Photo by Derrick Mahone
Former Lovejoy cornerback Rico McWilliams was added to the Offense-Defense All-Star game in Dallas, Texas, over the weekend. He is the only player from the area to get an invite to the game.
Former Lovejoy defensive back Rico McWilliams received an early Christmas present when he received a phone call over the weekend.
When the senior picked up, it was a representative from the Offense-Defense High School All-American Bowl extending an invitation. McWilliams, a top cornerback prospect, quickly accepted the invite that will place him in the game against other top players from around the country.
The game will take place on Dec. 29 at Cowboys Stadium.
“I was sort of surprised, but very excited about the opportunity,” McWilliams said. “It will be a good experience playing against other top players in the country.”
McWilliams, who help lead Lovejoy to consecutive Region 4-AAAA championship and state runner-up, will report to Dallas on Dec. 26 for game preparation. He was supposed to play in last weekend’s Clayton County Senior Bowl, but elected not to participate.
Sunday, he was officially extended an offer to the O-D All-American Bowl.
This will be the first time he will be back on the field since the Wildcats lost 22-7 to Tucker in the AAAA championship game at the Georgia Dome. Although he is disappointed with the lost, McWilliams said he was “blessed” to have ended his senior career with a shot at the state title.
“The season went really well,” McWilliams said. “We went 14-1, but came up a little short in trying to win a state title. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have played in the state title game. Only two teams get that opportunity, and Lovejoy was one of the teams.”
For McWilliams, he was able to have a solid season after missing five games last season and spring practice while recovering from a knee injury. He showed he was back full strength this season while helping lead Class AAAA’s top defense. He finished with 24 pass breakups, three interceptions and 36 tackles from his cornerback position.
The 6-foot, 170-pounder had 17 college scholarship offers during the spring before verbally committing to sign with South Carolina in February on National Signing Day.
Since a spectacular senior season, several schools, including Alabama have started to show interest. The Crimson Tide, who are playing in this season’s national championship game against LSU, have not made a formal offer, but have been pursuing him.
Although McWilliams said he is still committed to South Carolina, he said he might still take some official visits next month. He is schedule to visit South Carolina on Jan. 13.
“I’m still a Gamecock,” he said on Monday afternoon. “I’m real excited about playing in the SEC because I grew up in the South, and with SEC football. I’ll probably take a couple visits. This is a once in a lifetime situation because you will never good through the recruiting process again. I’m going to enjoy it. If God has anything better for me, He will show it to me.”
For now, his focus is playing in the all-star game.
“I’m working out and getting ready,” McWilliams said. “It should be a lot of fun.”
Find out who the Clayton News Daily/Henry Daily Herald has chosen as their Southern Crescent Clayton and Henry counties’ player of the year. The newspapers will also announce their all-Southern Crescent offensive and defensive teams for this past season.