Photo by Derrick Mahone
Although he missed most of last season with an injury, Lovejoy linebacker DeMarquis Gates still had 90 tackles, and he is being considered for the U.S. Army All-American Football Game in January.
The new football season is still three months away, but three players from the Southern Crescent are already on the radar for postseason recognition.
DeMarquis Gates of Lovejoy, Cortez McDowell of Locust Grove and Eagle’s Landing Christian’s Andrew Williams are among the 32 players from Georgia that have been nominated to play in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.
Gates missed part of last season with a knee injury, but came back midway through the season to help lead the Wildcats into the Class AAAAAA finals. Lovejoy lost to Norcross in the finals at the Georgia Dome.
Gates finished with 90 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss and four sacks. He is recovering from offseason knee surgery and has missed all of spring practice. Earlier this year, he committed to sign with Ole Miss.
Williams, a 6-4, 245-pound defensive end, helped lead ELCA to last season’s Class A private school title. He finished the season with 53 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and six sacks. With 45 college offers, Williams said he will likely commit before the season begins in August.
McDowell was a key component in Locust Grove’s first winning season in school history. He finished with 250 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He also had a team-leading 36 receptions for 652 yards and eight touchdowns while picking off two passes as a defensive back.
Players will be notified in September if they made the roster. The finalist that make the team will play on January 4 in the East vs. West match-up that will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m.
“These nominations recognize the mental, emotional and physical strengths, as well as the leadership qualities the nominees possess both on and off the field; qualities reflective of Army Strong Soldiers,” aid Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing, in a released statement. “We look forward to showcasing their talents and those of our Soldiers during the Army All American Bowl Selection Tour and Game Week.”
The players were nominated by the U.S. Army ALl-American Bowl Selection committee, which consists of All American Games, 247Sports — the Bowl’s official online recruiting network — and All American Games’ network of regional coaches throughout the country. There is a total of 400 nominees throughout the country trying to make the 90-player rosters.