Stars Come Out In Texas

If you love football — and why would you be reading this if you didn't? — NBC's national broadcast of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 15, is most definitely "Must See T.V."

• Talk about star power: it features the nation's top 85 high school football prospects, as chosen by the recruiting experts at Scout.com, divided in half and playing four quarters in the showcase event of the scholastic season.

• Talk about drama: it's a high noon showdown between prime time pigskin talent, taking place a mere stone's throw from the historic Alamo in San Antonio, where the epic battle for Texas independence took place 168 years ago and still inspires to this day.

• Talk about intrigue: it's a three-hour window in which gridiron fans will not only be able to glimpse the future of the game; they will be about to examine it closely and with instant replay.

• Talk about suspense: it will include the long awaited and much anticipated verbal commitments made by a significant number of prized prospects that have been hotly pursued by premiere football programs from coast to coast over the last year. These high-value targets will take advantage of this high-profile contest to finally end the suspense. Ironically, such pledges normally take place in the prospect's home, but next weekend they will take place in your home.

All you have to do is turn on your television and that's what makes the U.S. Army All-American Bowl must see T.V. In addition to all the aforementioned attributes this is a game that figures to be entertaining even if doesn't turn out to be competitive. You put motivated players with great size, speed, strength and skills on a fast track under the Alamodome and you're bound to have big plays and memorable moment.

Although all-star games aren't always the ideal format to appraise talent, they do often allow the cream to rise to the surface. It was just in 2003 that running back Reggie Bush and wide receiver Steve Smith wowed viewers and spectators with their electrifying array of athletic talents.

Flash forward two years to the Orange Bowl in Miami where Smith and Bush are again turning heads while helping lead Southern Cal to consecutive NCAA national championships. Bush is regarded as one of a frontrunner for the 2005 Heisman Trophy

The list of past participants in this annual event, which had it inception five years ago, reads like a who's who of college football today. The question going into this year's game is: Who will be next to launch their football careers toward stardom? Stay Tuned.

BIG ORANGE FLAVOR

Tennessee has been well represented at past All-American Bowls with such prominent players as Cedric Houston, Kevin Simon, Jayson Swain, Michael Munoz, Gerald Riggs Jr., Brett Smith, Cody Douglas and Robert Meachem participating.

This year looks to be even bigger for the Vols with no less than 20 players competing in the contest that are either committed or still considering UT. There are another dozen that had Tennessee in their finalists before committing to another college. Check out the complete rosters. http://usarmy.scout.com/2/330633.html

Tennessee commitments playing in the game include: quarterback Jonathan Crompton of North Carolina, cornerback Demetrice Morley of Florida and center Josh McNeil who pledged to UT on Tuesday. Then there are those prospects believed to have strong interest in the Vols like defensive backs Bryan Evans and Kenneth Phillips of the Sunshine State, Linebacker Rico McCoy of Washington, D.C., defensive back Adam Myers-White of Ohio, offensive lineman Chris Scott of Georgia, defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger of Texas, defensive end Raymond Henderson of Wisconsin, running back Toney Baker of North Carolina, running back Jonathan Stewart of Washington, defensive back Derek Pegues of Mississippi and offensive lineman Michael Oher of Memphis Briarcrest High School.

Oher is one of two players from Tennessee taking part in this year's All-American Bowl along with Nashville Goodpasture wide receiver Patrick Turner. Oher and Turner will be members of the East squad as will Crompton and Morley.

Big Orange Recruitniks will not only get a chance to see their team's best prospects in the game, they may also get a chance to see them play each other. For instance: How about Oher blocking Henderson or McNeil clashing with Granger? You could also have Crompton throwing to Turner who is covered by Pegues. If Crompton and Turner connect in the game maybe they could eventually hook up for even greater things on The Hill.

After all, tis the season when dreams take flight and hopes know no limits.


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