Thursday, December 5, 2013
Under Armour game storylines: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
The rosters for the Under Armour All-America Game were released Wednesday night, and several Pac-12 commits and targets are scheduled to take part.
Here are the top five storylines that Pac-12 recruiting fans should be watching for during the week of practices and the game, which is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
JuJu and Jackson together
We are finally going to be able to see what happens when Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) are paired together in the same secondary. It's something several Pac-12 fan bases -- namely Oregon, UCLA or USC -- would love to see continue in the future. They have been two of Southern California's best for several years and they'll have an opportunity to prove themselves against some of the nation's best receivers.
Mahalak's opportunity to shine
One quarterback headed for the Pac-12 replaced another, as future Oregon signal-caller Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) was added to the roster in placed of Stanford-bound Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto). Mahalak now joins the Green team, and will have a chance to prove himself while competing against Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen (Edmond, Ok./Edmond Santa Fe) and Michigan commit Wilton Speight (Richmond, Vir./Collegiate School).
Future teammates set to battle
Only two Pac-12 commitments are taking part in the game, and they are both heading to Oregon. Mahalak is joined on the Green team by cornerback Arrion Springs (San Antonio, Tex./Theodore Roosevelt). While they are on the same team for the game, much of the action takes place during practice week, and it should be interesting to see the future Ducks battle it out.
Tucker's tough task
Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) will have his work cut out for him during practices, as he'll be going up against several terrific defensive ends, and he'll be doing so alongside a number of Alabama commits. Four future Crimson Tide linemen join Tucker on the Red team, so the top offensive lineman in the West region has an opportunity to make a big-time statement during the week. Tucker is focusing on Arizona State and Stanford at this point, so fans of those programs will likely take a long look at a player who could gain immediate playing time in 2014.
UCLA's big splash?
Normally it's Oregon or USC fans monitoring these games to see if they can pull in one of the nation's top prospects. But this year UCLA has the attention of a number of Under Armour All-Americans. As the Bruins look to close this class in a big way, they'll make runs at Alabama commit Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy), Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), Malachi Dupre (New Orleans/John Curtis Christian) and Michigan commit Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic), among others.