Football

Five things we learned at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl

SAN ANTONIO — Five things we learned in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday:

Marvin Wilson really likes All-Star games: Just a week after playing in the Under Armour All-America Game, Wilson, a defensive tackle from Episcopal (Bellaire, Texas), was on the field as a spectator to hang with the players at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, including Walker Little, an offensive lineman from Episcopal.

Wilson, the 6-4, 332-pound senior is the top remaining undecided recruit. He announced a final five of LSU, Oklahoma, Florida State, Ohio State and South Florida. 

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“This game was amazing to see my boys play their last game,” Wilson said. “I’m just here to watch. I don’t go back to school until, like, February.”

D.J. Matthews may have been the real MVP: The Florida State commit led all players with 112 all-purpose yards. The Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) receiver had a 76-yard touchdown reception and 37 net return yards. His teammate from Trinity Christian, Shaun Wade, the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year, had three tackles and broke up one pass.

The East really came to play in the second half: With the exception of a few big plays by the West, the East ground out the win with strong defense and an offense that held onto the ball. The West had the ball for only 4:09 in the entire second half with the East offense holding on for the other 19:51.

Another key for the East was it was able to capitalize on its chances, even when the offense stalled, because kicker Joseph Bulovas had field goals of 34, 49 and 27 yards.

1/7/17 2:06:06 PM -- San Antonio, TX, U.S.A -- West defensive back Bubba Bolden (28) during U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. East won 20-10. -- Photo by USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 135880 Army All-America 1/7/2017 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

West defensive back Bubba Bolden committed to USC during the Army Bowl (Photo: Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports)

Bubba Bolden is a big-play guy: The Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) defensive back, who committed to Southern Cal during Saturday’s broadcast, scored the game’s strangest touchdown, timing his rush perfectly on a field goal attempt by the East, he plucked the ball of the tee and ran 52 yards for the score for the game’s final touchdown.

The play was reminiscent of a play earlier this year when he blocked a field goal by jumping over the center in an overtime defeat of St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale). Ironically, an assistant coach from Aquinas was at Saturday’s game as well.

Jaelan Phillips comes up big for West defense: UCLA commit Jaelan Phillips showed why he was named the American Family Insurance Defensive Player of the Year on Friday night when he spent much of the first half in the East backfield.

Phillips, from Redlands East Valley (Redlands, Calif.) finished with a game-high five tackles, a quarterback hurry and was in on a tackle for loss.

Five of UCLA’s 13 commits are defensive linemen, including Greg Rogers, who is ranked as a top 10 defensive tackle. The Bruins added five-star cornerback Darnay Holmes on Saturday.

1/7/17 12:40:40 PM -- San Antonio, TX, U.S.A -- East quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (12) scrambles for yardage as he is pressured by West defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips (15) during U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. -- Photo by USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 135880 Army All-America 1/7/2017 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

East quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (12) scrambles for yardage as he is pressured by West defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips (Photo: Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports)