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NFL Draft: 2022 Tropical Bowl All-Star Game Recap

A slow start by the American Team had the National Team leading by double digits going into halftime, but things quickly changed following multiple second-half turnovers by the national squad.

An eventful week of weigh-ins, meetings, and practices wrapped up with the Tropical Bowl finale on Saturday night. A slow start by the American Team had the National Team leading by double digits going into halftime, but things quickly changed following multiple second-half turnovers by the national squad that would lead to a victory for the American Team. After the game, awards were handed out. Here is what the top performers had to say:

Al McKeller, Running back, Northwest Missouri State, National Team Offensive MVP

McKeller was excellent in practice all week and that paid off come game day. The National Team leaned on him throughout the game, where he was a force both in the running and passing game. He recorded a receiving touchdown and was battering the defense. When speaking with him after his award, he said: “The teamwork was just so great today. I’m so blessed to be the MVP of the offense and just hope to get a shot to show my skills.”

Joshua Lanier, Wide Receiver, Jackson State, American Team Offensive MVP

One of the fastest guys in Orlando this week, that speed finally burst through and was the momentum swing that pushed the American Team over the top. Lanier scored on a 75-yard pass play for a touchdown in the third quarter, on which most of the yards came from him dusting the secondary. When speaking with Lanier about the play that won him MVP, he said, “When we get into our three-by-one look on offense, I feel untouchable. They played man over our bunch set, and I was just too fast.”

Darion Dunn, Cornerback, Texas, American Team Defensive MVP

One of the prospects in attendance that was attached to a powerhouse program, Dunn showed solid fundamentals in practice all week, but had yet to make a splash play. That changed in the second half when he had a game-sealing pick-six. When asked about the play, Dunn stated: “They kept using their four-by-one formation, and I knew as the boundary corner he wanted the hitch route. As soon as he looked that way, I jumped it, and it was six.”

John Parker Romo, Kicker, Virginia Tech, Overall Special Teams MVP

Romo was solid in practice all week and consistently made 40-plus-yard field goals. With the American Team offense sputtering in the first half, the team needed something to get on the board, and he provided a valuable three points. When speaking with Romo about the MVP award, he said, “It’s just an honor to be able to showcase my skills, and I’m very grateful for my long snapper and holder. They deserve a ton of credit too.”

Keyshon Camp, Defensive Lineman, Pittsburgh, Overall Lineman MVP

One of the most dominant overall players during the week, Camp turned it up to another level on game day. He repeatedly hurried the quarterback and made multiple tackles for losses and added a sack. When asked about his performance, Camp said, “The game just really slowed down today. I relied on my football intelligence to decipher the pass from the run, and I was keying the plays often.”

Anthony Russo, Quarterback, Michigan State, Overall MVP

As the starting quarterback for the American Team, Russo looked confident as a passer. He was not fazed by the rush and delivered the ball within the rhythm of the offense. It was apparent he was trusting his eyes, as evident by the 75-yard score to Lanier. When speaking with Russo about the play that started the American Team’s comeback, he said, “We ran the same play on the first drive. I missed Lanier, and he told me if we run that again, it’s six. Well we did, and it was.”

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Overall, the week was important for the players participating in the Spiral Tropical Bowl. The prospects were able to show their body types, football acumen and playmaking ability in front of a litany of scouts, coaches and agents. The coaches raved about how much fun it was to coach everyone and how enjoyable the players were. The players bonded over football and made lasting friendships while getting their name in front of the people they sought to impress. An exciting week wrapped up with a thriller game on Saturday night and left many involved feeling fulfilled.

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