The 2016 U.S. Army All-American bowl is officially in the books, and once again it was a talent laden affair. Shea Patterson led the West to a 37-9 victory, throwing two touchdowns and taking home the MVP trophy. But the real story of today’s game wasn’t the results on the field, but which hats the five talented high schoolers would pick up when they announced their decision. Dylan Crawford, Ross Blaylock, Donnie Corley, Javon McKinley, and Isaac Nauta all announced their college decisions today, and Last Word on Sports has the details on where they went and what it means for their new college teams.
Five Prospects announce at 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Dylan Crawford: Wide Receiver, Santa Margarita, California, Committed to the Michigan Wolverines
Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh snagged a speed demon out of traditional California powerhouse Santa Margarita Catholic by convincing Dylan Crawford to join Michigan over offers from Oregon, Miami, and UCLA. Crawford spent just one season at Santa Margarita, transferring from St. Francis, but he made it count, teaming up with Stanford QB K.J Costello for 822 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns in just 10 games. Crawford gives the Wolverines their third receiver in the 2016 class, joining Ahmir Mitchell and Nate Johnson. While Mitchell will serve as the big bodied chain mover and Johnson will work primarily out of the slot, Crawford gives them a burner that can take the top off the defense in the mold of former Michigan receiver Steve Breaston.
Ross Blaylock: Defensive Tackle, Missouri City, Texas, Committed to the TCU Horned Frogs
Thhe Horned Frogs reeled in a big ol hoss from Texas, as the 6’4″ 315 pound Blaylock committed to TCU over offers from Texas A&M and Houston. Blaylock gives the Horned Frogs a freshman with a college ready body that can slide in and play the 3-technique in TCU’s defense from day 1. Blaylock is coming off a very impressive senior season in which he tallied 56 tackles and three sacks despite being double teamed on almost every play. TCU won his verbal commitment, but things are far from over in Blaylock’s recruitment, as the son of a Harlem Globetrotter intends to take one more visit this January to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Donnie Corley: Wide Receiver, Detroit, Michigan, Committed to the Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans just barely held on for this talented product out of Martin Luther King high school, as Ohio State, Michigan, and Tennessee all made strong pushes for Corley to join their classes. Corley deciding to stick with the Spartans gives Dantonio arguably the best player, regardless of position, in the entire mitten state. Corley’s senior year was the stuff of legend, as he caught 59 passes for 1,403 yards and 16 touchdowns while also tallying 80 tackles and 10 interceptions on defense. Corley capped off his high school career with a game winning Hail Mary touchdown catch to win the Michigan State championship. Corley, at 6’2″ with tremendous length and deceptive speed, compares favorably to former Spartan receiver Tony Lippett.
Javon McKinley: Wide Receiver, Corona, California, committed to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Of all the picks that occurred today, McKinley’s was probably the least dramatic, as Notre Dame was considered his top school throughout the cycle before the talented Centennial wide receiver made it official. McKinley chose Notre Dame over offers from Oregon and Washington, with UCLA and Tennessee both on the outside looking in. McKinley exploded onto the scene with over 2,000 receiving yards as a junior, and he followed that up with an impressive senior season in which he caught 53 passes for 1,45 yards and 12 scores. McKinley gives the Fighting Irish a receiver with a college ready body at 6’2″ 190 pounds along with the perfect receivers mentality. McKinley is arguably the most aggressive receiver in the entire recruiting cycle as he attacks the ball in the air and demonstrates tremendous body control when going up for 50/50 balls. The folks in South Bend will miss Will Fuller, but I have ahunch McKinley will make them forget about him pretty quickly.
Isaac Nauta: Tight End, Bradenton, Florida, committed to the Georgia Bulldogs
And we finish off with the biggest name to announce on Saturday, IMG Academy tight end Isaac Nauta. The 6’3″ 245 pounder was at one time a Florida State commit but backed off in order to join Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs over offers from Alabama and Michigan. In terms of high school tight end prospects, Nauta is the most college ready I’ve seen since Washington signed Austin Sefarian-Jenkins back in 2011. Nauta brings an SEC ready body and solid route running ability to the table, but what stands out the most is his blocking and overall demeanor on the field. Nauta was the best run blocker at the U.S. Army game, and that includes the members of the offensive line, as he is a road grader up front that buries defensive ends. Nauta also plays with a fiery temperament and is a natural leader on the field. The best comparison I can think of is that Nauta is a bigger and more athletic version former Florida State star tight end Nick O’Leary. Kirby Smart now has two cornerstones to build his offense around in Nauta and quarterback Jacob Eason.