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PAGLIA: Forsyth, step right up to the spotlight
Mug BPaglia web

The news came across Twitter early yesterday morning that Georgia needed another football all-star game, and the first thing I thought of was you, Forsyth County.

Along comes the Georgia Elite Junior Classic, a game that will feature 70 of the top high school junior prospects in the state at McEachern High School Stadium on December 28. The event’s coordinators say they will pick young men based on their talent, integrity, respect in the classroom, community and at home. They want complete student athletes.

They also want to hitch a ride to the seemingly insurmountable trend of high school football players committing to colleges sooner and sooner. They can fill the field not only with intriguing individual match-ups but also recruiting battles.

It’s a concept the Georgia Junior Bowl has perfected the past three years. Founders Izell Reese and Joe Burns, both former NFL players, created the total package. They managed to bring in the top juniors in Georgia – names like Norcross running back Alvin Kamara (Alabama), Grayson defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (Mississippi) and Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson – and let them compete while learning about alternate careers in sports, social media and financial literacy.

But of the over 300 players chosen by since 2010, only one has come from Forsyth County – West Forsyth offensive lineman Andrew Marshall in 2012.

That’s a number that needs to change.

My guess is it will now, thanks to the Georgia Elite Junior Classic.

According to a release from game organizers, the players will be divided into two teams of 35-40 players with Walton’s Rocky Hildalgo and Berrien County’s Ed Pilcher serving as the head coaches. The teams will work out twice on Dec. 27 with a two-hour combine between the practices. The game follows the following day at 1 p.m. with the hopes of attracting a slew of college coaches, recruiting experts and media.

Let’s hope Forsyth players get some of that attention.

Brian Paglia is sports editor of the Forsyth County News. He can be reached at On Twitter? Follow him