Here are five things to watch at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, which will be played Sunday in Carson, Calif., at 9 p.m. ET and broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
Get your Irish on
Six players on Semper Fi rosters have committed to Notre Dame.
Keep your eyes on C.J. Sanders, a four-star wide receiver from Sherman Oaks, Calif., who committed last May. A prototypical slot receiver at 5-8, he opened eyes when ran the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds last summer at The Opening, the elite Nike camp.
Miles Boykin is a four-star receiver from Providence High in New Lenox, Ill., but he won’t be playing because of injury. At 6-4, 220 pounds, he could become a tight end for the Irish.
On the defensive side, Notre Dame will be represented by safety Prentice McKinney (South Oak Cliff, Dallas), outside linebacker Bo Wallace (John Curtis, New Orleans), defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum (Park Tudor, Indianapolis) and defensive end Micah Dew-Treadway (Bolingbrook, Ill.).
Clemson and Ohio State have five commitments playing in the game.
Take your picks
Holton Hill, a defensive back from Lamar, led the state of Texas with 12 interceptions this season. Hill is a four-star prospect who is ranked as the No. 9 cornerback in the nation by the 247Sports Composite.
Asked by the Houston Chronicle why he was able to get so many interceptions and why offenses didn’t learn to throw the ball away from him, Holton replied, “Going into the season, my coaches put me on the best receiver’s side. So whenever they had a chance to throw to that side, I would just target them and pick the ball off.”
He already has taken official visits to LSU and Texas A&M and has January visits scheduled for Texas and Baylor.
A familiar name
Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is ranked as the No. 1 prospect from the state of New York and the No. 10 best tight end in the nation by the 247 Sports Composite.
He played the last two seasons at Canisius in Buffalo after his father was hired by now-former Bills coach Doug Marrone as a member of the coaching staff. He spent his first two years of high school at Fayetteville-Manlius in the Syracuse area because his dad was on Marrone’s staff at Syracuse University.
Wheatley, who also plays defensive end, said recently that he was down to four schools – USC, Alabama, Oregon and UCLA. USC was his boyhood favorite.
With Jim Harbaugh now on the Michigan sideline, it will be interesting to see if the Wolverines make a run at Tyrone Jr. to see if he wants to follow in his father’s Ann Arbor footsteps.
The first two years of the Semper Fi game were defensive affairs, with identical 17-14 scores. The pace picked up last year with a 31-24 victory for the West after it opened the game with 28 consecutive points (one TD came on an 81-yard punt return).
So if the offense is to again put points on the board, it could come down to the quarterback play. The group represents an interesting cross-section when you consider their college choices.
For the East, Joe Burrow (The Plains, Athens, Ohio) is among the national leaders in career touchdowns and is committed to Ohio State of the Big Ten. Dwayne Lawson from Hillsborough High in Tampa is scheduled to announce this weekend with Virginia Tech of the ACC considered the favorite. Kyle Shurmur from LaSalle High in suburban Philadelphia is committed to Vanderbilt of the SEC. Kyle’s father, Pat, is the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive coordinator who interviewed this week to be the Oakland Raiders’ head coach.
For the West, Brian Lewerke (Pinnacle High, Phoenix) is committed to Michigan State. John Kolar from Norman North is headed to Oklahoma State of the Big 12 and leaving the home base of the University of Oklahoma. Sheriron Jones from Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif., decommitted from Florida in early December and now appears to be leaning toward Tennessee of the SEC.
Defense has starred in the Under Armour All-American game and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl so we will see if the Semper Fi players can make it a trifecta. The East defensive line is loaded led by Darian Roseboro of Lincolnton, N.C. A one-time Michigan commit, Roseboro changed his mind and opted to stay closer to home at North Carolina State.
Clemson defensive end commit Austin Bryant (Thomas County Central, Thomasville, Ga.), Tennessee defensive end commit Darrell Taylor (Hopewell, Va.) and Mississippi State defensive tackle commit Fletcher Adams (Brandon, Miss.) are among the top D-linemen on the East.
For the West, Dew-Treadway (Notre Dame commit), Benning Potaoe (Lakes, Tacoma, Wash.), Charles Omenihu (Rowlett, Texas) and Vanderbilt commit Caleb Peart (Hamilton, Chander, Ariz.) can get after the quarterback. Oklahoma commit Marquise Overton, a tackle from Jenks, Okla., is a load in the middle at 6-2, 301.