Torrance, Calif. – Four highly-honored football players from Texas plus three from California, Washington and New Jersey are among 30 elite high school athletes who have been selected to the 2005 EA SPORTS All-American High School Football Team.
Leading the group of Texans is quarterback Matthew Stafford from Highland Park High of Dallas, our choice as the 2005 EA SPORTS National Player of the Year.
Coming from the same famed high school in Texas that is the home of all-time great quarterbacks Bobby Layne and Doak Walker, Stafford is the third Texas quarterback to win the national player of the year honor in the last five years. The other two have been Vince Young of Houston Madison in 2001, who led the University of Texas to the 2005 national title, and Chase Daniel of FAB 50 No. 1 Southlake Carroll just last season.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Stafford, who enrolled in early January at the University of Georgia, capped his three-year Highland Park career by completing 207 of 331 passes for 4,013 yards and 38 touchdowns with only six interceptions. He also rushed for seven scores. He missed two of 15 games with an early season injury which makes his numbers even more remarkable.
Last summer, Stafford attended the EA SPORTS Elite 11 Quarterback Camp (produced by Student Sports) along with several others who wound up as national player of the year candidates and was regarded by many as having the best arm of the bunch. Stafford was voted the camp's MVP by the camp's counselors, who also happened to have been some of the top college quarterbacks in the country this season.
Stafford led Highland Park to its first state football title since 1957. The Scots capped a 15-0 record season by posting the biggest blowout ever in an 11-man state title game, a 59-0 rout of Marshall for the Class 4A-Division 1 crown.
"We're proud to honor these young men and are looking forward to seeing these players continue to compete at a high level as they move on in their football careers," said Brian Movalson, EA SPORTS Senior Brand Manager. "The EA SPORTS All-Americans represent the best in the game in high school athletics."
The annual EA SPORTS All-American Team is selected by the editors of Student Sports, which have compiled national rankings in numerous sports for more than 15 years. The format for the team calls for it not to be selected until all teams have finished their seasons, which makes the EA SPORTS honors more reflective of players who led their teams to state championships. The teams also are chosen after almost all of the numerous all-state teams around the country have been released.
Also named along with the players as the EA SPORTS National Coach of the Year is Ricky Woods from South Panola High of Batesville, Miss.
Woods guided the Tigers to Mississippi's first Class 5A title three-peat while extending the team's winning streak to 45 games, the third longest in the nation, with another 15-0 record campaign and a final No. 8 position in the Student Sports FAB 50 rankings. The Tigers beat every opponent by double figures, including a 52-14 finals rout of Meridian.
Woods is 59-1 at South Panola with the lone loss in the 2002 title game before the current run. He inherited a 5-6 record team after guiding Ackerman High, his alma mater, to two state titles in 1997 and 2001 -- the first of five straight final berths for the coach. His overall 17-year coaching record at the two schools is 189-40.
Here are the bios for all 30 players selected to this year's squad:
WR -- Hakeem Nicks (Independence, Charlotte NC) 6-2, 205, Sr.
The North Carolina recruit helped the Patriots win their sixth straight state Class 4-AA title and extend the nation's longest active win streak to 92 games. He caught 93 passes for a state-best 1,819 yards and scored 20 TDs -- 10 in the playoffs. Named MVP of state finals, he accounted for 307 all-purpose yards – 205 receiving with two TDs plus 102 on returns vs. New Bern.
WR/TE -- Jermaine Gresham (Ardmore OK) 6-7, 230, Sr.
The four-year starter led the Tigers to a 12-1 record by landing 70 passes for 1,185 yards and 24 touchdowns despite constant attention from opposing defenses. He's also an all-state basketball player and is considered the nation's No. 1-ranked tight end by Rivals.com. Uncommitted for college at time of selection.
OL -- Carl Johnson (Southern, Durham NC) 6-6, 345, Sr.
The University of Florida recruit was a two-time all-state honoree who helped team to a 12-1 record as a senior. He was considered the state player of the year by some in North Carolina, which is rare for a lineman. He graded 92% on blocking efficiency this season. Posted a 56.87 SPARQ Rating at the NIKE Camp in Athens, where he ran a 5.29 in the 40 and benched 30 reps of 185 pounds.
OL – Steve Schilling (Bellevue WA) 6-5, 295, Sr.
Schilling was the dominant force up front the last two years for Bellevue, which in 2004 was one of the top-ranked teams in the nation but in 2005 was upset in the state playoffs. Schilling routinely pushed defenders more than 10 yards down the field and was equally effective blocking for either the run or the pass. He also was one of Washington's top defensive linemen. Committed to Michigan.
OL -- Andre Smith (Huffman, Birmingham AL) 6-4, 325, Sr.
He recently became the first offensive lineman selected for Alabama Mr. Football in its 23 years of existence. The man-child is a two-time all-state honoree who graded at 95% blocking efficiency this season while not allowing a sack. He has the speed and quickness to become a dominant pulling or trapping guard at the next level. Uncommitted for college at time of selection. Ran a 5.20 in the 40 and benched 28 reps at the NIKE Camp in Athens, where he finished with a 60.41 SPARQ Rating.
OL--Connor Smith (Colerain, Cincinnati OH) 6-6, 300, Sr.
The Ohio State recruit earned all-state honors this season after helping the Cardinals to an unbeaten state Division 1 title as a junior and anchoring a FAB 50 ranked tea this season. A touted run-blocker, he was named district offensive player of the year -- a rarity for a lineman. Smith also was picked as Ohio's Gatorade state player of the year.
OL--Sam Young (St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale FL) 6-8, 305, Sr.
Another big-time lineman who was considered a player of the year in his state, the difference about Young is that his state is Florida. A two-time all-state honoree for teams that finished runnerup in the Class 5A state playoffs the last two seasons, he graded 91% on blocking efficiency this season and didn't allow a sack as a junior or senior. Committed to Notre Dame.
QB -- Matt Stafford (Highland Park, Dallas TX) 6-3, 225, Sr.
Another bonus for Stafford in our selection process was the Georgia-bound standout being named the Dallas Morning News Offensive Player of the Year in a vote over several other strong candidates, including fellow EA SPORTS All-American Greg McElroy, the quarterback for No. 1 Southlake Carroll, along with 3,000-yard running back Dimitri Nance from Euless Trinity.
RB -- Toby Gerhart (Norco CA) 6-1, 225, Sr.
On his way to Stanford where he'll play both football and baseball, Gerhart led California with 3,225 yards rushing and scored 39 touchdowns. He also shattered the state career rushing record with 9,662 yards, a mark that also ranks among the top three on the all-time national list. Gerhart also is No. 1 in his senior class academically with a GPA well above 4.0.
RB -- Knowshon Moreno (South, Middletown NJ) 6-0, 205, Sr.
New Jersey's all-time leading scorer capped a four-year career with record-breaking numbers as South won its third straight state title and pushed its win streak to 36 games. Despite missing two games with a sprained ankle, Moreno rushed for 1,808 yards on 185 carries and scored 43 TDs in 10 games to push his career marks to 128 TDs and 782 points. His career rushing total of 6,268 yards is second all-time in Jersey as well. Uncommitted for college at time of selection.
RB -- Chris Wells (Garfield, Akron OH) 6-2, 225, Sr.
The MVP of the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, where he scored three TDs for the winning East team, the Ohio State recruit capped a productive senior season by rushing 223 times for 2,134 yards and 27 TDs in 10 games. Career-wise, he carried 598 times for 5,232 yards and 61 scores and also landed 37 passes for 408 yards and three TDs.
K -- Richard Jackson (Riverside, Greer SC) 5-11, 185, Sr.
The Clemson recruit set a state record with a 64-yard field goal, best in the U.S. last season, and in the samegame he connected on a 47-yarder. He also connected on a 50-yarder among his nine field goals. Jackson also averaged over 40 yards on punts.
DL -- Eddie Jones (Kilgore TX) 6-4, 240, Sr.
The University of Texas recruit earned state Class 4A all-state honors after charting 95 tackles this season, including 11 sacks plus 11 tackles for losses. He also returned two fumbles for TDs. Called "a real All-American" by head coach Mike Vallery, Jones has 4.7 speed in the 40 and is regarded by college scouts as one of the top defensive ends in the nation.
DL -- Gerald McCoy (Southeast, Oklahoma City OK) 6-5, 285, Sr.
The all-state honoree recorded 80 tackles, including 28 solo stops, and had 18 sacks this last season. He also forced 11 fumbles and
returned one of five recovered fumbles for a TD. McCoy did 26 reps on the bench and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds at the Fort Worth Nike Football Training Camp. Uncommitted for college at time of selection.
DL -- Robert Rose (Glenville, Cleveland OH) 6-4, 250, Sr.
The latest standout from Glenville's factory of talent is Rose, who led one of the top teams in Ohio in tackles for loss as well as sacks. The Ohio State recruit was a first team all-state honoree who also could be tried at the next level as a tight end. Clocked a 4.71 40 at the NIKE Camp in Blacksburg, finishing with a 66.71 SPARQ Rating.
LB -- Allen Bradford (Colton CA) 6-0, 220, Sr.
Roamed all over the field for his team last season for an average of 13 tackles per game and is considered the best two-way prospect from his area of the state since current NFL player Chris Claiborne. On offense, Bradford rushed for 1,869 yards and scored 35 touchdowns. Committed to USC. Named MVP of the NIKE Camp in Los Angeles, recording a 77.71 SPARQ Rating while clocking a 4.54 in the 40 and benching 25 reps.
LB -- Brandon Graham (Crockett, Detroit MI) 6-2, 250, Sr.
The three-year starter, and University of Michigan recruit, was an all-state honoree as a senior after recording 83 solo tackles in 11 games with two interceptions, six fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He also played offensive line, punted, kicked off and was the placekicker. Was selected MVP at the NIKE Camp in Ann Arbor, clocking a 4.63 in the 40 and benching 28 reps for a 70.53 SPARQ Rating.
LB -- Micah Johnson (Fort Campbell KY) 6-2, 260, Sr.
The University of Kentucky recruit was the state's Mr. Football honoree and two-time all-state selection. He charted 120 tackles and forced five fumbles this season after recording 173 tackles as a junior. On offense, the running back rushed for 1,270 yards and 29 TDs.
LB -- Sergio Kindle (Woodrow Wilson, Dallas TX) 6-4, 225, Sr.
If we had offensive and defensive players of the year instead of just one player of the year, the Dallas area might have swept it with Stafford on offense and Kindle on defense. Kindle was that good this year, too. The Texas Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year earned first team all-state on defense and second team on offense. He had 115 tackles, including 34 solo stops, and 31 for losses. As a tailback, he rushed 218 times for 2,298 yards and 40 TDs. Committed to the University of Texas.
DB -- Reshad Jones (Washington, Atlanta GA) 6-2, 195, Sr.
The highly-touted and recruited safety was selected Georgia's Class 4A defensive player of the year and first team all-state player after he impressed with his hard-hitting stops and coverage during the last three years. Uncommitted for college at time of selection. Recorded a 77.49 SPARQ Rating at the NIKE Camp in Athens.
DB -- Taylor Mays (O'Dea, Seattle WA) 6-3, 220, Sr.
The Southern California recruit was a do-it-all last season for his team. The all-stater was in on 166 tackles and intercepted five passes which were returned for 98 yards. On offense, he landed 36 passes for 765 yards and 11 TDs and also rushed for three scores. Mays was a state champion sprinter in track as a sophomore and during the spring was one of the most freakish athletes seen on the national Nike Camp tour, clocking a 4.59 in the 40 and benching 21 reps at the NIKE Camp in Stanford.
DB -- Antwine Perez (Woodrow Wilson, Camden NJ) 6-2, 200, Sr.
The University of Southern California recruit was an all-state honoree and South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded 82 tackles, with 50 solo stops, and six interceptions, 10 pass breakups, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
DB – Myron Rolle (Hun School, Princeton NJ) 6-2, 214, Sr.
After a phenomenal junior year that saw him gain state player of the year recognition on defense, Rolle didn't have the same numbers as a senior but was avoided like the plague by opponents and can still be a first-team All-American since New Jersey's other top defender (Antwine Perez) also is on this team. Rolle, who is headed to Florida State, clocked 4.53 in the 40 and posted a 80.55 SPARQ Rating at the 2005 State College NIKE Camp. He also has a 4.0 GPA.
P -- Kai Forbath (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks CA) 6-0, 185, Sr.
Last year's first-team kicker gains a repeat nod this year as the first-team punter. Forbath, regarded by many as the top kicker in the nation, didn't have as many field goals this year, but that was due more to his team scoring touchdowns than any fault of his own. He averaged more than 40 yards as a punter. Forbath has committed to UCLA.
WR/DB/KR -- Percy Harvin (Landstown, Virginia Beach VA) 6-1, 185, Sr.
The University of Florida recruit capped a productive prep career with two all-state honors. He landed 75 passes for 1,313 yards and 14 TDs, rushed 57 times for 504 yards and scored 19 TDs rushing or returns. Career-wise, Harvin landed 173 passes for 2,935 yards and 42 scores, rushed for 1,194 yards and scored 35 TDs by rushing or returns. He was considered the nation's top college prospect by many at the start of the season with comparisons to 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush of USC.
QB/RB/DB -- Jake Locker (Ferndale WA) 6-3, 210, Sr.
The state Class 3A Player of the Year led his team to a 14-0 record and state title while being ranked No. 17 in the Student Sports FAB 50. The University of Washington recruit accounted for 52 touchdowns in an all-around effort. Locker completed 70 of 119 passes for 1,579 yards and 26 TDs with only one interception. He also rushed 127 times for 1,338 yards and 24 scores. On defense, he returned two of five interceptions for TDs.
QB/RB – Greg McElroy (Carroll, Southlake TX) 6-2, 212, Sr.
McElroy is more highly-regarded for college than 2004 Southlake Carroll QB Chase Daniel. Like Daniel, he can run out of the pocket when pressured or on running plays since often no running backs are in the Carroll backfield. McElroy was the Class 5A state offensive player of the year. He connected on 308 of 458 passes for 4,636 yards and 56 touchdowns. Committed to Alabama. Had a 68.51 SPARQ Rating at the NIKE Camp in Fort Worth.
QB/RB--Mitch Mustain (Springdale AR) 6-2, 200, Sr.
Mustain, who has received a bulk of the postseason national player of the year honors, led his unbeaten team to a 14-0 record, a state Class AAAAA title and No. 2 Student Sports FAB 50 ranking. He completed 190 of 270 passes for a state 5A record 3,817 yards and 47 TDs with only six interceptions. He also rushed for seven scores and was only sacked twice. In two years as starter, he passed for 5,986 yards and 67 TDs in 27 games. Mustain's time in almost every game he played was cut short due to his team being so far ahead. He's committed to Arkansas.
RB/DB -- Jake Sharp (Central, Salina KS) 5-10, 185, Sr.
The nation's leading scorer led the Mustangs to a 13-0 record and state Class 5A title. A Kansas University recruit, Sharp set a state record with 63 TDs, including 57 rushing, while gaining 3,304 yards on 319 carries. Career-wise, he rushed for 6,524 yards -- second best in state history, on 786 carries and scored 108 TDs. Had a 86.84 SPARQ Rating at the NIKE Camp in Manhattan, clocking a 4.50 in the 40 and posting a 34.5 inch vertical jump.
QB/RB--Tim Tebow (Nease, Ponte Vedra Beach FL) 6-3, 225, Sr.
The lefthanded University of Florida recruit led his team to a 13-2 record and first-ever state Class 4A title with his arm and feet. Despite missing much of three games with an ankle injury, he completed 215 of 338 passes for 3,324 yards and 31 TDs with only four interceptions. He also rushed 183 times for 1,150 yards and 20 scores. In the title game victory over two-time defending champion Seffner Armwood, he passed for 259 yards and four TDs and rushed for 170 yards and two scores. Posted a superb 96.92 SPARQ Rating at the NIKE Camp in Tallahassee, benching 39 reps and clocking a 4.69 in the 40.
Second Team All-America Offense
WR -- David Ausberry (Lemoore CA) 6-4, 215, Sr.
WR – Damian Williams (Springdale AR) 6-1, 180, Sr.
OL -- Justin Anderson (Irwin County, Ocilla GA) 6-5, 340, Sr.
OL -- Justin Boren (North, Pickerington OH) 6-4, 315,Sr.
OL -- Matt Carufel (Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul MN) 6-5, 290, Sr.
OL -- Jacques McClendon (Baylor, Chattanooga TN) 6-3, 315, Sr.
OL – J'Marcus Webb (North Mesquite, Mesquite TX) 6-8, 285, Sr.
QB – Jevan Snead (Stephenville TX) 6-3, 210, Sr.
RB -- Delone Carter (Copley OH) 5-11, 200, Sr.
RB -- Dimitri Nance (Trinity, Euless, TX) 5-10, 195, Sr.
RB -- C.J. Spiller (Union County, Lake Butler FL) 5-10,185, Sr.
K -- Jimmy Stevens (Heritage Hall, Oklahoma City OK) 5-7, 155, Jr.
Second Team All-America Defense
DL -- Jamie Cumbie (Morris IL) 6-7, 255, Sr.
DL -- Maurice Evans (Christ the King, Middle Village NY), 6-3, 250, Sr.
DL -- Butch Lewis (Regis, Aurora CO) 6-7, 295, Sr.
DL – Jared Odrick (Lebanon PA) 6-6, 300, Sr.
DL -- Ricky Sapp (Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Bamberg SC) 6-5, 225, Sr.
LB -- Akeem Hebron (Good Counsel, Wheaton MD) 6-2, 205, Sr.
LB -- Lamarr Houston (Doberty, Colorado Springs CO) 6-3, 255, Sr.
LB -- Brandon Spikes (Crest, Shelby NC) 6-4, 235, Sr.
DB -- Marcus Ball (Stephenson, Stone Mountain GA) 6-0, 205, Sr.
DB -- Darian Hagan (Crenshaw, Los Angeles CA) 5-11, 180, Sr.
DB -- Stafon Johnson (Dorsey, Los Angeles CA) 6-0, 205, Sr.
P -- Ryan Donahue (St. Rita, Chicago IL) 6-3, 195, Sr.
Second Team All-America Multi-Purpose
RB/LB/PK -- John Dergo (Morris IL) 6-0, 192, Sr.
RB/DB -- C.J. Gable (Sylmar CA) 5-11, 180, Sr.
QB/RB -- Cody Hawkins (Bishop Kelly, Boise UT) 5-11, 180, Sr.
QB/RB/DB – Abrahim Muheize (El Cajon Valley, El Cajon CA) 6-0, 170, Sr.
QB/DB – Riley Nelson (Logan UT) 6-1, 200, Sr.
RB/WR/KR -- Kyle Williams (Chaparral, Scottsdale AZ) 5-9, 180, Sr.
Third Team All-America Offense
WR -- Vidal Hazelton (Hargrave, Chatham VA) 6-3, 200, Sr.
WR -- A.J. Green (Summerville SC) 6-4, 180, Soph.
OL -- Jake Bscherer (Sturgeon Bay WI) 6-7, 280, Sr.
OL -- Gabe Carimi (Monona Grove, Monona WI) 6-7, 270, Sr.
OL -- Clifton Geathers (Carver's Bay, Hemingway SC) 6-7, 280, Sr.
OL -- Chad Roark (Ada OK) 6-2, 290, Sr.
OL -- Chris Stewart (Klein TX) 6-6, 340, Sr.
QB -- Justin Burke (Lexington Catholic, Lexington KY) 6-2, 195, Sr.
RB -- John Clay (Washington Park, Racine WI) 6-2, 220, Jr.
RB -- Keith Payne (Oakton, Vienna VA) 6-2, 215, Sr.
RB -- Marc Tyler (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village CA) 6-1, 210, Jr.
PK--Matt Bosher (Jupiter FL) 6-1, 180, Sr.
Third Team All-America Defense
DL – Bart Eddins (Trinity, Montgomery AL) 6-4, 260, Sr.
DL -- Corey Hobbs (Oviedo FL) 6-5, 310, Sr.
DL -- Marcus Tillman (Franklin County, Meadville MS) 6-4, 255, Sr.
DL -- Al Woods (Elton LA) 6-4, 330, Sr.
LB -- Troy Johnson (Lakeland FL) 6-2, 200, Sr.
LB -- Jarrell Miller (Highland Springs VA) 6-3, 235, Sr.
LB -- Michael Morgan (Skyline, Dallas TX) 6-2, 200, Sr.
LB -- Chris Strong (South Panola, Batesville MS) 6-2, 240, Jr.
DB -- Joe McKnight (John Curtis, River Ridge LA) 5-11, 180, Jr.
DB -- Prince Miller (Byrnes, Duncan SC) 5-10, 180, Sr.
DB -- A.J. Wallace (McDonough, Pomfret MD) 6-0, 195, Sr.
P -- Brett Upson (Spalding, Griffin GA) 5-10, 185, Sr.
Third Team All-America Multi-Purpose
RB/DB/KR -- Josh Culbertson (Nitro WV) 5-9, 192, Sr.
QB/RB -- Pat Devlin (Downingtown East, Exton PA) 6-3, 200, Sr.
QB/RB -- Matt Edmonds (Mustang OK) 5-6, 160, Sr.
QB/RB/DB – Jason Harris (Skyline, Sammamish, WA) 6-1, 205, Sr.
QB/RB -- Willy Korn (Byrnes, Duncan SC) 6-2, 200, Jr.
QB/RB -- Jeff Tarpinian (Millard North, Omaha NE) 6-3, 205, Sr.
EA SPORTS National
Junior Player of the Year
John Clay (Washington Park, Racine WI)
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound tailback-linebacker not only was a repeat first team all-state selection this season but a unanimous choice as state Player of the Year. In fact, some veteran state observers are asking if he might be the best player ever from Wisconsin. Clay led the Panthers to a 13-1 record and a state Division 1 title while rushing for a finals' record 259 yards and three TDs on 19 carries in a 28-9 rout of Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln. Park rallied from a 9-7 third quarter deficit with Clay breaking TD runs of 70 and 65 yards. Despite missing 2 1/2 games with an ankle sprain, Clay carried 166 times for 2,032 yards and 30 TDs including 14 on runs of 40 yards or more.
EA SPORTS National
Sophomore Player of the Year
A.J. Green (Summerville SC)
Already a two-time, first team all-state selection, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound wide receiver-defensive back-kick returner helped the Green Wave to a 12-3 record and into the state Class 4A-Big 16 finals against Gaffney, which prevailed 33-32. In that game, Green landed four passes for 86 yards and a TD and had another score nullified by penalty. He also rushed three times for 35 yards and impressed at cornerback. On the season, he landed 75 passes for 1,422 yards and 16 TDs and scored on defense and punt returns. As a freshman, he caught 57 passes for 1,217 yards and eight scores. May be the best player yet to come from legendary head coach John McKissick's program. He's been the Summerville coach for 54 years.
About EA SPORTS
EA SPORTS, the leading interactive sports software brand in the world, delivers real sports simulation games for sports fans. With EA SPORTS "if it's in the game...it's in the game." EA SPORTS is a brand of Electronic Arts (EA), the world's leading independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for personal computers and advanced entertainment systems. Top-selling titles and franchises include FIFA Soccer, Madden NFL Football, NCAA Football, NBA® LIVE Basketball, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® Golf, and MVP Baseball. The EA SPORTS All-American program honors the nation's top high school football players and, in conjunction with Student Sports, recognizes the top student-athletes for their achievements both on and off the field.
About Student Sports
Based in Torrance, Calif., Student Sports has been the leader in high school sports coverage since 1979 with divisions specializing in events, marketing, television and the Internet. In addition to providing content for SPARQ Magazine, the nation¹s No. 1 high school sports publication focusing on performance training, the company also provides editorial information for several major Web sites including StudentSports.com (www.studentsports.com) and StudentSportsFootball.com, part of the Rivals.com Network of sports team and affinity sites. The company also publishes an array of newsletters and record books including the "National High School Football Record Book" and "National High School Boys Basketball Record Book." Student Sports also creates and implements such events as the Nike Football Training Camps and the EA SPORTS Elite 11 Quarterback Camp. The company also earned four Emmy Awards for its "Inside Cal-Hi Sports" show and has developed TV programming airing on ESPN, CSTV, and ESPN2, including the "EA SPORTS Elite 11 Quarterback Show."