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Rozier, Smith to participate in GACA North-South All-Star game

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

The postseason season accolades keep coming for Henry County, and this time coach Mike Rozier and wide receiver Shavarez Smith are the recipients.

With much-heralded wide receiver Markeith Ambles set to play in his second all-star game at the beginning of next year, Rozier and Smith were chosen for the annual Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star game.

This will be the third straight season that a Henry County wide receiver has been chosen for the GACA game, one of the oldest running all-star games in the country, dating back to 1938. The South squad has won the last two games, and holds a 33-28-4 advantage in the series.

The game will be Dec. 29 at Memorial Stadium in Columbus. Players and coaches report for two-a-day practices on Dec. 26.

Last year, Jamal Patterson, now a freshman at Stanford, played in the all-star game. In 2007, Chris Jackson, now at Georgia Tech, was chosen for the game.

Rozier, who will be an assistant to Southwest-Macon coach Carror Wright, will be coaching in his first all-star game.

"This is definitely an honor," Rozier said. "

It is a big deal. I'm happy that Shavarez will get an opportunity to play."

He is confident that Ambles would have made the squad if it wasn't for his other two commitments. NCAA rules limit players to only two all-star games.

Last weekend, Ambles played in the Hawaii/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. On Jan. 9, Ambles, who has committed to play at Tennessee next season, will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio, which will be televised live on NBC. The game features the top 90 players in the nation.

Smith emerged into the team's leading receiver this season with Ambles getting double-team coverage.

The 6-1, 185-pound Smith had 850 yards on 32 catches for an average of 26.3 yards per catch.

"He is very deserving of the all-star recognition," Rozier said. "He made some big plays for us."

Smith has yet to commit to a college next season, but has a few mid-major offers alone with several Div. II schools recruiting him.

Although Div. I Bowl Championship Series coaches are not allowed to attend the game, Rozier a good showing on film could net him some more offers. Smith has offers from Kent State, Middle Tennessee State, Jacksonville State and North Carolina Central. West Virginia is close to offering, according to Rozier.

"It won't hurt for him to have a good game," he said.

"He will be going up against some of the top players in the state. I'm sure a lot of the scouting services will be there."

When school resumes in January, Ambles and Rozier will be headed to Texas for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. As part of his selection for the game, Rozier has been invited to travel to attend the U.S. Army Coaches Academy, an elite two-day learning experience featuring NFL and NCAA coaches, as well as participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game-week activities.