions fame.
His assistants included one-time professional peers Mark McMillian (Eagles and Chiefs), Troy Brown (Patriots), George Teague (Cowboys), Aaron Harris (Buccaneers), Kevin Lewis (Giants), Al McCauley (Blue-Grey Staff) and Jeff Thomas (Blue-Grey Staff).
Packers’ star Ken Stills led the South. His staff was highlighted by Mike Alstott (Buccaneers), Jerry Wunsch (Buccaneers), Chuck Darby (Buccaneers), Cosey Coleman (Buccaneers), Reidel Anthony (Buccaneers), Billy Miller (Buccaneers) and Rodney Beasley (Panthers).
Editors Note: NFL Veteran Evaluations seen below were randomly chosen. Still, each participant in this year’s Blue-American Bowl received a personal recommendation from the one-time professionals and that info was sent to college coaches all over the country.
Zeke McGaughy, RB, Indian Rocks Christian (FL): The 5-foot 8 and 200-pounder did well when asked to work alongside Oregon State commit Artavis Pierce.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “McGaughy has high expectations and a ton of potential. If he works on the small things, it will all come together for him,” Stills said.
Melvin Briggs, RB, St. David’s School (NC): The 5-10 and 197-pounder formed a rather potent one-two combination with fellow ACC target Theo Anderson.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Briggs has decent size and speed. Same thing goes for his feet, his lateral movement and change of direction are good,” Stills said.
Andreaz Spencer, WR, Paul W. Bryant (AL): The 5-10 and 156-pounder was reliable. So were both ACC target Tyrek Tisdale and Alcorn State commit Darius Miller.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Spencer is a solid receiver with good hands. His routes improved and I liked the fact he competed for balls in the air,” Stills said.
Val Mayes, DB, Norland (FL): Perhaps one of the more polished prospects in the game, the 6-2 and 190-pounder has multiple scholarship offers on the table.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Mayes is a competitor, and with a high football IQ, there’s a lot to like about this young man. He goes out and makes plays,” Stills said.
Khris Pam, DB, Blythewood (SC): The 6-foot and 185-pounder has received plenty of recent recruiting interest, and after his effort here, the attention is worthy.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Pam loves a challenge and works very hard. With good size and speed, he can be shutdown corner when called on to do so,” Stills said.
Darius Williams, DB, Northside Christian (FL): Teamed up with South Florida commit Craig Watts, the 5-10 and 190-pounder was able to put in some serious work.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Williams gives maximum effort, you don’t have to worry about that. He has good tackling skills and can read plays very well,” Stills said.
Landon Holden, LB, Chapman (SC): We would not be the least bit surprised to see the 6-1 and 210-pounder playing college ball in the ACC at some point soon.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Holden did a great job of picking up our defense in just two days of practice and that’s just not an easy task to accomplish,” Stills said.
Robert Green, LB, Naples (FL): Surrounded by well-known national recruits, the 5-11 and 200-pounder made a name for himself and earned the Defensive MVP.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Green moves well in space, and with speed and size, could probably play some linebacker or safety at the next level,” Stills said.
Matthew Montgomery, LB, La Vernia (TX): It’s the best of both worlds with him. The 5-10 and 215-pounder was smart and his motor never stopped running.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Montgomery was a self-starter for us, showed some good play recognition, and that’s what you like to see as a coach,” Stills said.
Nicholas Bethea, LB, Episcopal (TX): The 5-10 and 230-pounder has been lately contacted by several schools and it’s a matter of time before he finds a home.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Bethea is going to make a college coach, also his coordinator, very happy once he arrives on campus. Just watch,” Stills said.
Ashton Hollie, OL, DeQuincy (LA): The 6-3 and 275-pounder received some rave reviews about his work ethic from the coaching staff, Coleman in particular.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “With good size and hands, Hollie is very coachable. He’s raw, yet talented. You could see the improvement each day,” Stills said.
James Morrison, OL, Admiral Farragut Academy (FL): The 6-3 and 250-pounder ran the show from his center spot, next to North Carolina commit Tyler Pritchett.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Morrison and his versatility makes him a valuable asset. He is not only solid, but also, dependable in the run or pass game,” Stills said.
D.J. Davidson, DL, Desert Ridge (AZ): The 6-4 and 310-pounder is more than a big body and his work with Air Force commit Zach Lyle was commendable.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Davidson can dominate. Now, all he has to do is put his mind to doing it on a regular basis. I expect big things from him,” Stills said.
Anthony Croxton, DL, Tarpon Springs (FL): The 6-3 and 290-pounder did well along with Stanford commit Bo Peek and Air Force commit John Chiaramonte.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Croxton has that little something extra you can’t coach. Given that, and with more work, he’s heading in the right direction,” Stills said.
Logan Miller, DL, Clearwater Central Catholic (FL): The 6-4 and 240-pounder played outside, that’s where he appeared to be most comfortable and productive.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Miller showed great progress throughout the week. He continued to improve and could soon emerge as a complete player,” Stills said.
Jason Dambach, QB, Riverside (PA): Georgia Tech commit Lucas Johnson was essentially the main attraction, but the 6-2 and 190-pounder nearly stole the show.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Dambach has the physical gifts and mental capacity to control a game. Leadership, that impressed us,” said brothers Arlen and Aaron Harris
Travis Lockhart, QB, Hamilton (AZ): The 6-1 and 185-pounder took advantage of his opportunities, and as result, opened up some eyes with his uncanny timeliness.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Lockhart is a big-time competitor. He proved that the stage was not too big for him. He did well against the best on the national level,” McMillian said.
Isaiah Hall, RB, Chaparral (CA): The 5-11 and 200-pounder did the dirty work, things that don’t show up in the box score. Still, he earned praise from colleges in attendance.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Hall can run downhill or make a quick cut with good vision. He keeps his legs moving, that’s important,” said brothers Arlen and Aaron Harris.
Grant Kingston, RB, Anderson (CA): With a nose for the end zone, the 5-11 and 190-pounder scored twice in the game to leave no doubt about the final outcome.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Kingston packs a punch and running in between the tackles better helps his perimeter explosiveness,” said brothers Arlen and Aaron Harris.
Javier Buffalo, WR, Franklin (PA): The 5-11 and 180-pounder teamed well with Virginia commit Cole Blackman and Pac-12 Conference target Anselem Umeh.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Buffalo made big plays on the outside, and as coaches, you need an athlete like that to make a difference,” said brothers Arlen and Aaron Harris.
Jelani Greene, WR, Newfield (NY): A recent New Hampshire commit, the 6-foot and 170-pounder fast became a favorite of the signal-callers with his reliability.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Greene’s hips and feet allowed him to get in and out of breaks quickly. His hands are strong and sure,” said brothers Arlen and Aaron Harris.
Khalif Sinclair, WR, Norristown (PA): The 5-10 and 165-pounder would not be denied. He’s a winner and settling for anything but the best isn’t in his vocabulary.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “No task was too difficult for him. Underneath, down the field, on the sideline, Sinclair did it all for us,” said brothers Arlen and Aaron Harris.
Isaac Steele, DB, Centennial (AZ): We would not be surprised to see the 6-2 and 180-pounder playing on Saturdays. That’s sooner rather than later, of course.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “With him, sky’s the limit. He has a bright future ahead of him. Some guys have it, and Steele, he is definitely one of them,” McMillian said.
Eric Sherkel, DB, Moshannon Valley (PA): The 5-11 and 195-pounder was courted by more than a few programs. In the end, however, he committed to Bowling Green.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Tough and gritty, I liked his mentality on the field. Sherkel picked up what we were trying to do in the secondary,” McMillian said.
Desmond Young, DB, Chaparral (CA): A competitor, the 5-11 and 163-pounder was not afraid to take on difficult assignments. He graded out well, for the record.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Young worked hard. He can play at the next level. The talent is there with this guy. He’s ready for some college ball,” McMillian said.
Damon Wiley, LB, De La Salle (CA): The 6-foot and 230-pounder did it all. From being a run-stopping force to pressuring the pass, he excelled in all facets of the game.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Colleges are sleeping on Wiley. This young man is legit. The school that lands him is going to be a lucky program,” McMillian said.
Ernest Shockley, LB, Decatur (MD): The coaching staff praised the 6-3 and 235-pounder after practice. The same thing can be said about him after the final score.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “I liked Shockley. He stood out. He’s still somewhat raw, but with work, he can be a real steady contributor in college,” Teague said.
Kobi Smith-Parrott, DL, Lincoln (NE): The 6-3 and 345-pounder fed off the energy from West Virginia commit Reese Donahue and Utah State commit Noah Kramer.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “A big body, Smith-Parrott took up space and made some big plays for us. He changed the game a couple different times,” McCauley said.
Noel Brouse, DL, Parkland (PA): A one-time Syracuse commit, the 6-5 and 265-pounder commanded attention from start to finish. One-on-one, he could not be stopped.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “I don’t know where Brouse came from, but if there are more players like him around that town, I want to find those guys,” McCauley said.
Joshua Bertelsen, DL, Martinsville (IN): The 6-4 and 245-pounder was not vocal. Instead, he let his play do the talking and the message was received loud and clear.
NFL Veteran Evaluation: “Bertelsen, you’re talking about a player right there. There’s no doubt in my mind, that kid can play some Division I ball,” McCauley said.