Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

High schools: Under Armour All-America Game gathers many of football's best at Tropicana Field

Tampa Catholic offensive lineman Chaz Green, in center dragging down Jesuit back Robby Garcia while playing defense, has not decided on a college. His finalists include the Gators, Vols, Trojans and Buckeyes.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Tampa Catholic offensive lineman Chaz Green, in center dragging down Jesuit back Robby Garcia while playing defense, has not decided on a college. His finalists include the Gators, Vols, Trojans and Buckeyes.

TAMPA

Some of the best high school football recruits in the nation will converge on Tropicana Field for today's Under Armour All-America Game. The event, which rivals the long-established U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, is just three years old, but it has big-money backing and a national TV audience from co-organizer ESPN. It includes alumni such as Matt Barkley (Southern Cal) and Julio Jones (Alabama). But truth be told, if not for a scheduling conflict with the Capital One Bowl at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, the game would likely not be played here. Regardless, it will be the one of the best gatherings of high school football talent the Tampa Bay area has seen. Of the 89 players participating, 60 are ranked among ESPN's Top 150 in the nation. To get you ready for the game, some things you need to know:

The local star

Tampa Catholic tackle Chaz Green, a Palm Harbor resident, is one of the top offensive line prospects to come out of the area. At 6 feet 5, 290 pounds, Green is a dominating presence with the rare package of overwhelming size, quick feet and a strong base. As a run blocker, he can push a defensive lineman with ease. He's ranked as the third-best offensive tackle prospect in the nation by ESPNU. Rivals.com rates him the ninth-best overall prospect in the state. He's uncommitted, but his finalists include Tennessee, Florida, Southern Cal and Ohio State. Gulf tight end/defensive tackle Leon Orr, a Florida commitment, was invited to play but is out as he recovers from a broken leg.

A familiar name

Nick Montana could have followed the footsteps of his father, former NFL star Joe Montana, and committed to Notre Dame, but the younger Montana clearly wanted to create his own legacy and committed to Washington. Nick Montana, ranked the No. 10 senior quarterback recruit by ESPNU, is used to the attention. On his Oaks Christian School team in Westlake Village, Calif., he shares the sideline with receiver Trey Smith, son of actor Will Smith, and quarterback Trevor Gretzky, son of former hockey star Wayne Gretzky, earning the high school the nickname "Hollywood High." This season, the 6-2, 180-pound Montana threw for 2,634 yards and 34 touchdowns.

The long and short of it

The two smallest players on either roster were high school teammates on one of the nation's best secondaries. Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas cornerbacks Lamarcus Joyner and Cody Riggs are each 5-8, but they boast superior speed and man coverage skills. Joyner, ranked as the top cornerback recruit in the nation by ESPNU, has committed to Florida State, and Riggs, the seventh-best recruit at the position, has pledged to Florida.

The tallest All-American stands out on his own. Six-foot-8, 250-pound defensive end Bronson Kaufusi of Provo, Utah, committed to Brigham Young more than two years ago. He projects to be a defensive end in college, and he has uncharacteristic speed (4.7-second 40-yard dash) for his size, but with his footwork and strength, he could fill out to be an offensive tackle. He might not play after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in early September. Also, 6-7, 225-pound defensive end Adrian Hubbard of Norcross, Ga., recently committed to Alabama. Hubbard was a football late bloomer. He didn't play as a junior to concentrate on basketball. He might be able to play hoops at Alabama.

The freak

Bradenton Southeast safety Jonathan Dowling is 6-3, 180 pounds. Long and lean, he's a wide receiver's worst nightmare. With long legs and long arms, he craves the opportunity to outrun and outjump an opponent and is a roamer who has great instincts when the ball is in the air. Dowling chose Florida over Miami, FSU and USF.

The coveted

Ohio outside linebacker Jordan Hicks ranked No. 2 overall in this year's ESPNU Top 150. He was named the Ohio state Gatorade player of the year and this year's high school Butkus Award winner, given to the nation's best linebacker. He's also the top-ranked player in this game still uncommitted. Every pressing whim for the 6-2, 210-pounder from Lakota West High has filled Internet message boards. He made official visits to Ohio State and Texas. He was scheduled to make a third to Southern Cal but decided against it, then made his third and final visit to Florida. The Gators put UF commitment and Venice quarterback Trey Burton in Hicks' ear during his official visit last month, the Gainesville Sun reported. There is so much interest in Hicks' recruitment that he holds a weekly teleconference to discuss it.

. Today

Under Armour

All-America Game

When: 11 a.m.

Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV: ESPN

The skinny: This is the third year of the game, which is one of the nation's top showcases for high school senior recruits. Organized jointly by ESPN and Intersport, the game will feature 89 of the nation's top seniors. Rapper Young Jeezy will perform at halftime. A handful of players, including Pahokee receiver Chris Dunkley and Orlando Dr. Phillips receiver Kenny Shaw, will announce their college decisions during the game. Former Bucs coach Sam Wyche and former Colts and Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda will serve as head coaches.

Tickets: $10, available at www.ticketmaster.com

High schools: Under Armour All-America Game gathers many of football's best at Tropicana Field 01/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 1, 2010 8:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nikita Kucherov in a wide-ranging Q&A

    Blogs

    While Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has a tendency to be quiet around the media, he's a Russian with a variety of interests and a passionate hockey mind.

    Nikita Kucherov recently did a Q&A with Russia's Sovsport.ru, in which he addressed an array of topics.
  2. Steven Souza's two passions collide in charity fantasy football event

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Steven Souza knows a thing or two about football.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 23, 2017.
  3. Vibe is good around Clearwater volleyball this season

    Volleyball Preps

    CLEARWATER — Katy Rice knows what a good volleyball team looks like, and the Clearwater coach believes she has a pretty good one this year. Rice was a left-side hitter on the only two teams to win a volleyball state championship at Clearwater, in 1997 and 2000.

    Clearwater High School girl's volleyball player Hailey Bosetti (OPP) plays the ball during team practice on Monday (8/14/17) at the school in Clearwater.
  4. Jameis Winston's subtle but strong moment of leadership displayed on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    Quarterback Jameis Winston went to each teammate in the locker room prior to the Bucs' preseason opener Friday at Cincinnati with one message: "I got your back."

    Then he proved it.

    Jameis Winston sarcastically tells offensive linemen James Stone and James Harrison he's glad glad they're having fun while quarterback Ryan Griffin is being attended to in the locker room by the Bucs medical staff. [HBO/NFL FILMS]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Highlights — and fights — from Jacksonville

    Bucs

    Greg Auman is back home after two days of joint practices between the Bucs and Jaguars in Jacksonville. He recaps those practices — and fights — and talks about highlights from Tuesday's episode …

    Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Kenneth Walker, right, cannot snag a pass against Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith during a joint NFL football practice Monday in Jacksonville. [Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union]