With the increasing number of national high school all-star games in recent years, some of the luster had been lost off the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) North-South Game. But that’s not the case this year. Some of the state’s best players have signed up for Georgia’s annual all-star showcase, which will be played this afternoon at 2 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
AJC Super 11 selections Jay Rome (tight end, Valdosta) and Xzavier Dickson (defensive end, Griffin) highlight rosters that include four-star wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell of Valdosta, four-star offensive tackle Xzavier Ward of Colquitt County, four Georgia Tech commitments and three Georgia commitments.
Part of the reason for the impressive lineup is Georgia players this year are allowed to play in more than one all-star game. Dickson, Mitchell and Rome are also playing in the Under Armour All-America game next week in Florida. Several players played the week before Christmas in county all-star games in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett.
But as I’ve noted since national signing day last February, Georgia’s class of 2011 is loaded and that’s indicative in the GACA game. Other notables in playing this afternoon include record-setting quarterback Taylor Heineke of Collins Hill, record-setting wide receiver Demarco Robinson of M.L. King, Georgia Tech-bound running backs Zach Laskey of Starr’s Mill and Broderick Snoddy of Carrollton, Georgia-bound safeties Corey Moore and Chris Sanders, AJC Class AAAA Offensive Player of the Year Josh Clemons and Auburn commitment C.J. Uzomah.
Here’s a link to the full roster. Stay tuned for details from the game.
Of course, the North-South Game is just one of many all-star games being conducted all over the South during this holiday season. On Dec. 17, there was the Shrine Bowl between star players from North Carolina and South Carolina in Spartanburg, S.C. (South Carolina won 42-10, for what it’s worth). This Friday there is the fifth annual Offense-Defense Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., (4 p.m.) and the inaugural NUC “All-World Gridiron Classic” in Charleston, S.C. (6 p.m.).
Georgians playing in the O-D Bowl include AJC Super 11 WR Chris Conley of North Paulding (UGA commit), LB Amarlo Herrera of North Clayton (UGA), LB Justin Garrett of Tucker (Auburn) and OL Kyle Harris of Pepperell (South Carolina).
The NUC roster includes 11 Georgians: TE Christian Reeves of McDonough (Virginia Tech), LB Jabari Hunt-Days of Powder Springs (Georgia Tech), DB Ra’Chard Pippens of McDonough (Stanford), DE Barron Dixon of Alpharetta (undecided), OL Alan Posey of Athens (Tennessee), DB David Stevenson of Stone Mountain (UConn), RB Zarold Wilder of Powder Springs (undecided), DB Kadetrix Marcus of Stone Mountain (South Carolina), DB Jared Boyd of Stone Mountain (Duke), OL David Andrews of Alpharetta (Georgia) and OL Watts Dantzler of Dalton (Georgia).
Speaking of the O-D Bowl, Georgia-bound quarterback Christian LeMay of Matthews, N.C., was orginally slated to play for the East team. But the midyear enrollee, who completed his high school education via home schooling, was ruled ineligible because he practiced with the Bulldogs during bowl preparations on campus before Christmas. LeMay was replaced on the East roster by quarterback Vad Lee of Durham, N.C., a Georgia Tech commitment. Lee said in a Rivals.com report he and LeMay are actually pretty good friends.
Next week comes the truly national all-star games. I’ll be at the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday (Jan. 5, ESPN). Three days later the “granddaddy” of high school all-star games — the U.S. Army All-American Bowl — will be played in San Antonio, Tex. (Jan. 8, NBC). The best of the best from Georgia will be represented in both games.
Ten Georgians will participate in the Under Armour, which begins practices this weekend in Orlando. They are Carver-Columbus RB Isaiah Crowell (undecided), Pope OL Thomas O’Reilly (Auburn), Carver-Columbus DT Gabe Wright (undecided), Troup RB Quan Bray (undecided), Tucker LB James Vaughters (Stanford), Mitchell County WR Justin Scott-Wesley (Georgia), Dickson, Mitchell and Rome (all undecided). Several of those guys are considering making their college announcements during the game, so be sure to tune in.
Six “Peach-staters” will be in San Antonio: East Hall DE Sterling Bailey (Georgia), Thomas County Central DE Ray Drew (undecided) Griffin DB Corey Moore (Georgia), Grady DB Damian Swann (undecided), Monroe Area DE Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame) and Eagles Landing Christian DB Avery Walls (California). Georgia commitment Zach DeBell, an offensive tackle from Tarpon Springs, Fla., will also play in that game.
So as you can see, there is a lot of postseason football activity going on the next couple of weeks. I’ll be following it all very closely so check back here often for updates.
College Recruiting By Chip Towers