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National All-Star football events

As the footballs are put up or another season, the champions are crowned in all eight classes and fans are dreaming of next year, it is now time to start focusing on the all-star games. The reward for top-flight seniors from across the country.

While Florida is always in the spotlight when it comes to producing quality players, and teams - thanks to St. Thomas Aquinas, Northwestern and Lakeland, winning the past four national titles, it is now time to showcase the individual talent that we have the honor of watching for 17 weeks each fall.

Over the next week, players from the South Florida will “represent” from Texas to South Carolina and right here in Florida to match skills against the very best from across the country. Welcome to the all-star games, where stars are born and great players leave a mark for thousands to follow behind.

While it is certainly no mistake that South Florida is one of the best when it comes to producing football talent, we take a few knocks from those “experts” who continue to want to put our style of football down. Many believe that California, Texas, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania can stand toe-to-toe with the players from this region when it comes to football. That is something that will be debated yearly. But the one thing on our side is these all-star games, which feature the best from across the country.

Turn on your TV sets over the next week or so and you will have the opportunity to watch high school football seniors from every corner of the country on display. See if you can spot the South Florida kids - they are usually the ones running for a touchdown, making a game-saving tackle of picking a ball off and taking it to the house!

Here is a look at the 15 players headed to these nationally-televised showcase events:

This Friday, Jan. 2, the Offense-Defense game will take place with Myrtle Beach, S.C. being the site for this year’s event.

Last year, this was the final game played in the fabled Orange Bowl, and after low attendance, the game was moved on to South Carolina, and 4 South Floridians will be on display.

Among those from the region include Miramar quarterback Eugene Smith (West Virginia), receiver Stedmon Bailey (West Virginia) and lineman Morell Pierre, and Columbus defensive end Caesar Rodriguez.

On Saturday, Jan. 3, the annual Army All-American contest will take place in San Antonio, and while many of the nation’s elite players are no longer just headed to this game, there are 4 South Floridians who will have the opportunity to make a major statement.

Among those in the game include Palm Beach Central linebacker Jon Bostic, Pompano Beach Ely defensive back Michael Carter, West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman kicker Brendan Gibbons (Michigan) and Plantation defensive back Brandon McGee, who will enroll at the University of Miami in the next few weeks.

On Sunday night, Jan. 4, Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, the football capitol of the state, will hold yet another event - when the Under Armor All-American Game will take place for the second straight year in Orlando. Last year, the game, which was born from the MSL Sports East Meets West game from two years ago, will showcase a number of South Floridians.

Among the 7 locals in the game are Palmetto running back Jamaal Berry (Ohio State), Hallandale quarterback Victor Marc (USF) and defensive back Ricardo Dixon (USF), St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Duron Carter (Ohio State), Pahokee’s Nu’keese Richardson (Florida), Gulliver Prep linebacker Frankie Telfort and Columbus defensive tackle Antwan Lowery (Rutgers).

LARRY BLUSTEIN
Lblustein@miamiherald.com

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