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 West:
Tate Martell: Makes sense to start with the Ohio State commit quarterback if only because virtually everything he does garners attention and is worth watching. Quarterback is often challenging in all-star settings, but Martell tends to play his best on game days — even if he struggled at times during practice this week. Martell — the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Offensive Player of the Year — never lost as a high school player; he doesn’t plan to in his last game.
Martell, who has gotten some criticism for his size, also took to Twitter to get a jab in.
Walker Little: Offensive line play usually isn’t where a fan’s focus tends to be, especially in an all-star format. But in order for the skill position players to shine, the line has to do its job. The Stanford-bound Little is as good as they come and could potentially start as a freshman. He practiced at guard this week at times, so it will be interesting to see how he is lined up on game day. Foster Sarell, who announces his commitment during the game, is also worth watching on the line.
Najee Harris: The nation’s No. 1 overall recruit has been at the center of speculation about whether he’s going to Alabama or Michigan. The answer seems to be Alabama, but on Saturday, he can get away from the media and the questions and just play the game. Harris is ranked where he is for a reason. He gets to show it one more time at the high school level before enrolling in college.
Jaelan Phillips: The UCLA-bound defensive end is up for five awards at the Army Bowl awards event Friday night for good reason. He has been almost unblockable during practice this week. He seems to have all the tools: speed, power, athleticism and size at 6-6, 250 pounds. He also has style: Phillips recovered a fumble during Thursday’s practice, took it back for a touchdown and then dunked over the goalposts.
Bubba Bolden: You never know where the safety might be prowling, but he always seems to be making plays. The receiver-defensive back battles are among the most anticipated matchups in the Army Bowl, so Bolden will have to be on his game. He rarely gets beat on the deep ball and can make the big hit on plays that happen in front of him.