SAN ANTONIO, Texas - After a week of watching both the East and West practices, the Scout.com experts, had the West squad handicapped as a two-touchdown favorite in the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, featuring the top high-school seniors in the country.
Thanks to Chris Wells, the game's Most Valuable Player, the East rushed past the West squad by a score of 27-16 on Saturday.
Wells, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound, running back from Garfield High in Akron, Ohio, is committed to Ohio State. Wells is the No. 1 prospect, in the nation, according to Scout.com, had a great week at practice for the East and he proved deserving of his ranking. Wells came out at the Alamo Dome with both guns blazing as he rushed for 67 yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns.
The East defense, much maligned during the week, set the tempo for today's game when defensive tackle, Corey Hobbs, caused a fumble on the opening drive by the West, while East defensive ends Robert Rose and Maurice Evans were causing havoc on every play.
Robert Rose commits to Ohio State
"Jake's cast was so big that all I had to do was slap that hand and his whole body would follow and it was easy for me to put pressure on the quarterback. I just wanted to get off the ball today and play fast.
"Maurice and I got a lot of hurries today and that definitely disrupted the flow of the West quarterbacks. We made them do things they didn't want to do. Mustain and Snead are throwers and we made them run today."
Buckeye fans across the country got a good look at Robert Rose. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder, from Glenville High in Cleveland, gave Ohio State his verbal commitment today on national television.
Ohio State pounded the ball against a very good Notre Dame team on Tuesday to win the Fiesta Bowl and now Wells, fresh off his most valuable player performance in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, will head to Columbus to carry on the running backs tradition for the Buckeyes.
Perhaps it's too early to make predictions, but Wells showed glimpses of greatness the entire week and could end up being the next great tailback for the Bucks and maybe even a Heisman Trophy winner. We asked Chris if he could sum up his thoughts about playing in the All-American Bowl.
"We had a good week of practice," Wells said. "We worked on goal-line a lot and the first time we got the ball today, I think we were in the red-zone pretty quick. We knew what we had to do and we went out and did it."
The East put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter when Michigan-bound linebacker Brandon Graham blocked a field goal that was ran back by cornerback Raeshon McNeil. "Nobody denies us once we get inside the 25-yard line. That was our mindset coming into the game. The blocking was excellent for me today. The whole offensive line and Nate Byham did a great job.
Percy Harvin fends off the West
"It's just a great honor for me to get the MVP," Wells said. "Just to go out there and accept the trophy was a blast. I mean, I'm going to school at Ohio State next year with Teddy Ginn. This is just incredible."
The East put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter when Michigan-bound linebacker Brandon Graham blocked a field goal that was ran back by cornerback Raeshon McNeil. The East put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter when Michigan bound linebacker Brandon Graham blocked a field goal that was ran back by cornerback Raeshon McNeil to put the East up by 11 points.
"I pointed to my parents in the stands before that field goal," Brandon Graham said. "I knew I was going to get that block I told coach also that I'm about to go get it. I blew right past the offensive line and got it. I can't explain that feeling. This is something that I can take with me for the rest of my life."
The East avenged last year's defeat to the West in fine fashion. The East was balanced. They played inspired defense and on offense, coach Ted Ginn and his staff gave the West defense a steady diet of Chris Wells with a side of Percy Harvin, Vidal Hazelton and smidge of Chris Bell.
Coach Ginn preached "Team" this week and that's exactly how the East won today, as a team.
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