Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

December 22, 2012

AT&T Junior Bowl set for Dec. 31

ATLANTA — Ninety-eight of Georgia’s top high school football juniors, including five local players, will gather in Atlanta Dec. 27, for a five-day developmental program known as AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl, founded by former Georgia Tech star and Buffalo Bill, Joe Burns, and Dallas Cowboy, Izell Reese.

Valdosta receiver Alex Cason, Lowndes linebacker Tre’ Jackson, Valwood defensive back Char Merine and Brooks County duo Malkom Parrish and Derric Herring will all participate in the week’s festivities.

RisingSeniors was created to assist high school juniors with their athletic, academic and social development while preparing them for their senior year, and instilling in them the necessary tools to thrive academically, athletically and socially.

This program is offered to the selected participants as an all-expense paid scholarship program covered by the RisingSeniors Foundation.

The action packed, five-day event will begin Thursday, culminating on Monday, Dec. 31, with the playing of the Third Annual AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl at Grady Stadium in Atlanta. Kickoff is set for noon.

This one-of-a-kind all-star game is specifically designed to showcase the top high school junior football players in the state of Georgia. The game will stream live on ESPN3 and will also be available on demand shortly after the event at PlayOn! Sports’ Georgia portal:

The West team will be coached by Chip Walker from Sandy Creek High School. The East Team will be coached by Ed Dudley from Ware County High School.

 “It should be mandatory for all potential college athletes to go through something like the RisingSeniors program. During the week, we covered everything from SAT testing to learning how to handle your money responsibly,” said Chase Roberts, veteran RisingSeniors player, Georgia Tech offensive lineman and Greater Atlanta Christian graduate. “My favorite part of the week was going to the hospital and telethon while we were working with the Curing Kids Cancer Association. We all enjoyed the football part of the week, but Mr. Burns and Mr. Reese made sure that we knew the main goal was trying to develop yourself as a total person, with or without football.”

“I can honestly say after this week I have a new perspective on football and the importance of giving back to your community,” Roberts added.

The AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl is held annually in association with AT&T, the NFL Players Association, Rawlings, NFL, and Curing Kids Cancer. This year the RisingSeniors Foundation Banquet will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Westin Hotel in Buckhead, the official hotel of the AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl. The banquet will honor all athletes selected and alums. The Georgia Minority Coaches Association will also give their First Annual Player of the Year Award.

This year the football camp will also be offered on Saturday, Dec. 29, for any freshmen, sophomore, or juniors looking to expand their knowledge of the game while learning the fundamentals of their position. The camp also provides an opportunity to find student-athletes for the 2013 AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl. The camp will be taught by NFL players and high school coaches.

“Our goal at Rising Seniors is to help student athletes understand that, because of football, they have learned everything they need to be successful in life. They have learned how to work with others, deal with adversity and mental toughness. If they can take all of that off the field, the sky is the limit,” says Joe Burns, co-founder of “We want these young men to know they are so much bigger than football. Use sports to get a great education because it will prepare you for the most important quarter you will ever play: the 5th quarter. That quarter starts immediately after you take off your uniform for the last time.”

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