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Local players considered for bowl

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy running back Travis Custis is one of four players from the Southern Crescent that has been nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this coming January in Texas. The other nominees were Lovejoy teammate Arshad Jackson and Eagle's Landing Christian teammates Isaac Rochelle and Keyante Green.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Lovejoy running back Travis Custis is one of four players from the Southern Crescent that has been nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this coming January in Texas. The other nominees were Lovejoy teammate Arshad Jackson and Eagle's Landing Christian teammates Isaac Rochelle and Keyante Green.

The start of the 2012 season is still three months away, but four Southern Crescent players are already garnering some potential postseason accolades.

Eagle’s Landing Christian teammates Keyante Green and Isaac Rochell, along with Lovejoy teammates Arshad “A.J.” Jackson and Travis Custis, have made the U.S. Army All-American Bowl nominees list for the upcoming season. In all, 400 rising seniors are on the watch list, with 34 coming from Georgia.

“This is a very big honor for the players,” Lovejoy coach Al Hughes said. “This is just a testament to their hard work.”

Georgia is fourth in the number of nominees for the game, which will be televised live by NBC on Jan. 5 from the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. The states with the most are Florida (56), Texas (55) and California (39).

Selections will be made in September when the all-star selection tour begins.

“It is one of those games that you want to play in,” said Green, who has committed to sign with UCLA. “I’m happy to be in consideration.”

Both ELCA and Lovejoy have had a player to play in the game. In 2010, Avery Sebastian was selected as a defensive back. He is now at California.

Former Lovejoy offensive lineman Chris Scott played in the 2005 game. Smith went on to play at Tennessee and is currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL.

Hughes said having two players nominated speaks volumes for the program. Last season, Lovejoy won its second straight Region 4-AAAA title and played in the state championship game.

“That is awesome for these kids to be on that list,” Hughes said.

Custis, who rushed for 1,879 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, has committed to play at Georgia Tech. Jackson, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound wide receiver/defensive end, is uncommitted but has several offers.

Rochell is considered one of the top defensive line prospects in the state and has Notre Dame and Alabama on his list for consideration.

“This is a reflection of the kids’ work,” ELCA coach Jonathan Gess said. “This is an elite game. It is a blessing to be considered.”

Players were nominated by the Bowl selection committee, which consists of regional coaches throughout the country and Rivals.com, a national recruiting service. In all, 400 athletes are being considered with 90 making the cut.

“This nomination recognizes the mental, emotional and physical strengths, and leadership qualities theses athletes posses both on and off the field; qualities they share with Army Strong Soldiers,” Chief Marketing Officer Bruce Jasurda said in a statement. “The Army congratulates all of the athletes on their nomination.”