Future Tigers Shine In All-Star Football Contest

Seven Auburn football signees helped lead the Alabama All-Stars to their fourth consecutive victory over the Mississippi All-Stars.

Mobile, Ala.--Quarterback Brandon Cox was named the Most Valuable Player for the Alabama squad in its fourth straight Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game victory over the Mississippi All-Stars.

The Auburn signee's performance helped lead the Alabama All-Stars to a 29-17 win at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday night.

Cox wasn't the only Auburn signee to stand out in the contest. All eight of the future Tigers had strong performances and the seven on the Alabama squad were key reasons for their side's victory.

Brandon Cox of Hewitt-Trussville takes a snap in pre-game warmup from center Will Ward, a future AU teammate, while another Auburn signee, T.J. Jackson (58), gets ready for the start of the game.

Cox led the way on offense for Alabama, going 8-11 as a passer for 111 yards. He directed his team on three scoring drives, two which resulted in touchdowns. Cox was not intercepted nor did he take a sack. Of his three incompletions, two were dropped balls by the receivers.

For his efforts, Cox was named the MVP of an Alabama team that was much more impressive than their Mississippi counterparts on Saturday night.

"It's great," a smiling Cox said after being named the MVP. "I have loved every minute of this whole week. Being around all these new teammates we got to know each other and had a lot of fun."

Things got off to a rough start for the left-handed quarterback, however, when the Alabama All-Stars took the opening kickoff and set up shop at their own 33-yard line. On their first play, Cox dropped back for what looked to be a statue of liberty play, but the receiver never came around the end and in desperation Cox pitched the ball to a cutting running back, Lee Baker, who fumbled the ball on the Alabama 25.

After a scramble for the loose ball, the Mississippi All-Stars recovered on the Alabama three-yard line. After a sideline-to-sideline run by Kevin Dockery, the Mississippi All-Stars led 7-0.

However, Cox's play the rest of the first half was impressive, even though he only played in every other series. In his next two appearances, he led Alabama for two scores by hitting four of four passes for 73 yards to lead all quarterbacks in the first half.

Tyrone Martin played well at linebacker.

Cox's best drive of the night was his third of the game, a five-play, 81-yard touchdown march with 64 of the yards coming from Cox's arm. On the first play of the drive. Cox completed a 25-yard out route catch and run to Vanderbilt signee Grant Brigham. Then on the next play Cox uncorked his longest effort of the evening, a 39 yard sideline route under pressure and across his body to another incoming Auburn freshman, Montae Pitts from Loachapoka.

Pitts was also very impressive for the Alabama team on Saturday night. He showed his well-known speed by taking an end-around reverse from Cox on his first touch of the game for a 16-yard gain to open up Alabama's second scoring drive.

Pitts caught two balls for 47 yards to lead all receivers and rushed for 16 on his one carry.

After the game Pitts said he wished he could have done more. "I feel alright," Pitts explained. "You know, we came, played and had fun. I wish I would have got more touches. But it is a team thing. It is the all-star game so everybody had to get their touches."

As for his future plans, Pitts says that he has a lot to do before he reports for camp in August. "You get to go back to work for Auburn on Monday so I'm getting ready for Auburn now, and there is going to be alot of hard work to do."

Ben Obomanu caught four passes in the all-star game.

Along with Pitts, Ben Obomanu has raised the hopes of Auburn fans for the Tigers' depleted receiving corps with his size and speed. Obomanu also got into the receiving act on Saturday night. He caught four passes for 22 yards in a game that didn't feature a lot of aerial combat.

On defense for the Alabama All-Stars, another Tiger signee was spectacular on Saturday night. Tyrone Martin was all over the field as he was credited with eight tackles, four of which were unassisted. That number tied him for the most of any player with Mississippi defensive back Jermaine Winters. Martin also had two tackles for a total loss of eight yards on the night.

After a strong effort in his final high school game, Martin wanted to talk about his new Auburn teammates and what they had learned about each other this week. "TJ--he's a joker. And then we have Ben--he stays to himself a lot. Montavious, he's fast, real fast. And Brandon, he's one of the best quarterbacks I've ever been able to play with."

Montae Pitts is shown at Saturday evening's game in Mobile.

Late in the first half, Martin laid his nastiest shot of the night on Tee Millions after coming from all the way across the field, putting an abrupt end to a 37-yard kickoff return. He also recorded a five-yard sack early in the second half, which set up the safety by Tommy "TJ" Jackson, the defensive lineman from Opelika.

Jackson had a strong game for Alabama with three tackles, all three of which were behind the line, including a safety in the third quarter on elusive Mississippi quarterback Aires Nelson. Along with his hits, Jackson frequently knifed through the Mississippi defensive line to keep strong pressure on the Mississippi quarterbacks.

Auburn signee Kevin Sears of Russellville was also in on three tackles and had one pass deflection on the evening while showing solid speed and good athleticism. Sears, who played at strong safety for the Alabama All-Stars, will most likely be bulked up at Auburn to play at linebacker. He is currently six-foot-five and 220 pounds.

DL Timmy Duckworth put pressure on the Alabama offense with his strength and quickness.

Timmy Duckworth, Auburn's only signee playing for the Mississippi All-Stars, had a good effort in the game. Duckworth finished the night with three tackles and pushed through the Alabama line a number of time to get pressure on the Alabama quarterbacks.

Duckworth's best hit came in the fourth quarter when Alabama running back Lee Baker took a hand off and tried to rush up the middle. But Duckworth was having none of that and sliced through the line and laid a monstrous off-center lick on Baker that knocked his helmet off and drew ohhs and ahhs throughout the crowd.

"It felt good to be back out there playing football again," Duckworth told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "The Alabama All-Stars played a good game and it just wasn't meant to be for our team to win this game." Duckworth added that he enjoyed competing against seven future teammates and says he can't wait to get started as a college football player.

In an interesting matchup in the first half, two Tiger signees were going head to head. William Ward was playing center for Alabama while Duckworth was at noseguard for Mississippi. Ward held his own against the much larger Duckworth, holding him to only one tackle. However, Duckworth did blast through the line a few times, showing that he wouldn't be dominated by his future teammate.

Ward put on a strong overall show at center and shows a lot of promise for the future of the Tigers. On a variety of occasions, he made his block at the line of scrimmage and then got downfield to take out another Mississippi player.

The game wouldn't have even been as close as it was without a spectacular effort from Mississippi State signee Aires Nelson. Following a fumble by Mississippi running back Kevin Dockery, which he recovered himself at the Alabama 39, Nelson took a snap with less than 10 seconds left in the first half. After rolling right and crossing back to the middle of the field, Nelson crossed back again to the right sideline and raced 39 yards for the score with no time remaining in the half. Jackson and Sears both missed open shots at the shifty Nelson on what was easily the play of the game.

Other than that spectacular run, the Alabama defense was extremely stingy on Saturday night. It only allowed 51 yards to the Mississippi All-Stars in the first half. In the second half, the Alabama stars really turned up the defensive pressure and held the losers to a net minus one yard for the third and fourth quarters. The 50 total yards that Mississippi was held to was an Alabama Mississippi High School All-Star Classic record for the lowest output by one team.


First Downs: Alabama 19; Mississippi 6

Rushing: Alabama 39-72; Mississippi 22-29;

Passing Yards: Alabama 152; Mississippi 21

Passing (Completions, Attempts; Interceptions): Alabama 16-23-1; Mississippi 5-15-1

Total Offense: Alabama 62-224; Mississippi 37-50.

Fumbles/Fumbles Lost: Alabama 4-2; Mississippi 4-1

Penalties: Alabama 6-40; Mississippi 13-76

Punts/Average: Alabama 0-0; Mississippi 3-40.7

Montae Pitts lines up at wide receiver vs. the Mississippi All-Stars.

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