The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is Saturday, featuring many of the nation’s best high school seniors. Here are five players to watch from the East:
Tua Tagovailoa: Yes, the quarterback from Hawaii is on the East team. The Alabama commit has stood out all week in the way he’s handled himself on the field and with the media as he unwittingly became the de facto spokesman for Najee Harris, who appears as if he will join Tagovailoa at Alabama. He has the presence of a leader.
Richard LeCounte III: The Georgia-bound safety has been a star on videos that have emerged from practice, aggressively pushing a wide receiver over a bench and making a wild tip-drill interception. He is considered the best safety prospect in the class and the Army Bowl will be another opportunity to prove he is worthy of that distinction. LeCounte also could sneak in for a couple of plays on offense.
A.J. Epenesa: The 6-5 defensive end who is committed to Iowa has been a force in practice with his strength and length. He has shown ability against the run and also can manhandle the offensive lineman to make life difficult for the quarterback. The highest ranked Iowa commit in some time, he has shown why in practice and that could carry over to the game.
Cam Akers: The Florida State commit has gotten better as the week has gone on and broke several long runs in practice Thursday. Given that he played quarterback in leading Clinton (Miss.) to a state title, he also might be used for a trick play or two with his arm.
D.J. Matthews: Another Florida State commit, the 5-11 wide receiver who weights 160 pounds has shown what he can do in the red zone, in particular, during practices. He also can be a force in the slot using his speed. The biggest thing that many observers have pointed to is his consistency in catching the ball this week in practice. On an East team that is deep in receiving talent, including Michigan commit Donovan Peoples-Jones, Matthews has stood out.