This year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl featured plenty of offensive stars, but it was the West defensive unit that stole the show to lead its squad to a 24-7 victory at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Leading the way was Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) linebacker and USC recruit Chris Galippo, who earned the Pete Dawkins MVP Trophy with his outstanding play. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder, who's rated the nation's No. 1 linebacker in the Class of 2007 by RISE, tallied 11 tackles, including five solo.
The West offensive and defensive lines controlled the point of attack the entire game, allowing for plenty of passing lanes for quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen of Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Ryan Mallett of Texas (Texarkana, Texas) and plenty of headaches for the East offense.
The West, which held the East to only 57 total yards all game and zero first downs in the first half, was bidding for the first shutout in the history of the All-American Bowl, but Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) quarterback Willy Korn found Hillside (Durham, N.C.) wide receiver Greg Little on a 28-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth to end that bid.
Meanwhile, the West also had its way offensively. Mallett, who has committed to Michigan, completed 6-for-9 passes for 91 yards and tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Hempstead (Hempstead, Texas) wide receiver Terrence Toliver in the third quarter. Mallett added a two-point conversion pass.
Clausen, who was presented with the U.S. Army Player of the Year Award during the game, was 6 of 12 for 43 yards and one interception, which came off a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half. Clausen, who has committed to Notre Dame and is rated by RISE as the nation's No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2007, looked crisp and his numbers would have been better had it not been for a few dropped passes.
Other stars for the West included: John Curtis (River Ridge, La.) running back Joe McKnight, who had a 2-yard touchdown run; Agua Fria (Avondale, Ariz.) defensive end Everson Griffen, who had a sack and a fumble recovery and was regularly in the East backfield; Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) kicker David Green, who booted three field goals; and Gilmer (Gilmer, Texas) corner Curtis Brown, who picked off a pass.
On the other hand, there were few bright spots for the East. After Mallett's touchdown pass in the third, North Fort Myers (North Fort Myers, Fla.) running back Noel Devine showed off his explosive ability by returning the ensuing kickoff 76 yards. However, the East failed to capitalize.
Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio) safety Eugene Clifford tallied two interceptions for the East.
Tennessee and LSU were also big winners as the Vols and Tigers each received two commitments from U.S. Army All-American selections today. La Salle (Cincinnati, Ohio) defensive lineman Ben Martin and Huntingdon (Huntingdon, Tenn.) linebacker Chris Donald each pledged to Tennessee, while West Monroe (West Monroe, La.) defensive lineman Luther Davis and Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.) defensive lineman Joseph Barksdale picked LSU.
Another huge winner was Rutgers, who secured a pledge from Piscataway (Piscataway, N.J.) offensive lineman Anthony Davis over Ohio State. Davis is rated the nation's No. 14 overall recruit in the Class of 2007 by RISE. The fact that Rutgers can now get recruits like that over a national power such as Ohio State shows how far that program has come.
Here are six other players who committed during today's game:
Chris Little Twiggs County (Jeffersonville, Ga.) OL, 6-5, 320 Committed to Florida State
Matt Romine Union (Tulsa, Okla.) OL, 6-6, 270 Committed to Notre Dame
Lorenzo Edwards Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.) LB, 6-2, 219 Committed to Florida
John Clay Park (Racine, Wis.) RB, 6-2, 220 Committed to Wisconsin
Michael Williams St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) DB, 5-10, 187 Committed to Michigan
Simi Fili Cottonwood (Salt Lake City, Utah) DL, 6-4, 315 Committed to Oregon
It's always tough to gauge who plays well in an all-star game, but here are three who shined:
Chris Galippo: Proved why he's considered the nation's top linebacker with an outstanding all-around game. Yet another dynamic athlete who has committed to USC.
Ryan Mallett: Showcased his unreal arm, which is the strongest among the 2007 quarterbacks. Also proved he can move a little outside of the pocket. Michigan is going to love this kid.
Everson Griffen: Nearly unblockable, the USC recruit blew past a double team to earn a sack and highlighted a tremendous effort by the West d-line.