Local players picked for all-star game
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – It’ll be Georgia vs. Texas.
In January, some of the best high-school players in Georgia and Florida will get together for a trio of all-star games in Dallas, and a number of local football players will be involved.
Earlier this year, the True 19 Georgia vs. Texas Sophomore Showdown was held in Atlanta.
The game involved players from those two states who will graduate in 2019.
The True 19 game will return in January, but there will also be a True 2.0 game featuring teams from Georgia and Texas that will include players from the class of 2020.
Also, players from Georgia and Florida set to graduate in 2019 will play in another all-star game.
So that will be three all-star games, back-to-back, played in Dallas.
Keiondre Jones, Nathan Sapp, Cartavious Bigsby and Jacob Freeman will represent Callaway in the games, while Troup’s Joko Willis, King Mwikuta, Kobe Hudson and Andy Boykin will also participate.
The founder of the True 19 and True 20 all-star games is coach Kenyatta Watson.
The first game was held at Grady Stadium in Atlanta,.
Watson said “it was amazing,” and he felt it was a beneficial experience for the players.
“It exceeded all my expectations,” Watson said. “We had a lot of the top guys from here, and a lot of the top guys in the state of Texas.”
Watson added that “it’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it. The smiles on the kids’ faces make it worth it. The big thing was an opportunity to meet kids from Texas.”
Tryouts were held recently for players interested in playing in one of the True all-star games in January.
Watson said the organizers looked at the tryouts, and also at game footage to determine the rosters.
“We tried to combine the two, and get the best player we can to compete with Texas,” Watson said.
Watson added that “you don’t get it right 100 percent of the time. It’s about trying to get the best players.”
A year ago, the Georgia team showed its strength when it beat Texas 35-7 at Grady Stadium.
There was plenty of star power on display, and that extended to the sidelines, with Michael Vick serving as an assistant coach for the Texas squad.
The day before the all-star game, the two teams visited the University of Georgia campus, and head coach Kirby Smart extended offers to a handful of players.
Since things went so well, Watson decided to add two more games for year two.
“That’s my biggest thing is giving them an opportunity to see kids from another state, see how Georgia measures up,” Watson said.
The Georgia teams will be buoyed by the presence of a number of local players.
From Troup, Willis and Mwikuta will be a part of the games featuring the players from the class of 2019.
Willis and Mwikuta, who will be juniors this season, are both linebackers for the Tigers.
Participating in the True 20 game from Troup will be Hudson and Boykin.
Hudson is a wide receiver, and he had a breakout freshman season for the Tigers last fall.
Boykin, who was at LaGrange High as a freshman, is a tight end and defensive lineman.
For Callaway, Jones and Sapp will play in the True 19 games.
Jones is an offensive lineman who has offers from across the country, while Sapp is a standout defensive lineman.
Callaway’s Bigsby and Freeman are both members of the class of 2020.
Freeman is a versatile player who played multiple positions last season, including quarterback.
Bigsby is a running back, and he had a scoring run during the spring game against Troup.