Jarred Fayson, a great high school quarterback, was selected to play wide receiver for the East team in the game, which pits the East against the West. Only 78 players are named to play in the US Army game, which is sponsored by Scout.com. The game is considered the premier high school all-star game in the country.
Fayson joins current Florida Gator commitments Carl Johnson and Corey Hobbs on the East squad. Projected to play wide receiver at the next level, Fayson has the kind of open field elusiveness and speed that should make him a crowd favorite in San Antonio.
"I would say I am electric … a livewire," Fayson said Friday. "When I get the opportunity to get the ball the whole stadium will stand up. I am looking forward to learning as much as I can at receiver and hanging out with all the top guys in the nation. I have been talking to Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes about it."
Tebow, of St. Augustine Nease, and Spikes, of Shelby (NC) Crest, have already been selected for the East team. Both are being heavily recruiting by the Florida Gators.
Hillsborough Coach Earl Garcia knows what Fayson is capable of and thinks that he is a special player on the football field, or any sport for that matter.
"I have been doing this for 30 years and he is the best athlete I have ever had," Garcia said. "At the beginning of the year (Hillsborough) had six players on NFL teams --- Jeron Boldin and Andrew Williams with the Buccaneers, Shannon Snell with the Broncos, Chris Davis with Seattle, Garnell Wiles with the Panthers and J.R Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles. All of those guys had great work ethic and athleticism, but Jarred is in another strata. We didn't work him hard enough so he worked at my house and had a personal trainer. He went to Cooper's Academy where the guy trained Olympians in this area and he said Jarred is among the top five guys that he has had.
"He has all the pieces of the puzzle that you look for as a coach. He is tremendously athletic. He has exemplary work habits and work ethic. He is a gym rat and loves football. He is a pleasant person. He has excellent teaching from his mom, Carla Powell. When you put that all together, he's a can't-miss prospect for the NFL. He will make a living playing this game."
Fayson quarterbacked Hillsborough to an unbeaten regular season but it is at wide receiver that Garcia sees instant success for his star at the next level. There isn't much Fayson can't do in the eyes of his former head coach.
"He can do anything," Garcia said. "He could probably start for the Gators as a point guard in basketball. He could start on the track team as a long jumper or maybe high jumper. He could run the 100 meters as for the Gator track team. He is a natural athlete. He will be an all conference receiver within two years. He ran an electronically timed 4.32 seconds in the forty over the summer. We didn't need to time him. We knew he was fast."
Carla Powell was proud mom at the ceremony on Friday. She shared some of that pride afterwards.
"It is a great accomplishment for Jarred and he really worked hard," Powell said. "I am truly proud and happy for him. He is truly blessed, if he keeps god first he can't fall."
Ms. Powell is looking forward to Jarred becoming a Gator soon. The planning has already started.
"I am ready," she said. "He has the nickname of 'Maintain' and I am 'Momma Maintain.' We are ready and Gator bound and excited. We already started getting our Gator gear and looking forward to the great coaching staff and the family that is there."
She is not anticipating any empty nest syndrome. She is ready for her son to set his sails and get on with the next phase of his life.
"I am not sad at all, I am happy, she said. "It is the choice he made and he is very happy. As long as he is happy, he will be successful. It's just right down the street. I can travel and even go do his laundry on Saturday. I will also be at every game."
Selection to the US Army All-American game is a very big deal. This is the one game that every high school player in the nation dreams of making. Fayson felt honored by the selection, considering it a reward for years of hard work and striving to be better.
"I think it is big time," said Fayson, who is 6-0, 195. "It came with a lot of hard work, so I am glad and living in the moment right now."
He is already looking forward to his arrival on the Florida campus in August. He is ready to start training with his new teammates to help bring championships to the Florida Gators.
"I want to get to the weight room and start getting the chemistry with the guys," he said. "I want to be right with the players and win the first SEC championship with Coach (Urban) Meyer."
He also is not worried about his transition from quarterback to receiver. He has already begun preparation for the position switch.
"I play the position all the time when I am in tournaments and stuff," he said. "Receiver is what I always play in flag tournaments and stuff."
Initially, Fayson fought the switch. Fayson wanted to be a quarterback but eventually he understood that it is wide receiver where he has the best future. Still, look for him to make an occasional appearance under center.
"I asked Coach Meyer and others for an honest opinion some said I would be a good quarterback, some said receiver, all said I could possibly do both and still make it to the next level," he said. "I will be a receiver, but from Coach Meyer, we talk a lot, he says I will play both positions."
Jarred Fayson is a very personable young man with exceptional athletic ability. He must be easily coached and the sky seems the limit for this future Gator. The Gator nation will get a good look at Jarred up close and personal on January 7th live from San Antonio.