The game is being billed as “the last game of the Orange Bowl” and here is a preview of the two squads that will take the field for the last time in one of America’s most historic stadiums.
First, let’s take a look at the players who will be representing the East squad.
Deciding on who the starting quarterback will be may be the toughest decision the East coaching staff will have to make as far as personnel goes because it will have to choose from Scout.com 4-star signal caller Kyle Parker (Clemson), 3-star prospect D.C. Jefferson (Rutgers) and another 3-star in Justin Tuggle (Boston College).
Parker will be enrolling at Clemson shortly after he returns from the Sunshine State and the recruitment on Jefferson has been one filled with twists and turns as he started off committed to Rutgers then switched to LSU after a few weeks, before going back with Rutgers not too long ago.
Is Jefferson now solid to Rutgers or could there be some more drama unfolding heading into signing day? That is something the Scout.com staff will be monitoring and trying to get a bead on over the course of the next week.
Michael Shaw (Penn State) and Devoe Torrence (Ohio State) will lead the running back corps for the East but with only two backs on the roster we look for the country’s 40th rated back Brandon Beachum (Penn State) to also see some time in the offensive backfield. Beachum is listed on the roster as a linebacker but he put up some big numbers toting the rock for Cardinal Mooney High School and he may be the best all-around back out of the three.
When you have three quarterbacks that can sling the ball like the East has then it’s imperative to have some guys that can catch it and that should not be a problem with the likes of DeJuan Miller (Oklahoma), Melvin Ray (Alabama), Dezmon Gray and Phillip Pierre-Louis.
Miller and Ray both have good speed on the outside and Pierre-Louis is an absolute burner that could make some big plays on some slip screens and some end around runs.
Ja’Baris Little is expected to see the brunt of the action at tight end and the Florida State commit also figures to factor into the passing game along with sealing the edge for Beachum and company.
Giving the quarterback time to throw and opening up some holes for the backs will be pivotal to the East squad’s success to move the ball and four big 4-star hogs that hope to accomplish that are guards Kurt Wermers (Michigan) and Dalton Freeman (Clemson), and tackles Graham Pocic (Illinois) and Cordy Glenn (Georgia).
The West squad may have problems moving the ball on the East defense because everywhere you look there is nothing but playmakers.
Up front, the East is going to be led by some good edge rushers in Toby Jackson (Georgia), Keith Wells (Florida State), Glenn Harbin and Earl Okine (Florida). All four are quick and very active and figure to test the guys protecting the edge on the other side of the ball.
On paper, the linebacker corps appears to be the strength of the defense with five 4-star prospects in Marcus Dowtin (Georgia), Bruce Taylor (Virginia Tech), and then three that are headed to Happy Valley to play for Penn State in Mike Yancich, Michael Zordich and Brandon Beachum.
If there is an area that does not look as stout as the others then it would be the defensive tackles so these talented linebackers will need to play strong and tough in the middle.
Brandon Boykin (Georgia), Jarred Holley, Jeremy Brown (Florida), Makiri Pugh (Georgia), Jerome Swinton (West Virginia), Nick Moody (Florida State), and Matthew Brown give the secondary a lot of speed and with several of them seeing a lot of time on offense during their prep career we expect to see a few do some cross-training to utilize their speed on the offensive side of the ball.
Robert Yanks figures to handle most of the kicking and punting chores so his leg should get plenty of work during the week and he is someone who is hoping to shed that “sleeper prospect” label he has going into the week.
As you can see, the East squad has plenty of talent and the roster is filled with players that you will be hearing plenty about in the next four or five years in the college ranks.
Now, let’s take a look at the opposition and see how the West squad stacks up.