Notre Dame football recruiting: Irish recruits aren't outshined at Army Bowl
SAN ANTONIO - James Quick already had the spotlight on him after announcing his commitment to Louisville in the fourth quarter.
But the wide receiver prospect wasn't done dazzling at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
A 34-yard touchdown pass from Auburn quarterback commit Jeremy Johnson to Quick with 3:59 left in the game secured a 15-8 victory for the East team in the Alamodome on Saturday.
Both offenses struggled for most of the game, but big plays highlighted a matchup of some of the nation's top high school prospects in the 2013 class.
Six Notre Dame verbal commitments competed in the game and while none of them scored, their efforts weren't to be outshined by the game's stars.
Running back Greg Bryant provided the most production of any offensive weapon with a future tied to Notre Dame in the game.
Bryant started slow while sharing a backfield with three other running backs, but he started to show his explosiveness in the second half. The East team scored the only points in the first half on a two-yard touchdown run from Alabama commit Derrick Henry.
With a lead in hand, Bryant became the featured back to start the second half after being limited to mostly third down duty to start the game. He didn't disappoint.
The 5-foot-11, 197-pound running back from Delray Beach, Fla., put seven straight touches together for a total of 32 yards, making defenders miss on two receptions out of the backfield and five hard runs on the ground.
Bryant was then relieved by his other running backs and denied any goal-line carries throughout the game.
"I was a little jealous. I wanted to get in the end zone," Bryant admitted. "But it's all good. We all got to have fun."
Finishing with eight carries for 27 yards and three catches for 16 yards, Bryant displayed a variety of skills, but not quite everything he'd hope to show viewers of the nationally televised game.
"I didn't really get to break into the open field and show my speed off, but I felt like I did enough," Bryant said. "It's only an all-star game. But when I get into South Bend, they're going to see everything."
For the West team, Irish linebacker commitment Jaylon Smith filled the stat sheet with four tackles, half a tackle for a loss and one blocked field goal.
Smith and the West defense took the field with just under seven minutes remaining after USC quarterback commit Max Browne connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Texas A&M-bound wide receiver Derrick Griffin and a two-point conversion to LSU tight end commit DeSean Smith to give the West team its first lead of the game at 8-7.
But Quick's touchdown catch made the West lead short-lived. Smith, who was named a captain for the West team, remained positive while signing autographs after the game.
"It's been wonderful. It's a great opportunity to play against some amazing people."
Joining Bryant on the victorious East team was fellow Notre Dame pledges John Montelus (offensive guard) and Doug Randolph (linebacker). Randolph started at outside linebacker for the team and Montelus played three series on the offensive line while fighting through a left shoulder injury.
Montelus said he plans to get an MRI on his shoulder when he returns home to Everett, Mass. He pinpointed his rotator cuff as the source of the pain, which originally bothered him at the beginning of his senior season and has flared up during practice this week.
On the West team a pair of Notre Dame commitments, left tackle Steve Elmer and wide receiver Corey Robinson, put in stat-less performances but saw plenty of action. Robinson was targeted several times on passing plays, but all were slightly overthrown and out of reach of the hometown standout. The San Antonio crowd cheered in hope for a reception each time a pass was thrown his way.
One Irish hat made an appearance during the six commitment announcements during the game, but linebacker/defensive end prospect Al-Quadin Muhammad picked Miami over Notre Dame, Alabama and Rutgers. Muhammad is a former teammate of Irish defensive back Elijah Shumate at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J.
USC commits showing interest in Notre Dame has become a trend over the past couple months and another Army All-American can be added to the list.
Linebacker Torrodney Prevot from Houston, Texas, has been committed to the Trojans since July but has set official visit plans to South Bend for Jan. 25. Irish cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks encouraged Prevot to visit during conversations in December.
"He recently caught me like a month ago and we started talking from there," Prevot said. "He started talking about a visit. He wanted me to get up there and see what all they're about. That's what I want to do."
Prevot said he remains committed to the Trojans, but also wants to check out Texas A&M and Oregon before signing. His interest in Notre Dame led to a little nudging from the other Irish commits in San Antonio.
"They keep telling me to go to Notre Dame and they keep saying "Go Irish" and everything," Prevot said. "It's a good look. There's a lot of Notre Dame commits here so it's a good look for them."
The 6-foot-4, 208-pound Prevot ranks as the No. 16 outside linebacker on Rivals.com and No. 7 weakside defensive end on 247Sports.com.
Former USC defensive lineman commit Eddie Vanderdoes, who will officially visit Notre Dame this month, tallied three tackles and one sack in a nice showing in San Antonio.
A week in San Antonio together provided even more bonding time for an already close group of Notre Dame commitments that call themselves the "Irish Mob 13."
Robinson showed many of the recruits around his hometown while Elmer continued his close friendship with Montelus. The two could end up playing side-by-side as tackle and guard at some point at Notre Dame. Randolph, who roomed with Montelus, said Elmer was practically a third roommate.
"It was a ton of fun," Randolph said. "We're a really close class as you already know, so it was fun to get out here and hang out with all those guys and play with some of them and play against some of them."
All of the Notre Dame commitments in San Antonio said they're looking forward to Monday night's national championship game against Alabama.
Some even provided score predictions: Bryant forecasted a 17-7 win and Montelus predicted a 27-20 score. Bryant's even considering getting together a bunch of friends on Monday night.
"I might throw a big ole party," Bryant said. "A Notre Dame party."
Elmer flight trouble
A delayed arrival to San Antonio forced Elmer to miss out on the recording of a few promotional videos with his Irish commits early in the week. Elmer's travels from Midland, Mich., were postponed by multiple plane malfunctions before takeoff in Flint, Mich., and a long layover in Atlanta after a missed connection.
During Saturday's game, the mother of Torii Hunter Jr., Katrina Hall Hunter, tweeted photos of her son leaving the hospital today to return to their home in Prosper, Texas. The wide receiver prospect underwent successful surgery on his broken femur on Wednesday. The injury is expected to sideline Hunter for six to eight months.
Staff writer Tyler James