ORLANDO, Fla. — The Under Armour All-America Game is one of the premiere collections of college football recruiting talent in the nation. 2018 is the 11th edition of the game, and SB Nation is on hand providing live recruiting updates.
Former alumni of the game include Julio Jones, Jadeveon Clowney, Jameis Winston, A.J. Green, and Myles Garrett. former players have gone on to be drafted.
The coaching staffs are headlined by former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci (Team Spotlight) and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders (Team Highlight). The 2018 Under Armour All-America Game will be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, Jan. 4, at 6 p.m. ET live on ESPN2. — Under Armour Media Guide.
Of the 108 players selected, 22 are uncommitted, 12 are committed but unsigned, and 74 are signed.
The five-stars of this year’s event include QB Justin Fields, Georgia signee; DE Eyabi Anoma, Alabama signee; DE K.J. Henry, Clemson signee; WR Terrace Marshall, LSU signee; WR Justin Shorter, Penn State signee; S BJ Foster, Texas signee; WR Devon Williams, predicted to Oregon; DE Brenton Cox, Georgia signee; and RB Ricky Slade, Penn State signee.
Live updates from Check-In
Players are coming by the media room in groups at the Orlando World Center Marriott, and I’ll be dropping notes about them here.
- Penn State RB signee Ricky Slade predicts that superstar defensive end recruits Tyreke Smith and Jayson Oweh are both going to end up at Penn State. He said that for him, signing early instead of waiting for the traditional National Signing Day was the right call because he knew where he wanted to go.
- Virginia DB commit D.J. Brown, of Crownsville (MD) says that he is still committed, but is interested in his new offers from Cal and Duke. He’d also like to hear from Northwestern. Brown said he did not get to take visits during the season, so for him, waiting to sign was the right call.
- Offensive tackle Joshua Jefferson, of Washington D.C., says that schools were slow to recruit him because of his grades. Jefferson reports that he is doing better in the classroom, and that N.C. State, and Virginia Tech, Rutgers, and Maryland are showing some interest. They have yet to offer, however, and Jefferson won’t rule out the possibility of going to a prep or junior college if he doesn’t get the situation he wants.
- Ft. Lauderdale defensive end Nick Bonitto said that multiple schools tried to pressure him into signing early, but that all have spots remaining for him. Bonnito will be deciding Thursday during the game between Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisville, and claims that he is done with his recruiting process, despite recent interest from the Gators. Other prospects like Louisville signee Chandler Jones believe Bonnito has actually already signed with Oklahoma during the Early Signing Period, and is simply waiting to announce his commitment.
- Texas A&M receiver commit Jalen Preston, of Manvel (TX) said that he is about “80%” committed to the Aggies. Preston was initially disappointed that A&M fired Kevin Sumlin, but is encouraged that Jimbo Fisher is one of four coaches to have a national championship. Preston plans to officially visit the Aggies, and is also considering official visits to Arkansas and Florida. Florida QB signee Emory Jones has been recruiting Preston to the Gators.
- South Carolina LB signee Rosendo Louis, of Deerfield Beach said that the coaching staff stability and relationships were the primary factors in flipping his commitment from Florida State to the Gamecocks. FSU had yet to hire a defensive coordinator as of the early signing period, and his best relationship was with Gamecocks defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson.
- Ft. Lauderdale speedster Anthony Schwartz is committing during the game as well, between Auburn and Florida. Auburn is expected to be the pick for the receiver, but unlike Bonitto (above), Schwartz is still expected to take visits after the process.
- Florida State OL commit Christian Meadows, of Montezuma (Ga.), says that he is still committed to Florida State, and that the Seminoles will get his final official visit. But he has some changes in his plans for other official visits. Instead of visiting Auburn and Florida, Meadows now thinks he might visit Louisville and UCF. The planned visit to Miami on Jan. 27 is still on, with FSU on Feb. 3. Meadows is eager to meet whomever FSU hires as an offensive line coach.
- Elite Phenix City (Ala.) receiver Justyn Ross is maintaining his top three of Alabama, Auburn, and Clemson, in no order. Ross’ mom still likes Clemson, while his grandmother prefers Alabama. His planned visits to Alabama and Auburn are still on, and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to make a return visit to see Clemson again. On what Alabama and Auburn have done to draw even with Clemson, who was believed to be his longtime leader, Ross said “establish greater relationships.” I like Alabama’s chances to sign Ross.
Alabama, Auburn, or Clemson for elite WR Justyn Ross
Elite WR recruit Justyn Ross of Phenix City (Ala.) says that Alabama Football has pulled even with Clemson Football and Auburn Football. He'll visit both Alabama schools before making his final decision. His mom wants him at Clemson, while his grandmother wants him in Tuscaloosa.Posted by SB Nation College Football on Sunday, December 31, 2017
- Florida QB signee Emory Jones said that his relationship with coaches Dan Mullen and Brian Johnson, and the opportunity to play early with the Gators is what put UF over the top for the Heard County (Ga.) star. Mullen was the first coach to offer Jones, back when he was at Mississippi State.
- I fully expect Pennsylvania defensive end Jayson Oweh to pick Penn State over Ohio State when he announces on TV Thursday. Oweh is one of the most talented players in the class, and understands that he is new to the game of football, and is just scratching the surface of his potential.
- Joshua Moore, a four-star receiver commit from Yoakum, Texas, says that after decommitting from Nebraska, he is officially done with the Cornhuskers. Moore has two official visits locked in: Oregon on Jan. 26, and Florida State on Jan. 19. Two other visits are up in the air, and include potentially Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Cal. Moore’s brother Jordan is committed to Texas A&M, and Jimbo Fisher recruited Moore heavily while at Florida State, so I believe the Aggies will have a strong chance to land one of the final visits.
- JaMarr Chase, an elite receiver from Metairie (La.), says that after decommitting from the Gators, he knows that LSU, Michigan, and ... Auburn will have hats on the table. Chase expressed doubt that TCU would be in the running, and also was noncommittal on Florida getting back in the mix. LSU and Auburn will be getting Chase’s final visits.
- Expect Pensacola (Fla.) four-star receiver Jacob Copeland’s recruitment to come down to Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama. The Tennessee hire of Jeremy Pruitt resonated with Copeland, but he has a relationship with Florida WR coach Billy Gonzales. I still think Florida is the best bet for Copeland.
- Tampa five-star tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere is a prospect to watch. He has already officially visited Notre Dame and Michigan. He has a strong connection with Ohio State coach Greg Schiano, so the Buckeyes are likely to get a visit. Florida and Auburn are also pushing for visits. But also watch out for Florida State. Willie Taggart visited Petit-Frere upon being hired, and Michigan offensive line coach Greg Frey, an FSU alum, is one of the leading candidates for the same position in Tallahassee. Petit-Frere said that a Frey move to FSU would change up his recruitment.
- Four-star Florida receiver Justin Watkins plans to announce his commitment during the game Thursday. He said that he is own to LSU and Alabama, and is unlikely to take any additional visits after visiting. From February to June, Watkins was committed to Texas, but said that he felt pressured to commit on his visit, and not wanting to make a similarly rushed mistake was one reason he elected to not sign during the new Early Signing Period.
- Some great news for Tennessee late Saturday night, as Oliajah Griffin, an elite corner from Mission Viejo, decommitted from UCLA and pronounced Tennessee as his leader.
- Practice begins Sunday at 10 am from Disney’s Wide World of Sports. In the interest of keeping things friendly for mobile data, I will publish a separate piece on practice observations Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. Make sure to follow on Twitter for more instant updates @sbnrecruiting.