The Blur defeated the Highlight 49-16 on Thursday in the Under Armour All-America Game, which is arguably the most prestigious high school all-star game in the country, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Half a dozen Florida State commitments for the 2012 recruiting class were on display, and nobody on either sideline was more impressive than Hueytown (AL) High School quarterback Jameis Winston, who walked away with the game's MVP award. He is currently the No. 2 QB in the nation according to Scout.com.
Winston managed to complete 8 of 9 passes for 178 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and although he was stopped for minus-2 yards on seven carries, he has a chance to do just as much damage at the collegiate level with his legs as he does with his arm. The 6-4, 190-pounder started the scoring in the first quarter with a 75-yard TD toss to Alabama commitment Amari Cooper, putting an exclamation point on a four-play, 81-yard drive that only took 1:57. Then in the third quarter, Winston found South Carolina commitment Shaq Roland for a 16-yard score.
"This is what I worked for my whole life," Winston said. "When I was a kid watching this game, I always said, 'I am going to win that award.' And then I did."
While Winston's commitment still appears to be as strong as ever, because he's also considered a possible first-round draft pick in baseball, the Seminoles will likely have to wait until long after National Signing Day on Feb. 1 to know for certain if he's indeed coming to Tallahassee.
The only other FSU commitment to play on the offensive side of the ball was Orlando (FL) Boone High School wide receiver Marvin Bracy. The 5-9, 166-pounder caught two passes for 56 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown in the second quarter from Kline. The speedster -- he's perhaps the fastest player at the prep level and may have a future as an Olympic sprinter -- also returned one punt for 18 yards and two kickoffs for a total of 54 yards, but he did fumble twice in the contest.
On defense, Ocala (FL) Vanguard High School defensive back P.J. Williams led the way for the future 'Noles with three tackles, two of them solos and one an assist. A bit of a tweener at 6-1 and 180 pounds, it is yet to be determined if his best position is going to be cornerback or safety.
The top three defensive ends throughout the week of practice leading up to the game are all committed to wearing garnet and gold soon: Chris Casher from Mobile (AL) Davidson High School, Mario Edwards -- his father played for Bobby Bowden in the '90s and was eventually a sixth-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys -- from Denton (TX) Ryan High School and Dante Fowler from St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood High School. Casher recorded one solo tackle and one assist, Edwards was credited with a pair of solos and Fowler's lone stop was actually a sack of Clemson commitment Chad Kelly.
Geoff Vogt, a Florida recruiting analyst for Scout.com, was in Lake Buena Vista for the Under Armour practices and watched Thursday's tilt from start to finish.
"Marvin Bracy stepped up with a couple of plays that went against the grain of what people generally think," said Vogt. "Hands? Indeed, he made a great one-handed catch. Wiggle? He showed a little, which is more than nothing. The defensive ends looked better in practice than the game. P.J. Williams had a nice game and week of practice -- rock solid. Jameis Winston flashes brilliance but needs to be more consistent, which starts with technique."
Two more Florida State commitments will lace up their spikes Saturday in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio: Stone Mountain (GA) High School linebacker Markuss Eligwe and Prattville (AL) High School defensive tackle Justin Shanks.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
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