The U.S. Army All-American Bowl has already seen a good number of former participants move on to the NFL since the game began in 2001. Several defensive players from the game became first round draft picks.
We took a look back at all of the stars to ever play in the game and selected the best of the best for the Army All-American Bowl All-Time Team on the defensive side of the ball.
U.S. Army All-American Bowl All-Time Team: Defense
DL Chris Long HIGH SCHOOL: Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's-Belfield COLLEGE: Virginia CLASS: 2004 BUZZ: The son of NFL Hall of Fame member Howie Long, Chris is making a name for himself by modeling his play after his father's relentless, get-after-the-quarterback style. A consensus All-American selection as a senior this season, Long is expected to be a early first-round pick in April's NFL Draft. His younger brother Kyle, a high school senior, was scheduled to participate in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl but has opted instead to pursue college and pro baseball opportunities.
DL Tommie Harris HIGH SCHOOL: Killeen (Texas) Ellison COLLEGE: Oklahoma CLASS: 2001 BUZZ: Few players of Harris' size are as quick. A starter and impact player for the Sooners the day he walked onto campus, Harris was a two-time All-America selection in Norman. He was a first round pick by the Chicago Bears and started in the 2007 Super Bowl.
DL Haloti Ngata HIGH SCHOOL: Salt Lake City Highland COLLEGE: Oregon CLASS: 2002 BUZZ: Need a run-stopper? Look no further than Ngata. His play in the 2002 U.S. Army All-American Bowl vaulted him to the No. 1 ranking at his position in the prep ranks by Rivals.com. Despite a few setbacks in college, he battled through them all and has become one of the more talented defensive tackles in the NFL, and was a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
DL Everson Griffen HIGH SCHOOL: Avondale (Ariz.) Agua Fria COLLEGE: USC CLASS: 2007 BUZZ: Griffen draws enviable comparisons to fellow Arizona native Terrell Suggs, one of the NFL's best pass rushers. While still in the early stages of his development on the football field, Griffen has shown a knack for rushing the passer that few players ever possess. Honorable Mention: Marquise Hill, Marcus Spears, Gerald McCoy, Al Woods, Maurice Evans
LB Dan Connor HIGH SCHOOL: Wallingford (Pa.) Strath Haven COLLEGE: Penn State CLASS: 2004 BUZZ: Connor played running back and linebacker in high school, but at Linebacker U, he etched his name in the record books as the school's all-time leading tackler. He won college football's Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player in 2007. Connor is expected to be a first-round draft pick in April.
LB Derrick Johnson HIGH SCHOOL: Waco, Texas COLLEGE: Texas CLASS: 2001 BUZZ: Johnson was a sideline-to-sideline defender for the Longhorns, and finished his career in Austin as the team's all-time leader in caused fumbles, before being selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Johnson played in the first-ever U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which was held in Dallas.
LB Rey Maualuga HIGH SCHOOL: Eureka, Calif. COLLEGE: USC CLASS: 2005 BUZZ: Three different Southern Cal linebackers, Maualuga along with Brian Cushing and Keith Rivers, all could have occupied the third linebacker spot on the list. But Mauluga gets the nod because of his tenacious style of play and because he probably has more upside than the other two Trojans, who are gifted in their own right. Honorable Mention:Brian Cushing, Keith Rivers, Xavier Adibi
DB Eric Berry HIGH SCHOOL: Atlanta Creekside COLLEGE: Tennessee CLASS: 2007 BUZZ: Yes, we know. He's only a true freshman. But even at such a young age, Berry shows all the signs of being a special player. Berry started every game for the Volunteers this season, even though, as a high school quarterback, it was his first year to play in the secondary full-time. A safety with the rare speed and athleticism to also play cornerback, Berry earned first-team freshmen All-America honors and was the No. 3-ranked prospect in the high school class of 2007 by Rivals.com.
DB Antonio Cromartie HIGH SCHOOL: Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln COLLEGE: Florida State CLASS: 2003 BUZZ: Despite his lithe frame, Cromartie's ability on the football field has never been questioned. The dynamic playmaker left Florida State a year early for the NFL, even though he lost his entire junior season to injury. Cromartie holds the NFL record for the longest return for a touchdown in NFL history at 109 yards.
DB Marlin Jackson HIGH SCHOOL: Sharon, Pa. COLLEGE: Michigan CLASS: 2001 BUZZ: Another participant in the first-ever U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Jackson was a two-time All-American at Michigan, and a first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts. It was Jackson's interception of Tom Brady that sealed the AFC Championship game a year ago, and put the Colts in the Super Bowl, where they ended the season as world champs.
DB Donte Whitner HIGH SCHOOL: Cleveland Glenville COLLEGE: Ohio State CLASS: 2003 BUZZ: Whitner, the No. 8 pick in the first-round by the Buffalo Bills in 2006, was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team a season ago. He is one of two Glenville H.S. players who made the Rivals.com All-Time team. His long-time friend Ted Ginn Jr. is the other.
Honorable Mention:Leon Hall, Kenny Phillips, Taylor Mays
KR Ted Ginn Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Cleveland Glenville COLLEGE: Ohio State CLASS: 2004 BUZZ: Lightning in a bottle. That may be the only expression that can capture just how fast Ginn is. Ginn ran the nation's fastest 110-meter high hurdle time for a high school senior back in 2004. In last year's national title game, Ginn's 92-yard kick return for a touchdown was seemingly the lone bright spot for the Buckeyes that day. Ginn also returned a kick for a touchdown in the 2004 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was named the game's MVP. Honorable Mention:Perrish Cox
PR DeSean Jackson HIGH SCHOOL: Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic COLLEGE: Cal CLASS: 2005 BUZZ: Few who saw it will ever forget DeSean Jackson's scintillating punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee to open the college football season in 2007. Even fewer who saw Jackson mistakenly leap at the five-yard line only to fall a yard short of the goal line in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl will forget that moment as well.
Honorable Mention: None
Utility Reggie Bush HIGH SCHOOL: La Mesa (Calif.) Helix COLLEGE: USC CLASS: 2003 BUZZ: The 2005 Heisman Trophy winner, Bush was a key figure in USC's back-to-back A.P. national championships in 2003 and 2004. Bush is best known for his blazing speed, long leaps into the end zone and ability to make defenders look downright silly in the open field. But a footnote to his illustrious college career was perhaps college football's most intriguing play of the 2005 season, better known as "The Bush Push", where Bush pushed Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart into the end zone for a last-minute score to defeat Notre Dame.
Honorable Mention:Demarco Murray, Joe McKnight, Kamerion Wimbley (DE/LB)