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Blessed & Honored: Future Nittany Lions Shine In All-Star Settings

Count those stars.

NCAA Football: Under Armour All-America Game Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Under Armor All-American Game

Orlando may not have been kind to the Nittany Lions last week, but that was not the case for five future Nittany Lions. Running backs Noah Cain and Devyn Ford, wide receiver John Dunmore, linebacker Brandon Smith, and quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. all put their talents on display throughout the week in Orlando, including in Thursday’s game.

Cain was one of the best players for Team Flash in their 28-27 loss against Team Ballaholics. Yes, Ballaholics. The future Nittany Lion running back averaged 4.7 yards per carry on 12 carries and scored a touchdown.

Dunmore was also on Team Flash. In the game, he hauled in two passes for 12 yards. He also had a strong game blocking on the edge. This came after Dunmore had a strong week of practice where he turned heads after making multiple good plays.

Johnson Jr., Ford, and Smith were all proud members of Team Ballaholics.

After struggling in practice throughout the week, Johnson Jr. did as his team name indicates and balled out in Thursday night’s game. MJJ completed both passes he threw for 43 yards and a touchdown. He also made multiple plays with his legs, including quarterbacking the final drive to help the victorious Ballaholics run out the clock.

MJJ struggling in practice should come as no surprise, nor should it create concern. It is well documented that his passing is a work in progress, and where he excels is in game settings by using his legs to create plays.

Ford had five touches for the Ballaholics for 24 yards of total offense. It was good to see Ford have a good game catching the ball out of the backfield as this is a skill he excelled at in high school that can be impactful for the Nittany Lion offense starting in 2019. He also put on a show in the skills challenge earlier in the week.

After excelling all week long in practice, including doing some things that show off his insane athleticism, Smith was all over the field in Thursday’s game.

Smith started at linebacker for the Ballaholics, and put the athleticism and skill that made him a five-star recruit on display. He showed his nose for the ball, and recorded a sack in the game.

You can checkout Nittany Lion highlights from the game below.

All-American Bowl

Formerly known as the US Army All-American Bowl, the All-American Bowl and its festivities took place in San Antonio this past week. Penn State was represented at the game by a pair of signees - offensive lineman Caedan Wallace and linebacker Lance Dixon.

After both had impressive weeks of practice, both players started for the East squad in Saturday’s game. The play of Wallace and Dixon helped lead the East to a 48-14 shellacking of the West. Nittany Lion target, and current Ohio State commit, Doug Nester also started on the offensive line for the East.

Dixon was all over the field for the East defense on Saturday afternoon, including this impressive open field tackle:

The Michigan native also had a strong week of practice in San Antonio. Throughout the week of practice, Dixon was a handful for the West offense.

Dixon is already enrolled at Penn State and on campus. Do not be surprised to see him make an impact as a true freshman in 2019.

As for Wallace, he is one of the best interior offensive line prospects in the country and he proved as much in San Antonio this past week.

While Wallace will likely be redshirted in 2019, he’s the type of talent that could push for a starting job in 2020 - he’s that good.