SAN ANTONIO - It was most certainly not the best game of his life, but Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain still felt very fortunate to have been invited to the party.
Mustain, the nation's top-ranked quarterback according to Scout.com , was just 2-of-13 passing in his West team's 27-16 loss to the East in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Saturday afternoon before 31,565 fans at The Alamodome and an NBC national television audience.
Mustain, who the University of Arkansas would dearly love to sign and started the game along with Springdale offensive lineman Bartley Webb , completed a screen pass for 2 yards on his first throw of the day, but his only other completed one was for a negative four yards.
"It is a bad day all around for the entire team," Mustain said. "We didn't play like we should have and I sure didn't play like I was should have. But your work harder and you play smarter next day. I think Jevan Sneed did a great job of stepping in and carrying the team and that's a real tribute to him. He really did an awesome job."
It certainly was a different look than normal from Mustain, who passed for over 3,800 yards and 47 touchdowns with just six interceptions this season for Springdale this season.
It was on all five of the game's quarterbacks, who combined to go just 18-of-54 passing for 251 yards total on a day when MVP Chris Wells rushed for 67 yards and three touchdowns for the East.
"It was just an off day all over," said Mustain, who took a big-time lick on his only rushing attempt "My arm wasn't quite there and I couldn't really adjust. It was all on me and my head. I just had a hard time adjusting.
"But it's been a great time this week," Mustain said. "I got to know a lot of the guys that I have heard about and watched and seen highlights of. There were a lot of great players here and I got a chance to work with them. It didn't quite pay off in the in, but those are relationships that I will have the rest of my life."
"The offense was very simple," Mustain said. "We put that in during one day. Like anything else it is about timing. We all come from different systems, routes are run different and there is a lot of difference in the timing."
Mustain was noted right after halftime as having won the Parade All-American player of the year award and mentioned that he might commit on Saturday.
"I was just jacking with him," Mustain said of the interviewer. "It's the same thing it has been. I haven't even dealt with it (recruiting) at all this week."
So it remains Arkansas, Notre Dame, Alabama and Tennessee still in the hunt according to Mustain, who said he will take visit to two of those.
"I am not going to narrow it down any further," Mustain said. "That's it. Those are the four. I will make my visits and when I get those set we will go from there."
Arkansas now has commitments from two Springdale standouts in wideout Andrew Norman and Ben Cleveland, who switched from Florida to Arkansas on Friday.
"I am happy for Ben," Mustain said. "I know that had been in his heart for awhile and I am proud of him for it."
Webb, who opened at left tackle and chose Notre Dame over Arkansas and several other schools, also talked about what a great week he had being involved in the game, which had 78 of the nation's top prospects.
"It was a really good week to just be around a group of guys that are the best in the country," Webb said. "I saw a lot of great talent and matched where exactly where I fall into this and where everybody else in the country you have been hearing of falls in."
Webb, who took his official visit to Notre Dame during the season, said it was just a matter of adjustment and no one should get to down on themselves.
"It's hard to come in during just one week and learn everything that you need to know," Webb said. "You are getting use to playing with new people and getting use to new coaches even. It is very difficult and anyone who says it is not has obviously never experienced it or just out of their mind.
"Everyone has off days and I myself had an off day as well," Webb said. "Really I felt as a team we had an 11-point off day. Some things bounce our way and some things don't. You have just got to know that games like today don't make or break a team."
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