On The Trail: Southeast Region: UA jersey tour 2014
“First, my family, thank you for everything,” Berrios said. “I’ve said it once and I will say it again, wouldn’t be here without you guys. My coaches, over the last eight to ten years of playing football specifically … thank you for developing me as a young man and as a player.”
Leesville Road head coach Chad Smothers cites his star player’s drive as the reason for his success.
“The key to the development of Braxton over the last couple of years has been his desire to be good,” Smothers said. “He has an internal competitive spirit that he has built on enhancing his physical tools. He has got strong in the weight room, he’s worked hard to improve his speed and that’s why Braxton has been able to do some of the things he has done.”
Berrios fully understands how big the honor is to play in the Under Armour All-America Game.
"When I got invited I was ecstatic,” Berrios said. “It's an honor, and you've got to represent yourself well enough on and off the field in order to put that jersey on and make it mean something. The experience I’m probably looking forward to the most is being around the best athletes and football players in the country. I'm definitely ready to get down to Florida. It's a little teaser because I'm enrolling in January, so I'll be moving to Miami right after the game. But I'm ready to play against the best and have a good time."
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Berrios is a four-star prospect and the No. 45 wide receiver in the class. He committed to the Hurricanes over Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky and Oregon.
Wideman, a Florida State commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised game featuring the country’s top high school seniors. The game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
Saluda coach Wayne Bell said Wideman has accepted every challenge placed in front of him.
“I think he has had good push from family, from his grandmother especially. He’s had a good number of coaches that have really pushed him hard in the weight room and field, and he has accepted those challenges and he has worked extremely hard.”
For Wideman, the chance to follow in the footsteps of Jadeveon Clowney was a great opportunity.
"I decided to accept the invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game because it is one of the biggest games in the nation, and my favorite player, Jadeveon Clowney, played in it. I also just felt like this was going to be the best game for me to play in, and I'm very happy that I got selected. My dad is who motivates me the most. I lost my dad when I was in eighth grade, and every time I'm playing on the field, I think of him pushing me to go harder. There haven't been many people from Saluda to do something like this, and go far away and play in college, so that also motivates me and pushes me to go hard."
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Wideman is the No. 178 prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 12 defensive tackle. He committed to Florida State over South Carolina and several other programs.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody who came out today,” McMillan said. “Thank you to my mom, my parents, my coaching staff, the staff at this school, every one of my classmates, everyone at Liberty County high school for supporting me; and I would also like to thank God.”
Liberty County coach Kirk Warner says his star linebacker is a great player and a great person.
“I just can’t say enough about what it’s meant to me to coach this young man. Whoever gets him on that dotted line is going to not only get a great football player, but a great person.”
On Jan. 2, McMillan says he will be living out a dream he has had since junior high.
“Ever since I was a freshman, even in middle school, I’ve dreamed about playing in the Under Armour All-America Game. I was offered by both [major all-star games], but it was hands down that I was going to take the Under Armour All-America Game. I am looking forward to competing against some of the best guys in the nation that I've been going to camps with over the last three or four years, and being coached by some of the best coaches in America. It's a great honor to be invited to the Under Armour All-America Game. Some of the best football players in the nation played in the Under Armour All-America Game, and it's just a blessing and an honor to be able to play in it, too."
The 6-foot-2, 242-pound McMillan is the No. 12 prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 1 inside linebacker in the class. He is considering Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Florida.
“I feel great about it," Thomas said. "I was really looking forward to it. It humbles me, and it feels great. Some people take it for granted, but really I wouldn’t take it for granted. It’s a great opportunity and a great chance to really get your name out there when you get on TV, and really kind of stand out.”
The fact that Thomas will play on the next level at an Under Armour-sponsored team played a factor in his decision to accept the invitation.
“I love Under Armour. That will be my next sponsored team [Auburn]. There is something about Under Armour, the Under Armour Game … it’s probably the most well-known game,” Thomas said.
The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Thomas is the No. 33 ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 5 running back in the class. He committed to Auburn over Florida State, Alabama, Clemson and several others.
“I am really excited to play in the Under Armour All-America Game and compete with the best players in the country,” Horky said. “First off, I want to thank God for giving me the ability to play football everyday. I want to thank Under Armour and Kohl’s specialist games for selecting me to play in this year’s game. I want to thank my mom and dad … I love them to death. I want to thank my coaches, all my teachers here at Ravenwood, my friends and teammates …they mean everything to me.”
Horky is looking forward to playing and competing with the best players in the country.
“Being selected as an All-American means everything to me. It’s an honor, really, it’s a blessing. I think I’m selected because of my work ethic and my consistency at Kohl’s Specialist Camps. I’m looking forward to being with the best players in the country and competing with them. Playing football on ESPN is awesome, and I’m really looking forward to doing it,” Horky said.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Horky is the No. 2 long snapper in the class.
Hand, who is one of three five-star prospects in Virginia in the 2014 class, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual game, a nationally-televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high-school seniors. The 2014 game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“I just want to thank God and my teammates for being here,” Hand said. “My friends, my dad, the principal, the faculty back there, thanks for coming out and supporting. ... I mean, this is an honor for me. I really don’t know what else to say, but I just can’t wait to show out in this game. Being down in Florida with all these guys with talent, I’ve just got to prepare for college.”
Woodbridge head coach Karibi Dede says he is excited that his star player gets to play against the nation's best.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach you. We are very thankful to the people at Under Armour as well as American Family Insurance for providing this great opportunity for a young man like himself. I’m really excited. The Under Armour All-America Game is the premier game in the country. To see him have the opportunity to go down where guys like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, …Jadeveon Clowney ... to go down and have that type of game against those type of players is phenomenal.”
For Hand, the chance to go against the best and prove doubters wrong is something he is looking forward to.
"The thing that excites me the most about the Under Armour All-America Game is going against some of the top players in the country -- in pads in an actual game. You don't really get to do that every day. Julio [Jones] and Jadeveon [Clowney], I want to be like the next person. I just want to leave my mark. The doubters out there are what motivate me. There are people that say that I’m just getting by or that I’m getting great stats because certain players aren’t as good as you, or the conference up here isn’t as good. You are in Virginia. You’re not in Florida or Georgia, Alabama or Louisiana. Those things fuel my engine and motivate me. I want to prove them wrong.”
The 6-foot-4, 262-pound Hand is the sixth-ranked prospect overall and the No. 2 defensive end in the class. He is considering Michigan, Alabama and Florida.
Medley, a Tennessee commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised game featuring the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“First off, I would like to thank Under Armour for the presentation they did and their game,” Medley said. “Secondly, I would like to thank Kohl's kicking. I would like to thank all my teammates, my coaches, my friends and the teachers … my four years here have been amazing and I couldn’t have done it without y’all and your support, so thank you. I would like to thank my parents. Believe it or not, many hours behind the wheel going to Atlanta and all these other camps. I may not say it often, but I do love you. I’m just very honored to play in this game, and it’s an honor that most people don’t get to get, and I’m just very blessed with the talents God gave me.”
Medley sees his selection to the game as a sign his hard work is paying off.
"Being an Under Armour All-American, it just feels great. It really shows that all of my hard work has paid off. I think I was selected because of the consistency that I’ve had in camps. I'm really excited to nationally represent Marshall County High School and the state of Tennessee."
The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Medley is a three-star prospect and the No. 1-ranked kicker in the class. He committed to Tennessee over offers from Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
Wunderlich, an Ole Miss commit, is one of 90 players who have been selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game presented by American Family Insurance, a nationally televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“First off, I would just like to thank Jamie Kohl of Kohl’s kicking for selecting me to play in the game,” Wunderlich said. “I wouldn't be where I am today without him. Next, I would like to thank my family ... they have sacrificed so much time for me. I would like to thank my friends and teammates, y’all are there for me everyday."
Playing in the Under Armour All-America Game will be Wunderlich's next step in realizing his dream to play college football.
“It’s going to be awesome," he said. "I’m a little nervous, but it’s an experience that not many get to do so I’m really blessed. It means a lot. I’ve been working hard and this has been one of my dreams ... to play college football. Coming to the Under Armour Game, I’m really looking forward to showing off my talent on national TV. I’ve had a really good high school career. Had a lot of fun.
"I’m really looking forward to going down to Orlando and just hanging out with the guys, playing against the best in America and showing off my talent.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Wunderlich is a three-star prospect and the No. 2-ranked kicker in the class. He committed to Ole Miss over Texas A&M and Virginia, among other schools.
ESPN 300 offensive tackle Alex Bars (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) was presented his honorary game jersey for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday. The event was part of the three-month jersey tour for the UA game.
Bars, a Notre Dame commit, is one of 90 players who have been selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
Montgomery Bell Academy head coach Marty Euverard said Bars is a special player and an even better person.
“I would like to congratulate Alex and his mom and dad," Euverard said. "Hard work does pay off, and Alex is a special football player, but more than that I’ve just watched him over the last three years ... he’s just an incredible young man off the field. I’m really proud to coach him.”
For Bars, the chance to play on ESPN against the top players in the country put the Under Armour All-America Game over the top.
"It’s awesome (playing on ESPN). You can’t beat it," he said. "I can’t wait, it’s going to be really cool. I want to see how I play against the best. I’m going to be coached by NFL coaches, play against the best players, and should be real cool and a lot of fun.”
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Bars is ranked the No. 51 overall prospect and No. 6 offensive tackle in the Class of 2014. He committed to Notre Dame over offers from Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, LSU and a host of others.
“I just want to thank God and my parents for everything they do for me every day,” Russell said.
For Russell, the chance to follow in the footsteps of current NFL stars made the UA game an easy choice.
"I'm looking forward to being able to play against some of the top players in the country, and getting an opportunity to play in a different state and area. It feels great. I hope we get the same opportunity as they did, and be able to play at the same level as they got to play at,” Russell said.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Russell is the No. 201 prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 15 defensive tackle in the class. He committed to Georgia over Auburn, Florida State, Florida, Stanford, Clemson and several others.
Prince, who has an official visit scheduled to Maryland this weekend, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I just want to thank the whole school, Bishop McNamara for allowing Under Armour to come here and do this for me,” Prince said. “This is really just been a testament for my hard work. I have been working real hard for this. This is something I prayed for and dreamed for.”
Bishop McNamara head coach and former Penn State linebacker Keith Goganious says the reasons for Prince’s success are easy to figure out.
“I think what makes Damian special is his work ethic and attitude,” Goganious said. “He’s very goal focused and he really wants to be successful.”
Along with the chance to play against the best, and follow in the footsteps of some of the stars of the game, Prince is excited to live out a dream at the Under Armour Game.
"I decided to accept the invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game because of the legends that have played in the game … A.J. Green, Jadeveon Clowney and Julio Jones -- they're awesome players. … I’m a competitor, I love to compete, and I’m ready to get down there and really gauge where my talent level is with the best players in the country.”
And the 6-foot-5, 286-pound tackle has special motivation for the game.
“What motivates me as a player and person is definitely my family, and the past what I have been through,” Prince said “Losing my great grandmother and great grandfather who raised me from the time I was born until they passed on, they really gave me everything that a kid could possibly asked for. … They said work hard, and just understand the importance of a good work ethic. I just really want to make them proud, and I know they are looking down right now, and I know today I’m definitely making them smile today.”
Prince is the No. 26 overall prospect and the No. 3 offensive tackle in the class. He is considering Maryland, Florida State, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and others.
Bessent, an Alabama commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised contest featuring the country’s top high school seniors. The game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“I would like to thank the coaching staff, all my coaches and teammates for supporting me,” he said.
Having a former teammate rave about the experience was big in Bessent's decision to play in the game.
"I just think it is a great game. I have seen the game on TV. A former player here, [Georgia freshman quarterback] Brice Ramsey, played in it and told me he liked it a lot. It's closer to home than the other game, and it is close enough that my parents and some of my friends and teammates can make it. I think it's a good accomplishment for me, and I'm very excited about it."
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Bessent is the No. 42 prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 7 cornerback in the class. He committed to Alabama over Florida, Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State and several others.
ESPN 300 outside linebacker Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn High) was presented his honorary was presented his honorary jersey for the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour.
Evans, who has officially visited UCLA, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual UA Game spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 game will be played at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“First off, I definitely would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity,” Evans said. “I also want to thank my family and friends, everybody who came out here to support me,”
Auburn High coach Tim Carter says Evans is the best of the three players the school has had selected to the UA Game.
“I would just like to say how thankful we are to be recognized again,” Carter said. “Rashaan will be our third player that has been selected in the short tenure of the Under Armour Game. We’ve had none better. He’s a great representative of high school football, he’ll do a great job in the game, and we’re real proud of him and what he has done here at Auburn High School.”
Evans believes his versatility was key in his selection to the prestigious game.
“I am definitely looking forward to the opportunity to play in this game against the top talent and showcase my skills,” Evans said. “I think I was picked because I’m pretty good on the field. I can do a few things, and I’m pretty versatile. I play both sides [of the ball]. Wide receiver, defensive end … and I also play some quarterback. I feel going into this thing it’s going to be pretty much a boxing match. … I’m definitely going to have fun, enjoy the process and just play.”
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Evans is the No. 84 prospect overall and the No. 3 outside linebacker in the class. He is considering Auburn, Alabama and Georgia, along with the Bruins.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Senior quarterback Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) was presented his honorary game jersey for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game at his high school on Friday during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour.
“I want to thank Under Armour and American Family Insurance for selecting me, and everyone else that has supported me and my family,” Watson said.
Gainesville High coach Bruce Miller says the Watson was an excellent choice.
“First of all, this couldn’t go to a more deserving person,” Miller said. “I tell people all the time he’s never played a JV down in football. I remember going to him when he was 14 years old as a freshman and saying I’m going to start you tonight, and by the way I’m going to start you against Buford. He went in and threw three touchdown passes, and as I like to say … the rest is history. Thank you, Deshaun, for everything you have done for us.”
The record-setting quarterback from the Peach State is eager to test himself against the rest of the top players in the nation.
"It’s just something I always dreamed about when I was little. I always thinking about playing in an All-American game, and the Under Armour All-America Game was the one game I always wanted to play in, so once I got the opportunity and invite I chose it,” Watson said. “Just being around all of the great players and learning new things … playing with the best and seeing all the best players from around the country. Being able to play with the best players in the country, interact with them, and have fun will be great."
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Watson is the No. 14 overall prospect and the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the class. He committed to Clemson over Auburn, Ohio State, Florida State and a number of others.
Clark, an Alabama commit, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I want to thank all the support, the whole school, community and teachers who have been behind me,” Clark said. “I also want to thank my coaches, my family, my mom and dad who’ve always been there for me helping me with my college decision,”
Calera High head coach Wiley McKeller says there is no way to replace what his star player has brought to Calera, on and off the field.
“I get asked a lot because it’s funny because the seasons not over yet, but I get asked a lot by media people and people in the community … what are you going to do when Ronnie is gone? How do you replace Ronnie Clark? The short answer is, you don’t. I tell him all the time I appreciate everything you do for our program, the way you carry yourself and not just athletically, but for being a great young man. And I really do appreciate it.”
The chance to play and practice against the best in the country is an honor Clark knows many would love to have, and he is taking advantage of it.
“I mean, you are on ESPN. You’re getting a chance to play against the top guys in the country,” Clark said. “Going down there, just competing and having fun. It’s a one time thing, a lot of kids don’t get to do and they would die to have the situation I’m in, and I’m blessed.”
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Clark is the No. 100 ranked prospect overall, and the No. 12 athlete in the class. He committed to Alabama over Auburn, Clemson, LSU, USC, Tennessee and a number of others.