NCF On The Trail: 2014 US Army All-American Bowl

New USC coach Steve Sarkisian scored a major victory by keeping tight end prospect Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) at home.

How will the nation's No. 126 recruit fit in the Trojans' offense? Let's break it down:


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Two days after a huge win over Alabama, Oklahoma secured a huge recruiting victory, going into California to get Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), the nation's No. 9 running back.

What will Mixon bring to the Sooners' offense? Let's break it down:


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Marshon Lattimore will join Cleveland Glenville teammate Erick Smith at Ohio State next year.

What will the nations No. 50 player -- and No. 6 athlete -- bring to Urban Meyer's squad? Let's break it down:


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Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), the No. 65 player in ESPN 300, has committed to Notre Dame.

What will the hard-hitting linebacker bring to South Bend? Let's break it down:


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Safety Erick Smith (Cleveland/Glenville) announced his commitment to Ohio State on Saturday during the U.S. Army All-America Bowl. What does Smith bring to the Buckeyes?


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Days after getting a pledge from one dynamic weapon in Speedy Noil, the Aggies add another in Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside).

How will he fit in College Station? Let's break it down:


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ESPN 300 offensive lineman Brian Wallace (St. Louis/Christian Brothers) will play for Bret Bielema and Arkansas next year, committing to the Razorbacks on Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

How will he fit with the Razorbacks? Let's break it down:


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SoCal native Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) stayed close to home by choosing UCLA at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

How does Williams fit in Jim Mora’s defense? Let's break it down:


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The Virginia Cavaliers already have a pair of five-star prospects in their 2014 recruiting class, and they added an ESPN 300 wide receiver in Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan) during Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

What will Kamara mean to UVa? Let's break it down:


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Army Bowl combine notebook 

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
10:48
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SAN ANTONIO -- The day before the U.S. Army All-American Bowl featured several athletes who could be playing in the 2015 rendition of the game. The U.S. Army National Combine took place Friday, and several ESPN Junior 300 athletes, as well as rising 2015 and 2016 standouts, gave the Alamodome crowd a small taste of what to expect throughout the spring circuit of various camps and combines.


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Army Bowl notebook: Jan. 2 

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
8:10
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SAN ANTONIO -- Thursday’s practice session for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl saw players in more of a rhythm on offense, but it also saw defensive players showing their skills. If Thursday is any indication, Saturday’s contest could be a low-scoring affair.

Here are a few notes:

Cannon reaffirms Baylor commitment … again.

For the Baylor fans who read the late-Wednesday tweet coming from ESPN 300 receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), don’t read anything into it.


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SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN 300 offensive lineman David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School) got the news late Tuesday afternoon about Dalvin Cook switching his commitment from Florida to Florida State. Sharpe also is aware of Florida’s fight with LSU for ESPN 300 safety Jamal Adams, another Under Armour All-American.


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SAN ANTONIO -- The University of Georgia prides itself on power running backs. Look at the names of the past and present as proof.

Herschel Walker. Garrison Hearst. Lars Tate. Knowshon Moreno. Rodney Hampton. Frank Sinkwich. Terrell Davis. Most recently, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

[+] EnlargeChubb/Michel
Damon SaylesNick Chubb (left) and Sony Michel will face a crowded backfield when they arrive at Georgia.
With most of these players, you can say their first names around Athens, Ga., and everyone knows who you’re referring to. In a few years, the names “Sony” and “Chubb” could be added to that list.

That’s the ambition for two of the 2014 class’ most complete running backs. ESPN 300 running backs Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) and Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) have been impressive during U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices, and the two are working as teammates in the coveted all-star game before doing so in the SEC.

“I’m going in behind guys like Herschel Walker and Todd Gurley, two of the best running backs ever,” Chubb said. “I’m going to make a name for myself and I’m going to do my best.”

Michel added: “I’m just going in and trying to put my name on the map like they did.”

At first glance, Michel, the No. 2 running back in the country (No. 16 in the ESPN 300), and Chubb, the No. 8 running back (No. 64 in the ESPN 300), fit the description of a Georgia power runner. Both have good size and great speed. Michel is a solid 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds. Chubb is also 5-11 but weighs in at 216.

The idea of being as good as Walker and the distinguished Georgia ghosts of the past will always be in the back of their minds. While the mission is achievable, it’s also a long way off.

Georgia’s 2013 running back group was loaded with depth and seemed almost unfair at times. When everyone was healthy, the Bulldogs had Gurley, Marhsall, Brendan Douglas and J.J. Green to choose from. Gurley and Marshall were the “elder statesmen” as sophomores.

Add Michel and Chubb to the list next year, and the backfield looks even more dominant -- and crowded. Both players understand the risk of not playing early, but they also aren’t afraid of competing.

“There’s always going to be pressure, and people are going to be watching to see if we can live up to it,” Chubb said. “I’ve been doing this since I was young, and I’m going to continue doing it. I’m going to do my best.”

Power running is what they specialize in. When they arrive to Athens, some want to make the “thunder and lightning” comparison.

But “thunder and thunder” or even “lightning and lightning” might be more appropriate. Both are explosive and have that extra gear coaches look for. They have lower-body strength, which allows them to break tackles and punish defenders, and they have great field vision, which allows them to showcase their elusiveness.

One player who is a fan is ESPN 300 quarterback Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford), a Georgia commit and another U.S. Army All-American. Park has had a chance to get to know both Chubb and Michel in Army bowl practices, and he’s seen both running backs make big plays -- even when a play didn’t look promising.

“I’d heard about them and seen them play a couple of times on TV,” Park said, “but when you’re on the same field with them handing them ball and watching them run, it’s completely different.


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Army Bowl notebook: Dec. 31 

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
9:10
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SAN ANTONIO -- The second day of practice for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl -- on the last day of 2013 -- has come to a conclusion. Here is Tuesday’s notebook featuring some of the nation’s elite athletes:

LB Williams: Law and order equals '98 percent'


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Army Bowl notebook: Decision time 

December, 30, 2013
12/30/13
9:30
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video
SAN ANTONIO -- Day 1 is in the books for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Here is Monday’s notebook featuring some of the nation’s top players:

Elam in his element; ready to choose UK or Bama

At 6-foot-6 and more than 350 pounds, ESPN 300 defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin) is a big man, and he’s used to being the bully on the football field.

Being at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, however, has made him appreciate football at the next level. What he’s heard all his life is true: The players are bigger, faster, stronger.

Or, as he was able to see firsthand during Monday’s first day of practice, a combination of all three.


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