One never quite expects to see stellar defense at an all-star game, especially one loaded with as many high powered weapons as the U. S. Army All-American Bowl. We all want to see explosive offense's that keep the scoreboard moving. the West team though may find the going tough this year. The East defense is very solid, well at least on paper. The strengths will be a terrific collection of linebackers and perhaps a group of cornerbacks that could rival any that this game has ever seen. Let's dig in and take a closer look at this crew.
The defensive line looks to be the East squads weakest link. They do have two exceptional defensive tackles in Statesboro, Ga., native DeAngelo Tyson and Miami Northwestern standout Marcus Forston, but the big question is do they have a bonafide threat off the edge who can pressure the West quarterback's? All three West signal callers are pocket style passers who if given time will pick a team apart. Washington, D.C., native and Illinois commit Reggie Ellis and Notre Dame commit Brandon Newman will give the East team some depth at the tackle spot. Fort Dorchester, S.C. end Robert Quinn, Notre Dame pledge Sean Cwynar, Hargrave Military Academy standout Quinton Coples and Spain Park, Ala., rush end William Green will be the likely challengers to man the defensive end position. Don't be surprised though will the glut of talent at linebacker if you see Pennsylvania native Shayne Hale from Gateway High or Chicago standout Darius Fleming lining up at end and going after the quarterback. Both are exceptional edge rushers and could provide a spark if need be. Another very capable defensive lineman on the East team is offensive tackle Lucas Nix who is just as good on defense as he is on offense.
At linebacker where do we even start? You have any type of linebacker you can imagine, but lets start in the middle where you have Hale, along with Ohio State commit and Dr. Krop standout Etienne Sabino who is also another player who used a Scout.com combine as his coming out party. Another Pennsylvania player who could have a big impact will be future Florida Gator Brendan Beal. Now when we talk about weakside and strongside it is speculation on our part, because we don't know for sure which spot these guys will be playing. Manning the weakside spot will be Wichita East stalwart and Miami commit Arthur Brown and a pair of Florida natives Lerentee McCray (Dunnellon) and Marcus Robinson (Homestead). On the strongside you have Fleming, along with Chicago native and Notre Dame pledge Steve Filer and Florida State pledge Nigel Bradham from Wakulla, Fla. Good luck trying to run away from this crew.
Now onto the cornerbacks who are all lockdown style guys led by Blanche Ely standout Patrick Johnson and Detroit star Boubacar Cissoko who are ranked as the top corners in the nation. Both players put on a clinic last January at the All-American Combine. Cissoko, a Michigan commit was the MVP of the combine. The other two corners aren't too shabby either in Butler, N.C., native Robert Blanton and Lincoln star T.J. Bryant. There are only two safeties on the East roster, but you couldn't ask for two better ones then South Panola five-star Darius Barksdale and New Brunswick, N.J., star Brandon Smith. Both players are solid against the pass, but both have made their name as tenacious hitters, so if anyone gets passed the linebacking corps they have two headhunters waiting for them in the secondary. We would expect that DeMatha standout Kenny Tate could take reps at safety if needed.