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December 14, 2009

Crab Bowl to showcase Md. and D.C. area talent

MORE: Shrine Bowl loaded with big-time talent | All-star games coverage

The second annual Crab Bowl, the only statewide high school football all-star game in Maryland, is set for Saturday at Towson University.

Players will arrive on Monday and practice will begin on Tuesday. Rivals.com will be there, bringing live practice updates, notebooks, photo galleries, Hot 11s, roster breakdowns, chats and message board updates as well as plenty of video.

The Washington and Baltimore rosters are loaded with talent, but the clear headliner is five-star defensive end J.R. Ferguson for Baltimore. Ferguson, who hasn't committed but is considering programs such as LSU, Notre Dame, California, Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Miami and others, is ranked No. 19 nationally and No. 3 at strongside defensive end. While he played his senior season in the state of Virginia, Ferguson played previously at Frederick (Md.) St. John's Catholic Prep.

Ferguson is joined on the Baltimore defense by four-star linebacker Nick Forbes, a Cal commitment out of Frederick (Md.) Thomas Johnson. Forbes is also a Rivals100 prospect (ranked 72nd nationally and No. 2 at inside linebacker).

In addition to Ferguson and Forbes, Baltimore's defense boasts defensive backs Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest commitment) from Clarksville (Md.) River Hill, Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech commitment) from Baltimore Mount St. Joseph and Josh Furman (choosing between Virginia Tech and Michigan at the game) from Millersville (Md.) Old Mill. Furman could also play as a running back.

Offensively, Furman and Frederick (Md.) fullback Zach Zwinak (Penn State commitment) will form a solid 1-2 punch in the running game behind offensive tackle Robby Havenstein (Wisconsin commitment) from Frederick, Md.

When Baltimore goes to the air it will be Gambrills (Md.) Arundel quarterback Billy Cosh (Kansas State commitment) and Eldersburg (Md.) Century QB Joshua Bordner airing it out to Baltimore City College wideout Adrian Coxson (Penn State commitment but still looking at Florida, Georgia and West Virginia).

As impressive as Baltimore looks on paper, it will have a tough time handling a loaded Washington roster. While Washington doesn't have a five-star or even a Rivals100 prospect, it boasts numerous prospects from two of the state's top programs - Good Counsel and DeMatha.

The running game will be strong for Washington as tailback Marcus Coker (Iowa commitment) runs behind his teammate at Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha, offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio (Alabama and Cal, among others). Brandywine (Md.) Gwynn Park all-purpose back Khalek Shepherd (Virginia commitment) will provide a nice change of pace on offense as well.

It's the defense, however, that is the strength of the Washington team. Four-star defensive backs Louis Young (Stanford commitment also considering Virginia) from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel and Titus Till (Maryland commitment) from Upper Marlboro (Md.) Wise lead the way. Five other defensive back prospects are also committed to FBS programs: E.J. Scott from Good Counsel (Virginia), Jeff Knox Jr. from DeMatha (Pitt), Frank Tamakloe from Good Counsel (Wisconsin), Jeremiah Johnson from Suitland, Md. (Maryland) and Brian Burns from Upper Marlboro (Md.) Riverdale Baptist (Temple). Some - like Young, Scott and Burns - could play on offense as well.

Linebacker is also a position of strength for Washington, led by Woodberry Forest (Va.) School standout Aramide Olaniyan (UCLA commitment who plays in Virginia but hails from Maryland) and Good Counsel's Troy Gloster (West Virginia commitment). Good Counsel and DeMatha boast five players each on the Washington squad.

A few notables who will not be participating in the game include Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly safety Jordan Haden (Florida commitment), Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara wide receiver Brandon Coleman (considering Rutgers, Maryland and Syracuse) and Baltimore Gilman School teammates Jim Poggi and Anthony Ferguson.

Maryland freshman Caleb Porzel led a strong rushing attack for the Washington squad and Florida freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins anchored the defense in a 32-21 victory over Baltimore last year.




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