BUENA VISTA LAKE, Florida – The 2022 UA Next All-America Game lived up to the hype with great plays and extraordinary performances on both sides of the ball on Sunday. The icons rushed into the lead early on holding back a Legends comeback for a 23-17 win. Among all the five and four star talent, elite players shone in every position earning the honors of the Rivals Game MVP.
QUARTERBACK: AJ Swann
In a losing effort, Swann stood out among the Under Armor All-Americans in his pocket. During the short week of training, Swann took the field showing greater control of the attack by completing 6 of 11 passes for 92 yards with a touchdown. Faced with running against defenders such as Derrick Moore, Shemar Stewart and Jihaad Campbell, Swann remained high on completion passes with touch and on a rope.
IN PROGRESS: Kaytron Allen
Allen did most of his damage in the first part of the game by carrying the payload during the second Icons drive. Allen made an 80-yard drive of 18 plays with a five-yard dip in the end zone. For the match, Allen finished with 71 yards on the ground on 14 carries and received a pass for six yards. Allen showed one of the strengths of his game, taking that opening shot and pushing the pile forward for extra yards.
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RECEIVER: Chris Marshall
Luther Burden started the game with a bang in a 75-yard TD pass, but it was Chris Marshall who helped bring the Icons to multiple drives. Going up against guys like Jonquis Hardaway and Bobby Taylor, Marshall received six receptions for 84 yards from 10 targets. Marshall is that big target with a wide wingspan that quarterbacks feel comfortable targeting the passing attack.
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TIGHT END: Donovan Green
Green received a touchdown in the first quarter recalled due to a penalty, but came on the board at the end of the second quarter with a 10-yard touchdown from AJ Swann. Green’s only accredited reception was a 10-yard shot in the back of the end zone.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Zach Rice
The Icons roster was filled with excellent defensive linemen, but when they lined up against Rice they were neutralized. Rice stopped guys like Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, Shemar Stewart, and Justice Finkley from filling out the stats sheet. Rice also landed a pulverized tackle on another five-star Icons cornerback, Travis Hunter, in a fumble recovery.
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DEFENSIVE LINE: Walter Nolen
When Nolen was on the pitch, there was no way to stop him. Nolen was making life difficult for Icons attacking linemen, Tyler Booker and his teammates, with three solo tackles in the first half and a forced fumble. Uncredited for his efforts, Bear Alexander was a constant presence in the Icons backfield as well. The MVP of the game went to the end of Icons, Derrick Moore. Moore had two tackles, both of which were defeated.
LINEBACKER: CJ Hicks
Tied with one team and with many tackles, Hicks was all over the field on Sunday. Hicks has racked up five tackles, three solo, with a half tackle for a defeat and an interrupted pass. Fast and physical, Hicks was strong against running and covered well. Hicks had some great one-on-one moments in the game against running back Kaytron Allen.
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DEFENDER: Zion Branch and Will Johnson
Looking like two of the best safeties in the 2022 class, Branch and Johnson had great games. Branch was filling the alley early arriving with big stops and took a pass from AJ Duffy which added to his big game. Johnson showed off during the four-day training program and continued the momentum with a crowd watching Sunday. Johnson came out with an impressive Shazz Preston pass dissolution cover and produced two stops.
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