COVINGTON, Ga. -- As August approaches, a lot of the football talent in the class of 2017 is preparing to hit the field in college stadiums across the country, while the class of 2018 is looking to shine in their last year of high school football.
“It’s our moment now,” is a phrase that echoes proudly with each year’s class advancing to the top of the high school chain. If they haven’t already committed to play football at a college, they are either working hard to get more offers, or they are waiting for the right time to decide where to spend the next four years of their lives.
However, in recent years, the seniors are not the only ones getting looked at recruiting wise. Sure, we have seen the craziness of middle schoolers picking up offers, but recruiting the underclassman and juniors in high school is a trend that has taken a noticeable climb in recent years.
This mindset is what inspired former Grayson coach Kenyatta Watson to create a showcase for this season’s juniors and sophomores with the monikers True 19 and True 2.0 respectively.
Two Newton Rams, offensive lineman Kendrick Carlton and ATH Mike Mathison, were selected for the True 19 game – an accolade praised by Newton head coach Terrence Banks.
“These two young men are good football players who show potential to play at the next level,” Banks said. “They have shown the skills necessary to step up and become leaders on this team.”
Both Mathison and Carlton echoed what an honor it was to be selected for a game like this while looking forward to showcasing their abilities.
“The benefit of participating in a game is that I can get seen more and just show my talents to the best of my ability,” Carlton said. “I’m looking to get more skill experience and just the ability to get to know people better.”
Exposure is also on the mind of Mathison, who has another huge goal in mind for the game.
“In the game, I’m looking for an opportunity to make a statement,” he said.
Banks is looking forward to the potential exposure that this game will give his two players as well.
“Like all All-star games, this gives them a chance to compete against the best players in their class,” he said. “Exposure is always good.”
The game will take place on January 14 according to Carlton, but for both him and Mathison, the 2017 football season comes first, and they are looking forward to a few things this fall.
“I’m looking forward to playing my hardest with the people who love me as much as I love them, and winning this championship,” Carlton said.
“This season we are going to war,” Mathison said. “I think this year we are more together as a team, and it’s going to be hard for anyone to stop us.”
A strong fall campaign could certainly be a momentum builder for both of these athletes heading into this All-Star game, which could lead to a huge impact in their recruiting processes long before their final season of high school football even starts.