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December 22, 2012
Under pressure: U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Here is a look at the 10 players (listed alphabetically) who enter the U.S. Army All-American Bowl under heavy scrutiny.
U.S. ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL: JAN. 5
WR Tyler Boyd, Clairton (Pa.) High, four starsThe uncommitted Boyd has been soaring since the summer, when he went from a three-star player to the Rivals250. After a stellar season, his ranking was boosted from No. 205 to No. 60, and he may prove to be among the best receivers in the country. The major question coming into the event will be if he can shine against elite competition with pads on the way he did in shorts this summer.
QB Max Browne, Sammamish (Wash.) High, five starsBrowne is in competition for the top spot in the country and could use this stage to stake his claim. Following in the footsteps of Jake Heaps has been his story since he was a sophomore at Skyline, but he has surpassed Heaps in the rankings; he has a chance to perform better than Heaps on yet another stage because both were U.S. Army All-Americans.
QB Ryan Burns, Ashburn (Vir.) Stone Bridge, four starsBurns has been impressive in all settings and led his team deep into the state playoffs. With what might be the best mechanics of any quarterback in the country, it will be good to see what he can do when he is surrounded by talent on all levels. He'll play in an offense that showcased Cyler Miles last season under Louisville (Ky.) Trinity coach Bob Beatty.
OLB Chans Cox, Lakeside (Ariz.) Blue Ridge, four starsCox has been on a steady slope down from No. 40 to No. 150 nationally and lost the top spot in the Arizona rankings. He has not played against an opponent that was able to give any measurement this season and has battled injuries. The December graduate can punctuate his high school career and shoot back up the board with a solid showing.
DE Joe Mathis, Upland (Calif.) High, four starsMathis is deciding among Washington, UCLA, USC, Texas A&M and Alabama and he could be swayed by any number of prospects who will be in San Antonio. His summer circuit was OK, and his play this season was pretty good against decent competition. This is his chance to show what he is made of and to prove his 'tweener label to be unfair.
CB Jalen Ramsey, Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy, five starsRamsey was the brightest light of the offseason and made a major run up the rankings. Ramsey played both ways and had an impact in every aspect of the game. Ramsey said he wants to go to San Antonio and show he can compete with the best in pads, not just shorts. The next week will prepare him for what he can expect on the next level much more so than what he saw on a weekly basis in Tennessee where the best receivers he covered - outside of an opening game against fellow Army All-American, James Quick - were on his own team.
DE Garrett Sickels, Little Silver (N.J.) Red Bank Regional, four starsSickels was constantly facing double and triple-teams while on the field for Red Bank Regional, and his stats suffered because of it. It will be interesting to see how he performs when there is equal or better talent around him and the opposing offensive line cannot scheme against just him.
QB Tyrone Swoopes, Whitewright (Texas) High, four starsOne of the most scrutinized and polarizing -- evaluation wise -- players in the event checks in as the second-highest-rated dual-threat quarterback in the country. He has been lauded as the next Vince Young by some and knocked as overrated by others. Seeing Swoopes in a game situation against the best talent in the country could go a long way to settling that debate -- especially because he rarely saw strong competition in high school.
S Dymonte Thomas, Alliance (Ohio) Marlington, four starsThomas is one of the best athletes in his region -- as well as one of the fastest. He is listed as a defensive back, but Thomas has the frame to play linebacker. His ability to show what he can do in coverage is going to be arguably the most intriguing aspect of his trip to the Alamo City.
CB Tre'Davious White, Shreveport (La.) Green Oaks, four starsOf the LSU commits playing in the game, White brings the most intrigue. He has played on both sides of the ball in high school and has been electric, but he has not been matched against top receivers while at the cornerback position -- where he projects in college. With the ability he has shown in the summer circuit, there is plenty of interest to see how he fares against the weapons on the East.