- Corey Long, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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SEFFNER, Fla. -- For ESPN 150 teammates Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and Alvin Bailey, it could not be a more perfect ending to their respective prep football careers.
The best friends will play their final game as high school players together at the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game at Tropiciana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. -- just a half-hour from home.
"It's just an incredible honor because I had an opportunity to go to the game last year and hang out on the sidelines," McQuay said. "Seeing everything up close was a big difference for me and I hear from everyone that Under Armour is much more fun [than other all-star games]."
Added Bailey:"When you think about the guys that have been in the game -- and now me and Leon can be part of that group -- it's pretty exciting. You see a lot of guys that played in the game before me that are either in the pros, like Julio [Jones], or doing big things in college. I think playing in the Under Armour Game was a big reason for their success."
Bailey and McQuay are big reasons for Armwood's success over the past three seasons. With the two together in the lineup for head coach Sean Callahan, who will serve as an assistant coach at the UA Game, Armwood has won 34 of its past 36 games and a Class 6A state championship against Miami Central in 2011.
McQuay (6-foot-2, 185 pounds), ranked third at safety nationally and 40th overall in the ESPN 150, has been the quarterback of Armwood's defense since he stepped on the field as a sophomore. His interception return for a touchdown in the championship game against Central proved to be difference in the game.
"Leon has shown the instincts of a player beyond his years on the field," Callahan said. "He's a leader and just a great young man. It's easy to see why so many schools are after him."
Bailey (6-0, 170), ranked sixth as an athlete and ESPN 150 No. 69, will likely play wide receiver in college, but at Armwood he's done a little bit of everything and he's been the guy called on to make the right play at the right time.
In the state championship game against Central, Bailey threw two touchdown passes and caught one in the 40-31 victory.
"I can safely say we don't win the 2011 championship without Bailey and we don't get to the championship game in 2010 without him," Callahan said. "Whatever we've needed him to do to help us win he's been able to do it."
Bailey committed to Florida in September, choosing the Gators over Notre Dame and UCF. McQuay remains undecided but has taken official visits to USC and Vanderbilt, with trips to Oregon, Michigan and Florida State on tap. He will likely make his announcement during the UA Game.
The friends hate talking about playing college football in different areas. When the question is posed, Bailey has just one thing to say: "Go Gators."
McQuay, wearing a stylish outfit complete with a bow tie, just laughs. On and off the field, they are like brothers.
"Really I can't think of too many other guys I want to share this experience with than Alvin," McQuay said. "We've been through so much together, it just seems right that we should both enjoy this celebration of our careers."
"I just can't wait to get on the field in all that nice [Under Armour] gear," Bailey said. "Those guys look real good on television. I'm going to be out there smiling."
For Callahan it will a bittersweet day. As much success as he's enjoyed with his two captains over the past few years, he knows that Jan. 4 will likely be the last time they team up in search of a victory.
"I've been part of a few other all-star games and I've heard wonderful things about Under Armour and what they do for the kids and the families," Callahan said. "It's an honor to be part of the 2013 game and to coach my guys one last time."