Seven area high school players will have a chance to show off the prowess of Baltimore area football in the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2. Six of the players are from St. Frances and one is from McDonogh.
Outside linebacker Chris Braswell, offensive tackle Micah Mazzccua, running back Blake Corum, safety Jordan Toles, defensive tackle Dominic Bailey and defensive back Luke Hill will all represent St. Frances. Defensive end/outside linebacker Curtis Jacobs will serve as McDonogh’s representative.
After going 11-1, each St. Frances player has made a mark on the program beyond football. Without a home field on campus and a number of other logistical challenges, St. Frances athletic director Nicholas Myles said he is proud of what the school’s six All-Americans accomplished.
“It’s a testament to those kids and their families and also our entire student body,” Myles said. “For what the kids had to deal with last year — not playing any league games and for those kids to still be committed to their craft and committed to the school just speaks volumes on those kids’ characters as people and as players.”
In addition to six players being a part of the festivities for St. Frances, co-head Henry Russell will also be on the sideline to lead his players one more time before they head off to college.
“We are very excited for the opportunity these guys will have to compete against the best players in the country and also represent St Frances one more time,” Russell said. “It’s an honor that we have six players in the game and a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the entire team.”
Braswell will take his talents to Alabama, while Mazzccua and Corum are headed to Michigan. Toles will suit up for LSU. Bailey is committed to Tennessee, while Hill is an Oregon commit and Jacobs is going to Happy Valley to play for Penn State.
While Jacobs is the lone representative for McDonogh, he has been one of the most important pieces of turning the football program around for the Eagles. Last season, Jacobs went from playing safety and wide receiver to requesting to line up at outside linebacker and defensive line.
“Curtis is a kid that has worked extremely hard for this opportunity,” McDonogh coach Hakeem Sule said. “To play in the Under Armour All-America Game is a dream for many high school athletes, and to be selected in one of the premier all-star games in the country is obviously a testament to how hard he has worked and how talented a kid he is.”
McDonogh also had an 11-1 record with Jacobs finishing with five sacks and 30 total tackles, including 13 for a loss. On offense, he finished with 355 yards, six touchdowns on 30 receptions.
Jacobs is McDonogh’s second football Under Armour All-American with Penn State sophomore defensive tackle PJ Mustipher being the first. The two also share the spotlight with a long line of Baltimore-area football players who have played in the game.
“When you have those kids playing in those all-star games in this area, it shows the people in the country how talented Baltimore football is and is becoming,” Sule said. “You look at St. Frances and they’ve had several Under Armour All-Americans each year and these guys go on to produce in college.
“There are people that are selected every year in these games and they don’t produce like Baltimore kids are producing at the collegiate level. You look at PJ Mustipher making a big impact at Penn State and Shane Lee (St. Frances) playing as a true freshman at Alabama and he’s competing in the Citrus Bowl this year.”