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January 15, 2005SAN ANTONIO, Texas - On Saturday morning a radio show host in Washington, D.C., asked who would be the star of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for the West. The answer then was Long Beach (Calif.) Poly and after the game at the Alamo Dome it is still DeSean Jackson.
The five-star receiver that is 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds earns Rivals.com's most valuable offensive player honors after he racked up seven catches for 141 yards. He also had a touchdown pass and was electric every time he touched the football.
Jackson made his presence felt early and often.
Out route, check. Corner route, check. Come back route, check. Fly route, check.
You name it Jackson was able to get open against what was a highly regarded East defensive back field that included the amazing coverage skills of the nation's No. 1 cornerback Justin King and fast-rising prospect Demetrice Morley. Jackson even abused safeties when he would come streaking over the middle of the field on post routes.
Jackson's day could have been a major damper. Early in the game, he broke away from defenders after he caught a quick hitch. He was in the clear and appeared to be able to walk into the end zone. However, when Jackson reached the 5-yard line he leaped head first toward the end zone. Instead of landing in the end zone, Jackson fell just short of the end zone where the ball bounced on the 1-yard line.
Instead of celebrating a touchdown in grand fashion, Jackson obviously was embarrassed in front of a national television audience.
He went to the sideline with his head down and easily could have sulked the rest of the game. But after a pep talk from high school coaching legend Herman Boone, Jackson went back out there on the field and dominated like a five-star prospect should do.
Jackson then had the play of the day when he connected with quarterback Ryan Perrilloux for a touchdown of 40-plus yards. Jackson started on the left side of the formation on the play, and he took off to his right on the snap. He took the pitch from Slick Shelley after Shelley had taken a pitch from Perrilloux on a reverse.
Jackson scrambled to his right and lofted the pass over defenders and connected with Perrilloux in stride for the perfect strike. But throwing strikes is nothing new for Jackson as he's one of the top baseball prospects in all of California.
USC and Cal are the two teams left on Jackson's list and when he did connect with Sanchez in the game it might have been a glimpse of the future for Trojan fans. With USC liking to use all different types of receivers, there is no question that he could be deadly in the Trojan's attack.
While Jackson takes home top honors, there is little doubt that there were other stars on the West offense, especially when you put up 35 points.
While stats in all-star games are never gaudy, West quarterback Jimmy Barnes had one heck of a game and showed even better arm strength than what he showed throughout the week. He was also a serious candidate for game most valuable player honors. He put the ball right on the money time after time and he knew how to buy time when he had too. Quarterback Mark Sanchez showed why he's nation's top quarterback with numerous accurate passes and the poise and patience that it takes to be a refined quarterback on the next level.
Running back Marlon Lucky also had a very nice touchdown run in the second half. He started the run to his left, cut back to the right and turned on his jets and went untouched to pay dirt. He fumbled the ball a few times, but Jonathan Stewart looked good when he got his chances to run the ball.
New Baylor commitment David Gettis also had some nice receptions, including a touchdown grab where he was able to display his blazing speed.