Bowl Game Puts Spotlight on Signing Day

Prep Spotlight Sports
John Ross made his commitment to the University of Washington during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman
John Ross made his commitment to the University of Washington during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman

CARSON, CA-If an interested college football observer ever wanted a clue to where some of the biggest name talent in high school football might be headed after their prep career has concluded, it would be a wise idea to follow the names on the back of the jerseys at the annual Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl played at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Some of the highest-rated high school football players in the country play in this game. The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, a game sponsored by the U.S. Marines, is virtually a “Who’s Who” in regards to prep football talent. And many of the players playing in the yearly bowl game could very well be the future Saturday stars that football fans might see on Sundays as well.

Running back Alex Collins (verbal commitment to Arkansas) the seventh-rated running back in the country, according to ESPN’s top 150 national rankings, took part in the game. David Williams (South Carolina), the nation’s 13th highest running back, announced during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl that he would be playing for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks.

Levonte Whitfield (Florida State), the seventh highest-ranked athlete, Jeremy Cutrer (18th best safety) and John Ross (University of Washington) from Long Beach David Star Jordan High School, considered to be the 54th overall top athlete in the country, were just few of the many of best high school football players to give a sneak preview of what is in store for college football fans,

David Williams is rated as the 13th best running back in the country, according to ESPN's top 150 list. Williams is headed to South Carolina. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman
David Williams is rated as the 13th best running back in the country, according to ESPN’s top 150 list. Williams is headed to South Carolina. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman

With National Letter of Intent signing day (usually the first week of February), becoming such a nationwide phenomenon, many of these elite athletes make early verbal commitments, allowing a smooth transition for them to put their signature on the dotted line. The first day for some high school athletes to officially sign their name on their National Letter of Intent came with a whirlwind of teenagers across the country solidifying their commitment to the school they have chosen to attend for the next four years.

For many of the players participating in last month’s Semper Fidelis All-American Bow, the signing day was a mere formality, a conclusion to lessen the drama of telling people and the media where they are going to college. Quite a few of players had already made up their minds where they were going to go when they engaged in a weeklong excursion of activities that preceded the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl game.

That included spending a few hours at a Carson park showing a few youngsters a thing or two about football. Darius Paige, who is the 18th highest-rated defensive tackle in the nation, according to ESPN’s top 150 national rankings, will be taking his talents to the University of Alabama. The future business major said it was a great thing to talk and mentor young kids.

“It’s a big help teaching them on how to be leaders and showing them the way,” Paige told News4usonline.com. “It’s a big honor.”

Eddie Printz (signed with Missouri), ranked as the 43rd best high school quarterback prospect, said it was a good feeling to reach back and provide some helpful instructions to young people.

“I love being out here, “Printz said. “It’s cool to give back to the community like this because you these kids look up to you. It’s just fun to hang out with them. It’s just a great feeling to give back.”

For the powerfully-built Collins, a running back with game-breaking speed, throwing the football and giving lessons on how to catch and run reminds him of what he did at an early age when someone helped him to learn the sport.

“It brings back a lot of memories because this is basically how I got started,” Collins said. “I had a couple of high school guys come down and volunteer. It’s special to give back to the community. You can always change someone else’s life. I like to help out.”