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January 2, 2008
Will there be a big winner after Army announcements?
• Announcement Watch | More Army All-American Bowl Coverage | Army AA Bowl Rosters
SAN ANTONIO - Usually the string of commitments that occurs at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has a certain theme to it. A couple of years ago it was a parade of All Americans announcing they were headed to Los Angeles to play for Pete Carroll. And last year it was Tennessee and LSU who were considered the big winners with both programs pulling in two dominating defensive commitments each. However, this year there doesn't look to be any trend when it comes to the weekend announcements - at least not at this point.
As of Wednesday, only seven players were committed to announcing their decision live on NBC during the game, and none of them look like they're headed to the same school.
The biggest name set to name his school is Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely cornerback Patrick Johnson. Johnson is ranked as the No. 1 player in the country at his position and will choose between LSU, Florida and Florida State after de-committing from Miami just a few days ago. Johnson has gone on record stating that LSU is his leader heading into the weekend and he'd be a great get for the Tigers.
Other Rivals100 players are also expected to announce. Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway defensive end Shayne Hale will choose between Pitt, Ohio State and Virginia and is expected to put on a Panthers hat. Hale hadn't been considering Pitt until recently so his change of heart is quite a surprise and would be huge for Dave Wannstedt and his staff.
Fellow Rivals100 member Ryan Williams from Manassas (Va.) Stonewall Jackson will choose between Virginia Tech and Boston College. While the Eagles made a strong push and have done a great job staying in this race, Williams is expected to pick the Hokies and stay home.
New Brunswick, N.J. athlete Brandon Smith also lists Boston College on his list but the Eagles aren't truly in the mix. Smith will choose between Michigan, Rutgers and South Carolina is expected to join fellow New Jersey natives J.B. Fitzgerald and Marcus Witherspoon in Ann Arbor.
Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis quarterback MarQueis Gray has Michigan State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa and Oregon on his list of schools he's choosing from but everyone expects him to join Tim Brewster at Minnesota.
Two final players from out west will also be announcing their decisions. Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton running back Covaughn DeBoskie lists numerous schools on his sheet but this will come down to Cal, Stanford and Arizona State. The Cal Bears are expected to pull DeBoskie out of his home state. And Kaneohe (Hawaii) Castle offensive/defensive lineman Solomon Koehler will make his choice between San Diego State, Hawaii and Arizona and is expected to leave the island to play for the Wildcats.
And, as always, the commitment list is a fluid one. There are a few other players who could decide to make their decisions during the game. DeBoskie's teammate, Gerell Robinson, said he's up in the air about whether he'll announce or not. Robinson has narrowed his list to Arizona State and Notre Dame with the Irish expected to get the nod if he chooses this weekend.
Linebacker Lerentee McCray from Dunnellon, Fla. is another player who could make his decision this weekend despite scheduled visits to Florida State (Jan. 11) and Florida (Jan. 18). If he decides to get things over with, most expect a commitment to the Gators over the Seminoles, Tennessee and LSU.
And finally, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha athlete Kenny Tate has visited Maryland and Illinois and could surprise some people and decide between the two despite a scheduled visit to Florida on Jan. 18.
Based on the candidates to make their announcements during the game this year, it doesn't look like one team will walk away with all the riches but many programs that need impact players to get to the next level could come away happy.