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 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.
Michael Pinckney from Raines (FL) is the focus here. As a member of the Class of 2016, he was invited to the game, though an intense recruiting process largely limited his participation as Grey defeated Blue, 28-14, at Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field.
A well-known national name and one of the marquee attractions during the brand’s stop on the Jersey Presentation Tour, camera crews were locked in on Pinckney for interviews leading up to the opening kickoff. Little, or nothing, changed at the next level.
The 6-foot-1 junior linebacker for Miami has not missed a beat since stepping foot on campus in Coral Gables (FL). Pinckney hopes to prove as much once again, naturally, as the Hurricanes face Boston College on Oct. 26 in an ACC game at 8 p.m. (EST).
Penciled as a starter this season, he’s emerged to lead. Perhaps at his best, and despite the final in an ACC showdown to Virginia, a 16-13 loss, Pinckney had 12 tackles, 7.5 solo, 2.5 for losses and 1.5 sacks. The determined effort won’t soon be forgotten.
As a sophomore at Miami, he delivered on expectations in 11 starts and finished with 68 tackles, 42 solo, 11 for loss and 3.5 sacks. As a freshman, Pinckney opened some eyes in 13 starts and ended up with 61 tackles, 33 solo, 7.5 for losses and 2.5 sacks.
In terms of what’s next, a handful of games remain on this year’s schedule, that appears to focus for Pinckney and the Hurricanes. His senior campaign awaits, of course. Looming large thereafter is the NFL Draft, and likely before, the NFL Scouting Combine.
To think, a short time ago and right in his own backyard essentially, the Jacksonville native was among the marquee names as the hype continued to build in advance of, not only the brand’s Jersey Presentation Tour, also the All-American Bowl in Florida.