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December 30, 2007• More All-star games coverage | U.S. Army All-American Bowl Coverage
All of the high school football state champions have been crowned. All the pads have been thrown back in the equipment room to collect dust until spring. The players are now icing their wounds, getting back to work in the weight room or moving on to a different sport.
All except for the elite.
Some of the best high school football players in the country are still playing in all-star games, and one of those is taking place this week in Orlando, Fla.
Eighty of the best football prospects in the nation will be converging on the Disney Sports Complex to compete in the Under Armour All-Star Game. Prospects will be put through two-a-day practices for five days before facing off in the game on Saturday afternoon.
The Under Armour All-Star Game consists of two teams: Team Click-Clack, dressed in silver, and Team Undeniable - which will wear red. While the teams consist of highly touted prospects from around the country, there will be no regional bragging rights on the line. The teams were structured to create the best matchups, rather than by geographical lines.
The game features Rivals.com's top two wide receivers in the 2008 class. Julio Jones of Foley, Ala., will be suiting up for Team Undeniable, while Team Click-Clack will have to settle for the human highlight reel that is A.J. Green.
Green and Jones should not have any trouble getting the ball. Green will be catching passes from the top pro-style quarterback in the nation, five-star standout E.J. Manuel. Jones will be tracking the ball out of the hand of four-star prospect Mike Glennon, the strong-armed N.C. State commit out of Virginia.
Green will be joined by a deep group of speedy receiver prospects. The group includes D.J. Grant out of Austin, Texas, Aldarius Johnson out of Miami (Fla.) Northwestern, four-star Deion Walker and Rayville, La., speedster Chris Tolliver. The tight ends can catch the ball, too. USC commit Blake Ayles and Georgia commit Dwayne Allen will split time.
It's good that Team Click-Clack has such a dynamic receiving corps, because by the looks of the Team Undeniable defensive line, running the ball may be a challenge. The nation's No. 3 and No. 4 defensive tackles - Jarvis Humphrey and Omar Hunter, respectively - will be anchoring the inside.
On the edge, the red team is nothing if not athletic. Courtney Upshaw looked great at tight end in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic just two weeks ago, as did Jerrell Harris at linebacker. Now the two will be bookends on a loaded defensive line.
Team Undeniable's receiving group includes Southlake (Texas) Carroll teammates Blake Cantu and Riley Dodge. Its secondary features Tucker, Ga., secondary mates Neiko Lipscomb and Notre Dame commit Jamoris Slaughter. The linebacking corps also features a couple of future teammates: Miami commits Ramon Buchanan and Sean Spence are on the same side in Orlando.
In the trenches, both squads will have some big bodies. Team Undeniable boasts five-star Alabama commit Tyler Love at tackle and USC commit Khaled Holmes on the inside. Those two alone stabilize any offensive line, but include Matt Meyer of Stockton, Calif., and Dann O'Neill of Grand Haven, Mich., and suddenly the group becomes downright scary.
On the other sideline, Notre Dame commit Braxston Cave will be handling the ball at center, and he'll be flanked by Max Tuioti-Mariner at guard and four-star Antoine McClain at tackle.
Team Click-Clack will also be strong in the secondary. Cornerback Brandon Harris leads a group that includes the nation's No. 9 safety prospect - Spencer Adams - and the No. 5 safety in Auburn commit Dee Finley.
With teams as stacked as they are in Orlando, it is hard to find a potential sleeper in the bunch. However, there will be an opportunity for a few players to make a name for themselves. Martin Bayless, an uncommitted wide receiver prospect out of Fresno, Texas, may not be uncommitted for long.
The same can be said for Fresno, Calif., safety Stanley Yarbrough. Some impressive work at practice against Rivals100 talent can put the senior in good company.
All of these players have come to Orlando with high school careers that set them apart from crowd. This week they will have the opportunity to set themselves apart, not from the crowd, but from the elite.
• More All-star games coverage | U.S. Army All-American Bowl Coverage
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