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January 7, 2013
Farrell: Handing out Army Week awards
SAN ANTONIO -- The U.S. Army All American Bowl is in the books with the East squad coming away with a 15-8 win over the West. Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell was in San Antonio all week checking out practices, meeting with players and, of course, breaking down the game itself. Here are the Farrell Awards from the week …
Lightning in a Bottle
Taquan Mizzell, RB, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
This award goes to the most dynamic and exciting player, the guy who gets everyone's attention when he gets the ball. While there were a few players like that during the week, Mizzell created instant excitement when he touched the football. Although he's a running back, he worked out all week as a wide receiver and was dangerous not only in the flat but downfield as well. And just when it looked like he was going to be shut out in the game itself, he popped off a huge 72-yard kickoff return that led to the winning score.
Honorable Mention: Chris Hawkins from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. and Tre'Davious White from Shreveport (La.) Green Oaks are both defensive players, but it didn't matter. Both were electric when they touched the ball. White came close to breaking a long return in the game, and Hawkins had a 51-yarder that he almost took to the house. Thomas Tyner from Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha was very dynamic in practice, although he didn't get many touches in the game.
A'Shawn Robinson, Fort Worth (Texas) Arlington Heights
This award is given to the best-looking prospect on the hoof, the guy who looks like he could play in college or even the NFL right now. There is little doubt that Robinson is one of the most physically impressive players we've seen all year, and his Kimbo Slice beard simply added to the intimidation.
Honorable Mention: Derrick Green from Richmond (Va.) Hermitage could easily be mistaken for an NFL running back right now with his size, defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow, Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy, is right up there with Robinson when it comes to physical size, and Matthews (N.C.) Butler linebacker Peter Kalambayi has an NFL build already.
Frank Herron, Memphis (Tenn.) Central
This goes to the player who raised his stock the most, and Herron is that guy. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds coming in, Herron looked every bit of 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds and moved like a smaller prospect. He's raw, but his athleticism and physical ability will allow him to make a big jump.
Honorable Mention: Eddie Vanderdoes from Placer, Calif., and Hawkins also impressed on the West squad. Vanderdoes has been pushing for that fifth star, and his play in the game was outstanding. Hawkins has been overshadowed by some bigger-name cornerbacks all year, but he was as good as anyone all week.
Greg Webb, Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek
This award is not one that you want; it's for the player whose stock dropped the most from the Army Bowl week. This is a tough call, and it's always hard to talk about one or two players who didn't impress in a week of action, but every year there are a few guys who were simply disappointing during the week. You have to give credit to Webb for coming off an injury that pretty much took all his senior season and coming into the week at around 75 percent, but nonetheless he was out of shape and just out of place with the rest of a loaded defensive line group for the East.
Honorable Mention: Tyrone Swoopes from Whitewright, Texas, has regressed from his amazing film as a junior to this point. His accuracy was off all week as he overthrew numerous passes, and he didn't show the burst we have seen on film. The fumble in the game didn't help, but his stock was falling before that.
Greg Bryant, Delray Beach (Va.) American Heritage School
This award goes to the player with the quickest feet, and Bryant is that guy. He's a blur when he gets in space and dances with the best of them. In fact, he might try to use his amazing footwork too much, which can lead to too much dancing and indecisiveness. However, he's fun to watch when he changes direction.
Honorable Mention: Mizzell and White both have amazing feet as well and showed them mostly in practice all week, and running back Justin Davis from Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln impressed with his slashing ability and balance.
Tahaan Goodman, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
This one goes to the biggest hitter, which is essentially the guy who laid the lumber in the game because there was not much tackling to the ground in practice. This might as well be renamed Hard Shoulder this year because that's how Goodman laid the lumber, but it was effective.
Honorable Mention: Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep was physical from the first drill of the first practice, while Bigelow also knocked people around.
Wyatt Teller, Liberty (Va.) Bealton
What's the difference between Hard Hat and Lunch Pail? The Hard Hat Award is for the biggest hitter, while the Lunch Pail Award is for the guy who does the dirty work that doesn't get into the boxscore or noticed by many. Teller is one of many players who had a great week in practice, was solid in the game playing his role but was overshadowed a bit.
Honorable Mention: West linebacker Josh Banderas from Lincoln (Neb.) Lincoln Southwest did a lot of little things well and was solid on special teams, offensive lineman Brendan Mahon from Randolph, N.J. volunteered to play center and worked endlessly at it all week, and defensive end Garrett Sickels from Little Silver (N.J.) Red Bank Regional somehow didn't make the boxscore at all but was held quite a bit and essentially tackled on one play on which he flushed the quarterback to others for a sack.
James Quick, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity
This award sounds like it's for a defender who hits, but it's really for a receiver with the best hands during the week. Quick was that guy. Not only did he hold onto the game-winning touchdown catch, but he pretty much caught everything all week in practice.
Honorable Mention: Kendall Fuller from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel had the play of the week with a one-handed interception and showed excellent ball skills all week, Tony Stevens from Orlando (Fla.) Evans was consistent catching the ball, and tight end DeSean Smith from Lake Charles (La.) Barbe dropped one pass all week that we saw. He was impressive.
Poise under Pressure
Max Browne, Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline
This is essentially for the best quarterback who performs when the lights come on and there is actually a live pass rush coming at him. This is a close battle between Browne and our honorable mention quarterback, but there was much more pressure on Browne coming from that impressive East defensive line all game. His fade pass to Derrick Griffin was a thing of beauty, and moving the pocket well for the two-point conversion showed his smarts. Had it not been for Mizzell's big return and a blown coverage by the West, Browne would have likely been the one who led the game-winning drive.
Honorable Mention: Jeremy Johnson from Montgomery (Ala.) Carver threw the game-winning touchdown pass while keeping the play alive, and he showed his ability to move around and make things happen despite being a pocket passer.
Who showed off the best athleticism of anyone else? That's who wins this award, and the winner is Jaylon Smith out of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers, who was all over the field. He was credited with four tackles, including one for a loss, and he blocked a field goal, but it just seemed like he did even more. During one stretch prior to the field goal block, he was in on almost every play and showed his ability to come up in run support as well as cover downfield and work in space.
Honorable Mention: Hawkins showed off his athletic ability as did White, Mackensie Alexander from Immokalee Fla., Mizzell and many others.
Kendall Fuller, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel This is for the player who provided the best coverage on defense during the week, and there is no tougher decision to make here with so many amazing defensive backs in San Antonio. Fuller had the only two credited pass breakups in the game, the best interception of the week and he was simply very consistent in coverage overall.
Honorable Mention: Jalen Ramsey from Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy was step-for-step with Fuller all week and loses out only because he gave up a score to a 6-foot-7 receiver. Hawkins, White and Alexander were impressive throughout, and these four separated themselves from the group.
Taquan Mizzell, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
This goes to the player who stood out despite playing a position he is not likely to play at the college level. Mizzell is the easy choice here because he will be a running back at Virginia but showed his versatility and that he can hang with almost every receiver in the nation with his ball skills.
Honorable Mention: Mahon will likely be a guard in college but played well at center, Sickels certainly won't be a defensive tackle at the next level but was excellent on the inside and Jake Raulerson from Celina, Texas, will probably be a defensive end in college but did an admirable job at center.
War Room Favorite
Mackensie Alexander, Immokalee, Fla.
This award is for the guy who likes to visit the analysts, editors, videographers and team site publishers in the War Room during the week and hits it off with everyone. It wasn't as inquisitive a group as we've had in years past, but Alexander poked his head in a few times and watched some film and always had something interesting to say as he walked by.
Honorable Mention: Green came in to break down his practice film after yet another nightly workout despite a full day of practice. He never stops working.