For football recruiting junkies, today was the Super Bowl.

The East beat the West 33-23 in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. But the game is never really about the result. It's about college football fanatics and anonymous message board posters finally seeing all the recruits they routinely hype up and fantasize about on a daily basis for the first time.


From a Terps standpoint, there admittedly wasn't much to be excited about. The one Maryland target invited, DeMatha wide receiver Kenny Tate, made one big play on the day. East quarterback and Minnesota commit MarQueis Gray scrambled for what seemed like a good 15 seconds. Downfield near the right sideline, Tate broke free. Gray hit Tate, who proceeded to juke more than a few West defenders before being brought down near the center of the field for a 31-yard reception.

Here are some additional Army Bowl thoughts:

• East quarterback Terrelle Pryor was fantastic, earning game MVP honors with his 155 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. He also garnered effusive praise from the announcing crew throughout the game (Ray Bentley said whichever school lands Pryor has 'just won the lottery'). Granted, recruiting is filled with hype and hyperbole (I'm probably guilty of my fair share of this.) But I can't help but feel a little bad for Pryor, just as I did for Jimmy Clausen last year. Unless both quarterbacks become first-round NFL draft choices, it's almost as if they are disappointments. I think Pryor will have a great college career, but is it possible to temper the enthusiasm just a bit? He's not Vince Young yet.

All that said, the play of the day in my mind came when Pryor rolled right, bought some time and threw all the way across his body to hit Notre Dame commitment John Goodman in the left side of the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. I got Matt Ryan vs. Virginia Tech flashbacks.

Dayne Crist (Notre Dame), Star Jackson (Alabama) and Terrelle Pryor (either Ohio State or Michigan, according to the announcers' opinions) are all headed to traditional college football powers, but the other three quarterbacks went with some non-traditional choices. Andrew Luck made an academics-first choice this summer, selecting Stanford over Northwestern, Rice and Purdue among others. Blaine Gabbert backed off an earlier commitment to Nebraska and recently committed to his hometown school, Missouri. And MarQueis Gray announced for Minnesota today, a team that went 1-11 in Tim Brewster's first year as head coach.

The big boys of college football will always nab the lion's share of big-time prospects, but if you're a Maryland fan, it's good to know that some top-flight players pay attention to depth charts. The Terps desperately need a big-time quarterback in the class of 2009 – and they've got the available playing time to point to. Maybe UM can be one of next year's non-traditional powers and land a Gray, Gabbert or Luck type.

• I was really impressed with two former Maryland running back targets – Ohio State-bound Lamaar Thomas and Virginia Tech commit Ryan Williams. With Thomas, it's all about getting him in space and letting him showcase his ridiculous speed. If Ohio State gets creative with Thomas, he'll be the perfect compliment to Beanie Wells. Williams has great speed, but also runs with a lot of power. You could easily make a case for Williams being one of the most complete backs in the country.

• The most surprising declaration for me was Chandler, Ariz. wide receiver/safety Gerell Robinson going with the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils over Notre Dame, the school Rivals.com's Mike Farrell thought was the favorite. You've got to feel for Arizona. The Wildcats offered G-Rob as a quarterback, he committed during his junior season and then proceeded to not only back off, but ultimately switch to the UA's hated rival. On the bright side, Robinson withdrew his commitment to Arizona a long time ago, so they weren't left in a lurch. And the Wildcats also earned a commitment from Hawaii lineman Solomon Koehler at the game.

• Not that there was much (if any) of an excuse for Notre Dame to go 3-9 this year, but there will be even less of one next year – if the Army game is any indication. The game featured 14 (!) Irish commitments and plenty of them had impressive days. Wide receiver Michael Floyd caught two touchdown passes and had 118 yards receiving. Dayne Crist looked really sharp at quarterback. This recruiting class (which is currently the top-rated class in the country per Rivals) follows two previous standout Irish classes. Sure, they'll be a young team, but those youngsters are some of the most talented guys in the country. No more excuses.

• Some interesting junior names dot this U.S. Army All-Combine Team list. The most notable name for Terps fans? Baltimore's own Tavon Austin. Let the countdown to the 2009 Army game begin.