Quarterback Terrelle Pryor earned the Pete Dawkins Trophy recognizing the All-American Bowl Most Valuable Player Saturday after leading the East to a 33-23 win over the West in the annual game showcasing the nation’s top high school football players.
The game also feature eight Ohio State recruits and Matt Natali has more on Pryor's performace as well as how the future Buckeyes fared
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Fittingly, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was named the 2008 U.S. Army Player of the Year Friday, earned the Pete Dawkins Trophy recognizing the All-American Bowl Most Valuable Player Saturday after leading the East to a 33-23 win over the West in the annual game showcasing the nation’s top high school football players.
Pryor had 10 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown while connecting on 4-of-6 pass attempts for 76 yards and a touchdown at the Alamodome in front of a All-American Bowl game record 36,534 fans.
“It is a great honor and a prestigious award,” Pryor said in regard to earning the Dawkins Trophy. “It is good taking it back to my town Jeanette in Pennsylvania. I didn’t expect to win the MVP. Any one of us could have come out here and won it. That is how good these kids are.”
The East outgained the West in total offensive yards 405-242, respectively, and tallied a whopping 221 yards rushing to a dismal 30 from the West.
Ohio State recruit Lamaar Thomas was the second leading rusher for the East behind Pryor with 63 yards on six carries, including a long of 35 yards in the first quarter during an East scoring drive.
“I had a couple of big runs but all the credit goes to the offensive linemen. They opened the holes and all I had to do was find them,” Thomas, an East team co-captain said. “We made some plays on defense and got the win.”
Thomas admitted being nervous before the game playing on such a large stage but soon settled in once he took the field.
“It was the first game I have ever played on national T.V. in this big arena, so I had some butterflies,” he said. “But once I got the big run, it all went away. I got into a pretty good rhythm.”
The East team got on the board first on its first possession of the game midway through the opening quarter. Appropriately enough, Pryor opened up the scoring taking the keeper to the corner of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown run capping off a seven play, 92-yard drive.
The drive included a 22-yard Pryor run and a 46-yard connection from Pryor to tailback Ryan Williams out of the backfield.
The West gained good field position late in the first quarter getting the ball on the East 25 following a Nolan Brewster interception off a Star Jackson tipped pass.
West quarterback Andrew Luck hooked up with Dan Buckner for a 9-yard touchdown strike knotting the game 7-7 following the point after.
The East answered, though, stretching the lead to 14-7 on the first play of the second quarter with Jackson finding Jonathan Baldwin deep for a 46-yard scoring pass.
Justin Sorensen narrowed the East lead to 14-10 on a 21-yard field goal with 4:59 left in the half but the East took a 20-10 lead into the locker room after quarterback MarQueis Gray connected with DeAndre Brown for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
The West scored on its first possession of the second half as quarterback Dayne Crist aired out a 56-yard touchdown to Michael Floyd cutting the East lead to 20-17.
But that was as close as the West would get to catching it the East.
Pryor tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass rolling out of the pocket to John Goodman on the ensuing possession to go up 26-17 after the failed point after.
Quarterback MarQueis Gray added an 11-yard touchdown run putting a bow on a nine play, 62-yard scoring drive that chewed 4:12 off the game clock.
The West added a touchdown late in the game with Luck tossing his second touchdown pass of the Bowl hitting Floyd from 38 yards. The two-point conversion failed and the East knelt on the 33-22 win on the Bowl’s final possession.
Gray tallied 45 yards rushing on six carries and the late touchdown.
Crist, a Notre Dame recruit, paced the West with 113 yards on 5-of-12 passing and a touchdown.
“Normally in high school, you are game-planning against one or two players, but this week there was no drop off between first string, second string and third string. The competition and talent level was tremendous,” Crist said.
Fellow signal-caller Luck, a Stanford recruit, connected on 9-of-11 attempts for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
Floyd, who is committed to Notre Dame, reeled in four catches for 118 yards and two scores.
“There are not that many big guys in Minnesota,” Floyd said. “Speed and size were a big difference. I had to come to the ball fast and make up moves.”
But Pryor stole the show and he seemed almost destined to take home Bowl MVP honors following his senior season that included 1,790 yards and rushed for 1,901 yards totaling 3,691 yards of total offense and 60 total touchdowns.
And he was grateful for the opportunity to display his skills on the biggest high school football stage.
“I want to thank the Army,” he said. “Without (them) we might not even be playing in this game. Thank you.”
On the Shelf
Dublin Coffman kicker/punter and Ohio State recruit Ben Buchanan did not dress for the game recovering from a stress fracture injury in his left foot. He preacticed during the week but made the decision not to play before the game.
“We talked it over with my family and the coaches and decided it is an all-star game and it is just an honor to be here and I have really enjoyed myself this week,” Buchanan said. “I am one of those players that if I am going to go out there and perform I want to do it to the best of my ability. This injury is going to heal. It just needs time and I don’t want to push anything. That wouldn’t be smart for me or the Ohio State Buckeyes. Obviously, I want to have my best services ready for them.”
Buchanan did, however, suit up to take the field during player introductions.
“I asked (East head coach Robert Prunty) if I could suit up and still run out,” he said. “The coaching staff here was great and really worked with us closely. I had a lot of fun and had a good day today.”
Future Ohio State offensive lineman Michael Brewster also watched the game from the sidelines as he is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Ohio State recruit Etienne Sabino from Miami (Fla.) had three tackles in the game from his middle linebacker spot. He also started the game.
Cincinnati Elder tight end Kyle Rudolph, who earned the Maxwell award as the nation’s top tight end Thursday, played mainly a blocking role in the Bowl game registering only one catch on a screen pass for -6 yards.
Rudolph is a Notre Dame recruit.
“it was a lot of fun and I think everyone’s goal when you get down here is get the win. Everyone has individual goals but everyone’s main goal is to win,” Rudolph said. “It was great to just go out there and have fun.
Dublin Coffman wide receiver and Ohio State recruit Jake Stoneburner played tight end in the game but did not record any statistics.
The East offensive line allowed just one sack for a 5-yard loss.
Klein (Tx.) offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts was the only player on the West squad committed to Ohio State.
Following the Herman Boone Trophy presentation to the East team, Dublin Coffman offensive lineman and East captain Mike Adams with Cincinnati LaSalle wide receiver DeVier Posey chanted ‘O-H-I-O’ as they walked off the field recognizing their future careers at Ohio State.
“You better get used to hearing that,” Posey said to some of his East teammates.
Posey had one catch for six yards in the game playing from the slot receiver position, a position he does not typically play.
“It didn’t turn out how I wanted it to but anytime you win you can’t complain,” he said.
The future Ohio State players in the game sported a single Buckeye leaf on their helmets in the Bowl game. Pryor, who is currently the most sought after recruit in the country, was also sporting a Buckeye leaf.
“That was just DeVier and Mike (Brewster) messing with me,” he said.
Pryor sported the decal the entire game.
Brown’s touchdown for the East late in the second quarter left 0:07 left on the clock in the half but it was the final play before the break as both teams headed into the locker room without the West kicking off following the score.
The clock ran in the third quarter to speed up the game with the impending NFL playoffs set to air at 4:30 p.m. EST on NBC but the clock did not run in the fourth quarter as the officials stopped the time on several plays late in the game.
Making the Call
The All-American Bowl has evolved into a platform for some of the nation’s top players to announce their college commitments in front of a national audience. This year, nine players made their pledges, including running back Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech), wide receiver Covaughn DeBoskie (California), safety Brandon Smith (Michigan), quarterback MarQueis Gray (Minnesota), linebacker Shayne Hale (Pittsburgh), safety Gerrell Robinson (Arizona State), offensive lineman A.J. Harmon (Georgia), defensive lineman Solomon Koehler (Arizona) and safety Patrick Johnson (LSU).