The all-star game showcasing the top high school senior football players in the nation will kick off at noon CST Saturday. Scout.com is the media partner and the game will be nationally telecast by NBC from the Alamodome.
Because it is an East-West game (rather than North-South), the offensive linemen on the East team come from Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Georgia.
The two Southerners have been standouts in East practices.
Michael Oher is a 6-5, 340-pounder from Briarcrest High School in Memphis, Tenn. Chris Scott -- his mother prefers Christopher Scott -- is a 6-5, 315-pounder from Lovejoy High School in Riverdale, Georgia.
Almost every offensive lineman selected for the team was a left tackle in high school. Oher is working at center, while Scott is pulling duty at both left and right tackle positions.
Oher said he almost didn't get to play in the game. "There was a mix-up on the paperwork and they thought I didn't want to play," he said. "They told me they could get me into the game, but it would have to be as a center."
That has turned out to be less a problem than might have been expected. "It's like it's natural to me," Oher said. "I've got good hands and I don't have any problem getting it back there."
And Oher is glad things worked out. "I'm having a great time," he said. "It's tough. You have to go hard every snap. But that's what makes you better. Everybody is strong and fast and competitive. But it's fun to compete against the best. I'm having more fun than I've had on a football field in a long time."
Following Saturday's game, Oher plans to commit on Monday. He will sign on February 2 from among Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU and hometown Memphis.
Scott, too, said he is enjoying the experience. "It's fun to be around all these great players," he said. "You have to be on top of your game. Practices are tough when you have the best of the best competing."
Scott has been compared to Chris Samuels, the former Alabama star who now toils for the
Washington Redskins. "That's an honor, because he is a great player," Scott said. "When you hear
that it makes all the hard work worthwhile."
Scott doesn't know when he'll announce his college choice. He's deciding between Tennessee and Florida.
East Assistant Coach Chuck Markiewicz is working with the offensive line. He is very high on his two Southern linemen. "I think they are both tremendous, tremendous talents," Markiewicz said.
Markiewicz, the head coach at his alma mater, Arundel High School in Gambrills, Md., is making his first appearance in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He understands one rule of all-star game coaching: "Don't screw 'em up," he said.
Markiewicz said, "Michael is playing a position he has never played. He's doing something he's never had to do, and he is excelling at it."
The coach said, "Like Michael, Chris is very quiet. But there's a fire burning in him. He epitomizes the difference in regular kids and kids at this level. He wants to excel."
The coach said, "All our linemen were offensive tackles. We've put some at guard and center and they've adjusted pretty well. They were well-coached in high school, so it's going pretty easy."
Oher and Scott are not the only supersized offensive linemen for the East. Alex Boone is 6-8, 305; Dan Doering is 6-6, 285; Eugene Monroe is 6-6, 316; Dace Richardson is 6-6, 300; and Marques Slocum is 6-6, 330.