- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. -- ESPN 150 defensive lineman Dee Liner, ranked No. 12 overall, will be one of the prospects to participate in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game, but he's not even ranked among the top three at his position heading into the game.
A Peach State trio -- Robert Nkemdiche, Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams -- is ranked ahead of Liner in the ESPN 150, but the Alabama native is looking to outperform them all -- in particular Nkemdiche, the No. 1 player in the country -- down in Florida.
"I want to compete against Robert Nkemdiche," Liner said. "He's got a big target on his back. I'm sure I'm not the only one who probably wants to compete against him, but I just want to see where I'm at. I'm going to try to get more sacks, more tackles, and just get my stats better than him."
The two competed once before at a camp in Atlanta when they were still both sophomores and Nkemdiche had the upper hand that day.
"There was no doubt that day that Nkemdiche was a great player, and I think that Dee's always seen that because they were in that same group together," Muscle Shoals head coach Scott Basden said. "Dee's not used to somebody else being better than him. That day [Nkemdiche] was. But Dee's a competitor. That's the one thing about him. He's a competitor.
"I think the [Under Armour Game] is a positive thing to get all those great players together because the cream rises to the top."
Liner will get his opportunity to prove himself come January. On Wednesday, the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour Game came by his school to present him with his official game jersey.
The Muscle Shoals defensive lineman becomes the fifth player from the state of Alabama to be presented with a game jersey. He joins ESPN 300 stars Reuben Foster, Grant Hill, O.J. Howard and Earnest Robinson.
Not surprisingly, all five recruits are committed to either Alabama or Auburn. Liner, who is currently committed to the Tigers, will visit Alabama a week from Saturday for the Iron Bowl, the latest edition of the heated rivalry between the two schools.
"It's real big," Liner said. "The whole nation wants to watch Alabama and Auburn. It's just a good game to watch because they compete every year."
As the top-ranked player in the state, it's no surprise that he's coveted by both fan bases.
"It feels good because you get a lot of good compliments from fans, but sometimes you get a lot of bad compliments," Liner said. "You can’t worry about they do. You can only worry about what you do."
For now, Liner said is focused on finishes his senior season by winning a state championship and competing in the Under Armour Game.
"It means everything," Liner said of the presentation. "I've just been busting my butt every year in school and in football, just kept working hard, and now I've reached my goal."
1dMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne