INDIANAPOLIS — Emil Ekiyor received his 2018 U.S. Army All-American game jersey in a ceremony at Cathedral High School on Thursday morning.
Cameron McGrone will get his jersey on Friday morning, a couple miles to the east on 56th Street, at Lawrence Central.
Ekiyor, an offensive lineman and McGrone, a linebacker, are two of four players committed to Michigan’s Class of 2018 who have received invitations to play in the annual all-star game in San Antonio on Jan. 6. There have been 14 players from the past two U.S. Army All-American games who have signed with the Wolverines, including eight from the 2017 class. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson of Dearborn (Mich.) Divine Child and offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield of Grand Rapids Catholic Central have received invites to this season’s All-American bowl.
“It’s an amazing feeling just to be recognized as one of the top [players] in the country,” Ekiyor told Land of 10 about receiving his jersey. “It’s a surreal moment and I’m glad I got to experience it and seeing that my hard work is paying off.”
The eight players from last season’s game include wide receivers Tarik Black, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Oliver Martin, and quarterback Dylan McCaffrey. Not all the players who eventually signed with Michigan had pledged a commitment last January. Martin and defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon were not committed at the time. Being around players who had committed helped the decision-making process.
Martin, McCaffrey and offensive tackle Chuck Filiaga played on the West team, while the other five players were on the East roster.
“It was just me, Oliver and Chuck there,” McCaffrey told Land of 10 in May. “I think all of those experiences helped us bond.”
U.S. Army All-American Wolverines
Four players who have committed to Michigan for the Class of 2018 have received invitations to play in the U.S. Army All-American game in January. Nineteen players have signed with the Wolverines after playing in the game over the past five years. In three of those years, there have been at least four future Michigan players at the game.
Note: * – later transferred; # – medically retired
|OL Emil Ekiyor||WR Tarik Black||TE Devin Asiasi*||OL Mason Cole||TE Jake Butt|
|DE Aidan Hutchinson||OL Chuck Filiaga||WR Kekoa Crawford||OL Chris Fox#|
|LB Cameron McGrone||DE Deron Irving-Bey||CB Lavert Hill||CB Jourdan Lewis|
|OL Jalen Mayfield||QB Dylan McCaffrey||CB David Long||DB Dymonte Thomas|
|WR Oliver Martin||OL Michael Onwenu|
|WR Donovan Peoples-Jones||QB Brandon Peters|
|DT Aubrey Solomon|
|CB Ambry Thomas|
Keeping high level of play going
This season’s freshman class, which originally totaled 30 players, was rated No. 5 in the country by the 247Sports composite rankings system. That came on the heels of the 2016 class that was rated No. 7.
The Class of 2016 who were U.S. Army All-Americans include starting cornerbacks Lavert Hill and David Long, starting wide receiver Kekoa Crawford and starting right guard Michael Onwenu. Quarterback Brandon Peters was in the mix for the starting job this spring and at the start of preseason camp.
Senior left tackle Mason Cole, who has started all 41 games of his career at Michigan, was a 2014 U.S. Army All-American.
McGrone said being named to play in the game hasn’t been a topic of conversation among the players in this class of commits. They’re too busy with their seasons to focus on what will happen in January. The fact that four future Wolverines, and possibly more depending on if any current uncommitted players choose Michigan, will be in San Antonio for the game does hold meaning to McGrone.
“To me, it’s humbling to know that I’m going to such a special place and I’m keeping that high level of play going,” McGrone said.