Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national scene has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: Dec. 17 and Jan. 29 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, also Jan. 5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and Jan. 14 at Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium.
To gain a better understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps now it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
In the spotlight here is Artavis Pierce from Auburndale (FL). Deservedly so. As a member of the Class of 2016, after all, he was in the running for Offensive MVP with 154 all-purpose yards as North defeated South, 35-0, in the game at Raymond James Stadium.
Pierce lined up alongside Arizona commit J.J. Taylor, West Virginia commit Reese Donahue, Minnesota commit Conner Olson, Clemson commit Zerrick Cooper, Nebraska commit Jack Stoll, Bowling Green commit Caleb Bright among others, almost too many to mention.
Bigger the stage, the better Pierce plays, apparently. That still rings true to this day, it’s worth noting. The 5-foot-11 and 208-pound junior running back for Oregon State will, once again, be in action against Southern Utah on Sept. 8 in a nonconference game at 12 p.m. (EST).
In the season opener, Pierce opened up plenty of eyes and made national headlines with 209 all-purpose yards in a 77-31 nonconference loss to Ohio State. All told, he had 168 rushing yards on 11 carries with two touchdown runs, a 78-yarder and 80-yarder, respectively.
As a sophomore, Pierce played in all 12 games, two starts, and finished with 4.8 yards per rush, also 20.2 yards per kickoff returns. As a freshman, he ended with 523 rushing yards on 98 carries with four touchdowns. That said, success was seemingly always in the cards.
Pierce essentially did it all during his days on the prep circuit. He played in the All-American Bowl, participated in the All-American Combine (Southeast Super), also was acknowledged during the brand’s Jersey Presentation Tour, each event taking place in Florida.
Currently entrenched as the starter for the Beavers, there’s work to be done, though. His senior year awaits. Beyond that, the NFL Scouting Combine looms as a possibility, maybe the NFL Draft, perhaps the undrafted free agent route. The future is bright, regardless.