Da'Quan Bowers talks history
The UA Game's first MVP gives jerseys to Nelson Agholor, Dante Fowler, Brian Poole
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Even though he's a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers still remembers that 2008 Under Armour All-America Game.
"I was the MVP," Bowers said. "The first MVP of the first game, that's something that will always stick with me."
The three newest members of the Under Armour All-American fraternity sat and listened as Bowers talked about his experiences.
"I got to play with guys like Julio Jones, a first-round draft pick," Bowers said. "I was the guy chasing him around in practice. I was a little skinnier back then."
Bowers told the players to savor the moment and enjoy the competition.
"It's the best of the best on that field all week and you're going to build lifetime friendships," Bowers said. "But also be ready to compete and represent yourself, your community and your family."
And he didn't fail to mention all the extra goodies.
"You get to spend a whole week at Disney World and that was a huge deal for me," Bowers joked. "Plus Under Armour gives you a lot of nice stuff, like shirts and sweats and everything. I took home a lot of stuff."
"It was an honor to have a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers here and to be presented my jersey in front of so many friends and family," Poole said. "This is a real special day."
Lakewood coach Cory Moore said that it was a well-deserved honor for all three players.
"I'm so proud of Dante but I'm proud of Nelson and Brian too, as are their coaches," Moore said. "All three of these young men have worked hard and persevered through tough times. It's good for the Tampa Bay community to see that our student-athletes are being rewarded for doing positive things."
The three players posed for pictures with Bowers for several minutes before talking about their recruitment.
"It was great to see the way the FSU defense played," Fowler said. "They were so aggressive and hungry. Next year I'll be playing in that game."
But the question with Fowler is which side will he be on. He remains interested in Florida, as well as USC, and says he'll take some other officials.
"Everyone will know the final answer on signing day," Fowler said.
Meanwhile Agholor is one of the nation's top undecided prospects and he continues to keep recruiting close to the vest, opting to talk about Tuesday's events and his playoff game on Friday instead.
"My situation hasn't changed, I'm focused on my team and the playoffs," said Agholor, who is considering Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame, Texas and USC. "[Monday] was a beautiful event and a great day for me, my family and Berkeley Prep.
"However, we have business to take care of Friday. Winning this week and playing for a state championship is all I am thinking about."
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.