January 8, 2011

East rallies to win All-American game

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SAN ANTONIO - James Wilder Jr. scored on a 3-yard run with 4:14 left to give the East a 13-10 victory over the West in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school all-star game Saturday.

A crowd of 37,893, a record for the All-American Bowl, attended the game at the Alamodome.

Wilder, from Tampa (Fla.) Plant, is the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back James Wilder and has committed to play next season at Florida State.

The East overcame a 10-0 deficit in the fourth quarter.

Wilder rushed for 39 yards, 26 of which came on four carries on the winning drive. He also caught a pass for 17 yards on the final scoring drive.

"In the first half we were switching off (with different running backs) every drive," Wilder said. "We wanted to get more time out there so we could catch our rhythm. That last drive I got my rhythm and things started happening for our offense with good blocks. I just did my part and ran it in."

Demetrius Hart had had eight carries for 100 yards for the East and was selected the most valuable player. Hart, from Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips, announced Saturday that he will attend Alabama. He earlier had committed to Michigan, but changed his mind when Rich Rodriguez was fired.

The East finally got on the board when Long Branch, N.J., receiver Miles Shuler broke open near the goal line and gathered in a 22-yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater (Miami (Fla.) Northwestern).

In the third quarter, Cody Kessler of Centennial High School in Bakersfield, Calif., threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Shipley to put the West up 10-0. Shipley, from Brownwood, Texas, will follow in the footsteps of brother Jordan, who played at Texas.

Auburn winning on the recruiting trail

While Auburn went through its final BCS title game practice Saturday, it got some good recruiting news from two states away.

Brent Calloway, a five-star linebacker/running back from Russellville, Ala., switched his commitment from Alabama to the Auburn during the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, Texas.

Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Calloway as the No. 2 linebacker in the country and the No. 1 player in Alabama.

But he said he switched his commitment so he can play running back at Auburn. Calloway ran for 1,968 yards and 25 touchdowns his senior season at Russellville, playing sparingly at linebacker.

"I've seen the depth at linebacker at Alabama, and it's stiff," he said during an interview with Rivals.com. "And there are guys who are twice my size, and who have played this position for so long now. So that's why I'm making a point where I say, hey, I should just go (to Auburn) and play running back."

Calloway roomed with cornerback Jonathan Rose in San Antonio. Rose, the No. 3 recruit in Alabama, committed to Auburn in August and plans to enroll early to go through spring drills.

Auburn now has 17 commitments for 2011. National Signing Day is Feb. 2.

Read more on the winners and losers on the recruiting front.

Bennett breaks arm in Bowl

When the play moved past him - but defensive lineman Michael Bennett remained on the turf, writhing in the pain - it looked pretty bad.

When the Ohio State commit from Centerville (Ohio) High was surrounded by eight members of the training staff and a cart was brought out, it looked worse.

Moments later, things looked a lot better.

Bennett was the only serious injury of Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl, likely breaking his left forearm midway through the third quarter. But after having his arm stabilized by an air cast, Bennett looked like any other high school kid while he was waiting to be lifted into an ambulance and transported to San Antonio's Methodist Hospital Emergency Room.

His biggest concern was finding his phone.

Bennett, however, is not your ordinary high school athlete. The 6-3, 275-pounder is the second-ranked defensive tackle in the country and No. 37 overall recruit. In this game, he was a key performer on the East defense, recording two tackles while getting credit for 1.5 sacks.

Bennett was hurt on a passing play that broke down. He was attempting to get to West quarterback Bubba Starling when he went down in the backfield. There, the helmet of a teammate appeared to come down on his arm.

After the initial moment, Bennett did what you would expect the son of two West Point grads to do. He regained his composure.

As he was being taken off the field, he could be seen saying: "I'm fine. It's broken. I'm cool."

Bennett, whose East team was trailing 3-0 at the time of the injury, didn't get to see his teammates rally for a 13-10 victory. But he figures to see plenty of future action on the football field.

Fortunately for him - and Ohio State fans - an injured arm should not have a long-term impact on his ability to play.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

MORE ALL-AMERICAN BOWL COVERAGE: Read the week's worth of content from San Antonio


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