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January 4, 2013

Anzalone, Folston come up big

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Notre Dame commitments Alex Anzalone and Tarean Folston both made big plays in the fourth quarter to help Team Highlight preserve a 16-3 victory over Team Nitro in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game at Tropicana Field on Friday.

After Sean Covington's third field goal of the game gave Team Highlight a 13-point lead with 7:28 left in the game, Team Nitro's Keith Ford broke free on the ensuing kickoff and nearly scored before Anzalone tripped him up at the 37.

Anzalone was a late addition to Team Highlight's kickoff coverage unit.

"(The coaches) put me in on kickoff after (Nitro) started playing their defensive tackles on their returns," Anzalone said. "They wanted me to make plays. The first time, I made the tackle and the second time I had the touchdown saving tackle. It wasn't necessarily skill, it was just pursuing to the ball hard."

Nitro moved into the red zone on that drive but Folston kept them out of the end zone when he picked off Brice Ramsey's pass at the 8, ending the White team's comeback bid.

"We went into man coverage and anytime you go into man, you cover your man no matter where he goes. If he goes to the bathroom, you go with him," Folston said. "He did a slant and I was able to undercut the route."

Anzalone, who moved from Sam to Will linebacker earlier in the week, also broke up a pass in the end zone.

"They tried to trick us up and the guy beat me at first," Anzalone said. "I was able to catch up and I actually had the pick but the safety came up with a pretty big hit and I wasn't able to hold onto it."

Anzalone finished the game with four tackles, including one for a loss. In addition to his interception, Folston finished with a tackle, a pass break-up and a deflection.

Irish commitment Hunter Bivin started at center for Team Highlight and played most of the game. He helped Team Highlight out gain Nitro, 139-88.

Notre Dame added another commitment in the third quarter of the game.

Five-star safety Max Redfield chose the Irish over USC, the team he committed to in July before making an official visit to Notre Dame in October. He decommitted following that trip to South Bend.

Redfield's commitment moved the Irish into the No. 1 spot in Rivals.com's team rankings.

"Max is a big part of that," Folston said. "It's a great feeling to know we have a lot of great athletes coming in with me."

Covington connected on field goals of 25, 30 and 31 yards and Josh McNeil caught a 6-yard pass from Cooper Bateman to lead Team Highlight. Team Nitro scored in the second quarter on Ryan Santoso's 44-yard field goal.

Florida commitment Vernon Hargreaves, who recorded five tackles, was named Team Highlight's MVP while Reuben Foster earned the honor for Team Nitro. Foster had a game-high six tackles.


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