The O-D (Offense-Defense) All-American Bowl features some of the most talented high school seniors every recruiting cycle. In past years, Syracuse has had commits Alin Edouard and George Morris have participated in this event. Current NFL stars DeAndre Hopkins, Cam Newton, Jeremy Hill, Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, Rolando McClain, Golden Tate, Dez Bryant and several others have played in this game as well.
Current Syracuse defensive end commit Amir Ealey out of Coatesville (Pa.) High was on the roster this year and played for the American squad on Friday.
”It felt great to be considered one of the best of the best at what I do,” Ealey said. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to play in that game.”
During the week of practice leading up to the game itself, a few things stood out to Ealey. He cherished every moment of the experience as he got to test himself against high quality competition.
”The speed,” Ealey said. “The speed playing down there was so much faster. I see how I need to step up with that speed. Down there I was playing defensive end. The speed was just so much faster and the reaction times and the strength. You’re not always going to be the strongest guy out there and I realized that being out there. But I also realized I can play with those guys.
”The d-line coach, he was helping me with my hands. It wasn’t necessarily a d-line coach but the defensive coordinator. He was helping me use my hands. I wouldn’t say getting off the ball better, but just using my hands. Getting the tackles to get off of me.”
Things do not go well result wise for Ealey’s National squad as they lost the game to the American team. But he gained valuable experience and even had a few positive moments on the field.
”We lost by I think 14 or 21 or something like that,” Ealey said. “In the game, it was like a college atmosphere. Nine times out of 10 I had outside contain. I think I did pretty good. I had the opportunity to have four sacks but I only got one sack. I missed three of them and got one. I have to have better footwork. I’ve got to get a little bit faster. The times that I missed, they got out on me.”
Outside of his bowl experience, Ealey says he is in regular contact with the Syracuse coaching staff, specifically defensive line coach Tim Daoust. He said Daoust made no mention of the situation at Pitt and their conversations were focused on how he is doing.
Ealey’s main focus right now is trying to get his teammate, Jazzee Stocker, to join him up at Syracuse.
”I’ve been talking to Mr. Stocker a lot about trying to get him on board,” Ealey said. “But at the end of the day, that’s his decision and I don’t want to put him in the wrong position. I know that’s not what he’s trying to do. I just give him all of the positive aspects and information that made me commit.
”He already knows how the coaching staff is and how the families basically are. That’s a decision he’s going to have to make and his family is going to have to make. Personally, I think he might come to Syracuse.”