Irish Prospects Quiet in U.S. Army Bowl

SAN ANTONIO - As typical in most all-star games, Irish fans witnessed some fireworks on Saturday, but also a lot of bad play at ninth annual U.S.Army All-American Bowl. Not many Irish players shined on Saturday, but ND offensive line prospect Chris Watt sure did.

Five-star prospect offensive lineman Chris Watt had an all-star showing on Saturday. Watt really did an impressive job and played most of the game. He competed a lot against future teammate and defensive tackle Tyler Stockton and Watt more than held his own against one of Notre Dame's better 2009 commitments. Stockton stole most of the press all week from the Army practices, but Watt really shined the most during Saturday's game.

Watt stood out both in pass protection and run blocking, but the surprising thing is how well Watt did against some of the nation's best prospects in pass protection. Watt has always been known as a mauler and good run blocker, but Watt really showed the ability to move and good technique while playing against some stronger opponents on the East defensive line. Watt also lined up often against Michigan commitment and five-star prospect William Campbell and did a great job against one of the better players in the country.

Five-star running back Cierre Wood had a predictable day running the football. All week the West offensive line struggled to find any running lanes for the West backs, and Wood didn't find any real daylight during the game. Wood did pick up six tough yards inside on his first carry, but then was left running for his life during his only other carry.

Wood did show his versatility by catching a nice 13-yard pass, but saw limited action throughout the game. If you watched the West practices this week, it would be no surprise that Wood struggled running today, as did all West running backs. Irish fans are well aware of his potential, and he should at least make an immediate impact for the Irish in 2009 on special teams.

Stockton, a four-star prospect on, has been a standout all week during the Army practices, but didn't make a big impact in the game. Stockton did have a few pressures, but didn't get to the quarterback or register a tackle. Actually, I believe he had an assist he wasn't credited for, but he didn't have a real impact in the game. The good news is he was outstanding all week in practice and showed up every day to compete. Stockton just needs to add some good strength and he should be a force for the Irish in the future.

Tight end Jake Golic had a quiet game Saturday. He dropped the first pass that went his way, and then a second pass in the second half, and didn't see much action during the rest of the game. Golic did play and was open a number of times, but he didn't see any other passes thrown his way. He did have a couple of nice blocks during the game, including a textbook block on the much bigger Nick Kasa to spring a running back for a first down. With Golic it's a matter of getting bigger and acclimated to the speed of the next level.

Four-star linebacker Zeke Motta had a tackle but wasn't credited for another he had in the first half. Motta spent most the day in pass coverage, and the good news is there really weren't any balls caught that were in his area. Motta continues to show great quickness and overall speed for a linebacker. He had a quiet but effective day. The East coaches were highly complimentary of his ability all week. Motta, like Stockton, will start his Notre Dame career this month as they both plan to enroll in Notre Dame this January.

Shaquelle Evans also had a quiet day. He wasn't in the game a great deal and has been slowed by an injury most of the week. He did drop the first pass thrown his way, a short pass thrown to him the slot. He caught the second pass, a screen pass that went for four yards. He did have a few nice blocks in the run game, but really didn't have many opportunities to shine.

Overall the six Irish players who participated all week during the Army All-American Bowl showed good promise. While none wowed anyone on Saturday, they all made positive impressions throughout the week. Chris Watt, Zeke Motta and Tyler Stockton probably stood out the most all week, but the others certainly have great ability and should contribute early for the Irish in their careers. Top Stories