Future Tigers Shine In All-Star Victory

One AU commitment was a star on offense and another on defense in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game.

Montgomery, Ala.--It was a good day for several of the Auburn commitments on Saturday as they played key roles in helping the Alabama All-Stars to a fifth consecutive victory in the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game at Cramton Bowl.

McGill-Toolen star Jason Smith won Most Valuable Player honors for the winning team as he caught six passes for 134 yards in his team's 21-16 victory.

"I didn't expect it," Smith said after the contest. "I just came in to contribute. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team."

Smith, who played quarterback all season, showed outstanding pass receiving skills on Saturday. "All I knew is that if the ball came to me I had to catch it," he said. "When it was a running play I had to block. I just had to do my assignments for the team to be successful."

Jason Smith looks for running room on Saturday.

Cornerback Kamryn Melton from Dothan High School made four tackles, intercepted a pass and caused a fumble that he recovered. Both of the turnovers he forced ended scoring threats by the Mississippi All-Stars, who now trail 19-7 in the all-time series.

"I think I earned my respect," said Melton, who noted the whole all-star week was a great experience. "I learned a lot from the coaches here this week. They really taught me well and it was fun to get to play with top seniors from across the state of Alabama."

Asked what his favorite play of the game was, he said, "I would say it would be the fumble. I showed my aggressiveness by creating the fumble and then recovering it. That was a lot of fun.

"I had a lovely time all week being on a team with all of these competitors," he noted. "The whole week our emphasis was compete, compete and compete and I love that."

Melton said another highlight of the week for him was to help the Alabama All-Stars keep the winning streak alive. "I wanted to represent my hometown and my state well," he said.

The downside of the all-star game on Saturday was that a flag-happy officiating crew never allowed the contest to develop a good flow. The Mississippi All-Stars were flagged 15 times, just one more than the Alabama squad.

Neither team put up big numbers offensively. The Alabama squad finished with 318 total yards while the Mississippi team totaled 241.

Quarterback Jeremy Johnson only threw 10 passes and the Auburn commitment never got into a rhythm on Saturday. He competed 4-10 passes for 75 yards with one interception and no sacks. His backup, Nick Mullens of Spain Park, hit 8-12 passes for 156 yards and was sacked one time.

Johnson said the most important things were spending the week with the other all-stars and ending it with a victory. "I wish I could rewind the whole week and do it again," he said. "This is the most exciting group of players I have ever been around and it was fun all week.

"I played alright, I guess," he said of the game. "It wasn't my best, but all that matters is we got the victory and kept the streak going so I am satisfied."

Saturday's all-star game was the second one this year he has played in while having fellow Auburn commitment Jason Smith as a teammate. Johnson was MVP in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Basketball Game and Smith was the MVP for the football contest.

"Jason has got to be one of the best athletes I have ever played with because he can do it all," Johnson said. "He can play quarterback, wide receiver, punt returner and kick returner. He is one of the best players in the state."

Johnson has one more contest before he finishes his high school football career. He will participate in the U.S. Army All-American Game, but before that happens he will be back on the basketball court. "I will be flying out to Hawaii on Monday for my first tournament and will be out there for the whole week," he said.

News and Notes: The first half was marred by 15 penalties, several which were difficult to follow, that kept the game from developing a flow. The Alabama team had seven penalties for 39 yards and the Mississippi team was penalized eight times for 55 yards...Johnson's first pass of the game was intercepted when he made a throw on the run trying to hit a receiver who was running a deep route over the middle...Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was on the field at Cramton Bowl to congratulate his future QB Johnson and other Auburn players on their victory in the all-star game...Neither team had much success running the football. The Alabama All-Stars netted 87 yards on 39 carries and the Mississippi team netted 49 on 22 running plays...Chris Jones of Houston High was the Mississippi MVP with eight tackles with three for lost yardage including a sack. The Mississippi State commitment also did a good job of pressuring the QB on other pass plays...Thomas Hamlin of McGill-Toolen made field goals of 30, 35 and 51 yards to tie the all-star game record for most made field goals. Hamlin said after the game he has heard from Samford University, but does not have a scholarship offer yet...AU wide receiver commitment Earnest Robinson did have a pass thrown his way in the game...Auburn defensive line commitment Dee Liner had one tackle for loss.

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