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 level has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon, either. That said, the hype is building for a pair of games this year: The first is on Dec. 20 at AT&T Stadium and home of the Dallas Cowboys. The second is on Jan. 9 at Raymond James Stadium and home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To gain a better understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps 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.
James Mayden from Sachse (TX) is in the spotlight here. Rightfully so, given his track record. A member of the Class of 2014, he was a major factor on the offensive side of the ball, difficult to deal with throughout, as West defeated East, 41-7, in the game at AT&T Stadium.
There were several big names on hand, with Texas Tech commit Patrick Mahomes leading the way, also Auburn commit Kamryn Pettway, Cal commit Vic Enwere, Louisville commit London Iakopo, Hawaii commit Devan Stubblefield and SEC target Lonnie Johnson.
Remember, at the time, and based in his body of work on the prep circuit, Mayden was rated as a two-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, an accurate indicator of talent considering the tool takes into account evaluations of the major recruiting services.
Fast forward, to the here and now, little has changed. Mayden is still a national name and the 6-foot-3 and 195-pound sophomore wide receiver hopes to strengthen a growing reputation for the Owls on Sept. 12 against Texas in a nonconference game at 12 p.m. (EST).
As a freshman, he opened up plenty of eyes with his first collegiate catch, a 53-yarder for a touchdown in a 48-17 nonconference loss to Notre Dame. A few weeks later, Mayden had a 69-yard touchdown reception in a 31-17 nonconference victory over Florida International.
In terms of the future, the path to success seems clear, as a starter’s role is in the cards this season, and beyond. Talk has begun about the next level, regardless of the journey to get there. And to think, Mayden essentially got his start at the All-American Bowl in Texas.