ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Under Armour All-America Game is 5 p.m. Friday at Tropicana Field [live on ESPN], and will feature many of the country's top 2013 prospects.
Christian Hackenberg has been excellent in practice this week.
Where there are dozens of great story lines, here are 10 things to watch …
*The announcements -- outside linebacker/defensive end Kendell Beckwith of Jackson (La.) East Feliciana, inside linebacker Trey Johnson of Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett, safety Leon McQuay of Seffner (Fla.) Armwood, defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Jefferson, safety Max Redfield of Mission Viejo (Calif.) and offensive lineman Na'Ty Rodgers of Pomfret (Md.) Maurice J. Mcdonough will all make their commitments during the game.
*Can anyone block five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the country's No. 1 prospect? In practice this week, nobody has. In talking to coaches at the event, the consensus seems to be that Nkemdiche has outperformed anyone on hand. But will that translate to the game? Odds are, it will, given Nkemdiche's talent and the fact there isn't an extremely strong group of offensive tackles here.
*Which quarterback will perform the best? All-star games are extremely rough on these guys. They have to learn the plays. They have to learn their receivers. They're playing with linemen who've never blocked for them before. That's why trying to speculate as to which one will shine is difficult. In practice -- at least in our eyes -- Penn State commit Christian Hackenberg, Miami commit Kevin Olsen and Georgia commit Brice Ramsey have been the sharpest of the bunch. Some guys, however, are simply gamers, and may emerge when the lights are on.
*Will Laquon Treadwell continue to be the best receiver on hand? The odds seem to favor this. The standout from Illinois, who is among the top uncommitted prospects left in the country, has been excellent in practice. Teammates have raved about him. So have coaches, including former Gators All-American Reidel Anthony. Of course, that was practice. Also, and with receivers you can't ever overlook this … someone has to get him the ball. Treadwell is a playmaker, and you'd have to think the coaches will make every effort to get him involved. The other guy to watch might be Ohio State commit Jalin Marshall. His athleticism is off the charts.
*Chris Jones. Credit 247Sports analyst Gerry Hamilton for getting on the Jones train early. In fact, he has pretty much been the guy driving it. 247Sports was the first to give the 6-feet-6 Mississippi State defensive end commit from Houston (Miss.) a fifth star, and this week Jones quite frankly has made us look pretty smart. In a nutshell, he has been killing it in practice. Jones not only looks great in pads, he's an immense talent that really is just scratching the surface. But even though he's fairly raw, he knows what he's doing out there. Jones is lightning quick off the ball, but also has good spin moves and very good strength. Might he see another ratings bump in his future? This game could help determine thnat.
*Will any of the other defensive linemen outperform Nkemdiche? As dominant as Nkemdiche has been in practice, it's possible. The most likely candidates would probably be Jones (see above), five-star Auburn defensive end commit Carl Lawson and four-star Ohio State defensive end commit Joey Bosa. Lawson doesn't have the frame of Jones or Nkemdiche, but his first step arguably is the quickest in the 2013 class, he's a 400-pound bench presser, he's intelligent and he's relentless. Even when Carl doesn't make the tackle, he's impacting the play. Bosa is just a beast. He is as muscular as anyone out here, and is a tough, rugged guy. He'll be lining up as the end opposite to Lawson. That could be scary.
*The versatility of Ryan Green, the FSU commit from right here in St. Petersburg. Green is an electric -- and extremely fast -- running back. But this week, he's playing receiver, and he did well enough in practice to earn a starting spot. That versatility should serve him very well at the next level.
Chris Jones has gone from sleeper to five-star prospect.
*The linebackers. What a group. Although you hate to not mention them all, the headliners going in are Notre Dame commit Alex Anzalone, Rueben Foster and Matthew Thomas. But guys like Ben Boulware, Trey Johnson and Yannick Ngakoue also can play. Boulware, in particular, is a fun guy to watch. He isn't big. He's not a track star. But the Clemson linebacker commit from Anderson (S.C.) T.L. Hanna has impressed the heck out of his coaches this week, especially Herman Edwards and LaVar Arrington, who love his instincts, footwork, toughness and competitiveness. Boulware isn't a guy that blows you away when he steps off the bus, but he's a kid that simply makes tackle after tackle. People here have compared him to ex-NFL star Zach Thomas.
*Mount Bivin. According to Edwards, the former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst, Notre Dame commit Hunter Bivin has been the best offensive lineman on his team this week. What's interesting is that Bivin, who projects as a tackle, has been playing center. Bivin, it should be noted, is 6-feet-7. Not many guys with his frame have that kind of bend.
*Montravius Adams on the sidelines. This has been a disappointing week for the country's No. 2 overall prospect, an uncommitted defensive tackle from Vienna (Ga.) Dooly County. About an hour into the first practice for the event, he left the field with a foot injury. At first, trainers thought he might have a cracked bone. Then, he was told it was a sprain and he thought he'd be able to play in the game. Now, Adams says he has a stress fracture. He was on crutches yesterday, and it seems unlikely he will play. Because he lives in rural Georgia and hadn't previously attended any national events, many wanted to see Adams in action this week. It's unfortunate he hasn't been able to perform, because he truly is a special talent.