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January 4, 2011
Army to unveil 2012 stars
MORE ARMY BOWL: Complete coverage
SAN ANTONIO - Saturday will be a big day when it comes to the class of 2011, with double-digit prospects making their school declarations and the best of the best from the recruiting class strutting their stuff on the field at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
However, it will also be a big day for a few top prospects from the class of 2012 as they are announced as members of next year's Army All-American Bowl, led by Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian athlete Travis Blanks.
The focus for NBC viewers Saturday will be the game itself. The 11th annual Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio's Alamodome features the elite prospects each year, and has included stars such as Adrian Peterson, Reggie Bush, Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow and Terrelle Pryor in past years.
But the sidelines hold plenty of action as well.
As many as 14 prospects (or more) could be announcing their college decisions on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. EST. Expected to announce are Rivals100 standouts Ishaq Williams from New York, Odell Beckham Jr. from Louisiana, Kris Frost from North Carolina, Gerod Holliman from Florida, Colt Lyerla from Oregon and Damian Swann from Georgia.
Others expected to make their announcements include athlete Harvey Langi from Utah, Wayne Lyons from Florida, Viliami Moala and James Sample from California, Delvon Simmons from Pennsylvania, Tobias Singleton from Mississippi, Donovan Smith from Maryland and Lateek Townsend from South Carolina.
In addition to the 2011 prospects that will be playing in the game and declaring on the sidelines, there will be more than 10 prospects named from the class of 2012 to play in next year's game. Blanks, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, is one of them. The Florida star has offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina and others, and could be a star on offense or defense in college. Blanks hails from the same school as former Army All-American Ernie Sims, who was the top player in the country in 2003.
Another Florida prospect set to be announced for the 2012 team is Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles offensive tackle John Theus, who also has an impressive offer list that includes Florida, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas, Clemson and others.
Joining Blanks and Theus on the East squad next year will be Olney (Md.) Good Counsel athlete Stefon Diggs, Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt defensive end Noah Spence, Oxford (Ala.) linebacker Kwon Alexander and Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek offensive lineman D.J. Humphries.
Diggs, a 6-foot, 175-pounder, is one of the most dynamic prospects on the East Coast and already holds offers from Maryland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and others while Goldman has drawn comparisons with former D.C. five-star Marvin Austin for his athleticism. The 6-foot-4, 307-pounder has offers from more than 30 programs already and his list continues to grow.
Spence, who hails from the same school as former Army selection LeSean McCoy, is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound terror off the edge. He had more than 20 sacks as a junior and boasts offers from Penn State, Pitt, Notre Dame, USC, Tennessee, Iowa and many others. Alexander, a 6-foot-2, 212-pounder, already has offers from Alabama and Auburn as well as Florida, Florida State, Clemson, LSU, Arkansas, Nebraska and many others.
Finally, Humphries is considered to be the best offensive lineman in North Carolina since 2010 Army representative Robert Crisp and the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has early in-state offers from North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest as well as out-of-state tenders from LSU, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and others.
The West will also be well represented. Aldeo (Texas) superstar Johnathan Gray, a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder who is emerging as one of the top backs in the country, is already on board for the West squad. Gray already has offers from Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU and others, and will certainly be a top target of Texas and Oklahoma.
Blocking up front for Gray will be two of the nation's top offensive linemen in Zach Banner and Jordan Simmons. Banner, a 6-foot-9, 310-pounder from Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes already has offers from nearly every school in the Pac-10 as well as Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State and others. Simmons, a 6-foot-5, 295-pounder from Encino (Calif.) Crespi has some nice offers as well as USC, UCLA, Washington, Florida and many others have offered.
And rounding out the list is a prospect that could play on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove defensive tackle/offensive tackle Arik Armstead, an early USC commitment, chose the Trojans over offers from California, UCLA, Washington Notre Dame, Alabama and others.
In addition to these 10 prospects, others could also be announced at the game on the NBC telecast as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl continues to select and recruit the top players in the country for more than a decade now.