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December 12, 2010

Crab Bowl: Five things to watch

MORE: All-star previews | Ala-Miss coverage


Game information:
Who: Baltimore-area prospects vs. District of Columbia-area prospects
What: The Crab Bowl
When: Noon ET, Saturday, Dec. 18
Where: Bowie State University in Bowie, Md.
Why you should care: The D.C. roster is highlighted by four-star prospects Blake Countess, Brandon Phelps and Darian Cooper, while the Baltimore squad features Virginia commit Marco Jones and Wake Forest commit Hunter Goodwin.


Five things Rivals.com analyst Brian Perroni is looking forward to seeing:

1. D.C. stars

The Washington D.C. team seems especially loaded with top college prospects this year. The roster features three of the nation's best in cornerback Blake Countess, athlete Brandon Phelps and defensive tackle Darian Cooper. All are Rivals250 prospects that have had college coaches flocking to the area for quite some time. Countess looks like a very good cover corner on film and he will have a chance to showcase his abilities all week. Cooper is a bit light at 6-foot-3, 275 pounds but has a great motor. Phelps, a Virginia commit, will likely play safety when he arrives in Charlottesville. However, he will be playing wide receiver this week.


2. The offensive line for D.C.

While it would be nice if five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was on the team, he decided not to play in this contest. That does not mean the offensive line for the D.C. team is lacking. A trio of mammoth offensive tackles will pave the way for the offensive. Virginia commit Kelby Johnson comes in at 6-foot-8 and 285 pounds. It should be interesting to see how well he moves for a player his size. Two other big tackles in Leon Brown (6-6/340) and Jamal Price (6-6/330) are also on the roster. With that size up front, it could be hard for the Baltimore defense to get much pressure on the quarterback.


3. Playing out of position?

Several prospects classified as athletes are on each roster and others will be playing different positions than which they are projected. Michigan State outside linebacker commit Darien Harris will be playing safety. If he can cover effectively, he could be a steal at linebacker. Iowa safety commit Nicholas Law will be doing the opposite, playing outside linebacker this week. Athlete Jamal Merritt will be playing safety for the D.C. team and Sherrod Baltimore will be playing cornerback. For Baltimore, athlete DeAndre Scott is set to play receiver while Navassa Brown will see time on both sides of the ball at receiver and corner.


4. Virginia well-represented

The game features prospects committed to Ohio State, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Iowa and Connecticut. However, it is Virginia that that has the most current commitments on the rosters. Three of them are on the D.C. team. Phelps is the highest-rated as the No. 187 overall prospect in the country. Defensive tackle Vincent Croce is a high three-star prospect and the No. 41 prospect at his position. Johnson is also a three-star offensive tackle. The Cavaliers are represented on the Baltimore squad as well. Defensive end Marco Jones is a big body at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds. He is a solid run stopper who has a chance to show he is an effective pass rusher as well.


5. Recruiting ramifications

Several highly sought prospects in the game remain uncommitted. Countess is a top target for several programs and Georgia Tech, Maryland and Michigan have all positioned themselves well for his services. You can bet that the Terps are happy with the fact practices are being held on the University of Maryland campus all week. Cooper is looking at several Big Ten schools as well as Georgia Tech. Merritt visited New Mexico last weekend and also holds offers from Rutgers, East Carolina and Ohio.



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