Special Photo From left to right, Grayson defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, Central Gwinnett linebacker Trey Johnson, Norcross running back Alvin Kamara and Mill Creek defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin give Gwinnett four participants in Friday's Under Armour All-American Game. Of the four seniors, only Griffin (South Carolina) has committed to a college.
The magnitude of Gwinnett County's representation in Friday's Under Armour All-American Game is lost on most outsiders, something Central Gwinnett head football coach Todd Wofford sees firsthand this week.
That one suburban county can produce four Under Armour All-Americans talent is quite impressive, even if few involved in the St. Petersburg, Fla., game realize it. Those four locals are split among the two teams --Grayson's Robert Nkemdiche and Norcross' Alvin Kamara on the Black Team and Central's Trey Johnson and Mill Creek's Kelsey Griffin on the White Team --which only makes it harder to determine that all four are from the same county.
Wofford, an assistant this week for the White Team, has done his share of explaining that geography this week.
"I've been telling them we're all in the same place," Wofford said. "I don't think they really grasp what's going on, that we're all from the same spot. One guy said, 'So you're down there with Camden (County)?' No, we're up north. I tell them it's SEC football (in Gwinnett). Even the lowest team has somebody. Every Friday you have to be ready to play. You're going against the best players in the country every Friday."
Four of Gwinnett's best are in the Under Armour game, and those four, all on ESPN's Top 150 National Recruits list, quickly proved they belong with the nation's best. Anyone who watched practice this week knows that, Wofford said.
Johnson, at linebacker, and Griffin, along the defensive line, have been playmakers for the White Team.
"I told Kelsey, 'You Gwinnett are showing out. We're going to have to slow y'all down in practice. You're making all the plays,'" Wofford said.
Gwinnett has two major impact players on the Black Team as well in Kamara at running back and Nkemdiche, the nation's consensus No. 1 recruit, at defensive line. Wofford has sung the praises of the those players to his fellow coaches.
"(Our coaches) said (the back) can help out the offensive tackle if he needs help with Nkemdiche," Wofford said. "I told them, 'He's going to need help.' These kids down here are good, but he's at another level. I don't want to seem like I know it all, but I see this kid all the time."
It's been a fun trip for Wofford and Grayson coaches Mickey Conn and Lenny Gregory, who are Black Team assistants. Part of their enjoyment is the pride they take in seeing Gwinnett kids stand out when they play alongside the nation's top recruits.
Tune in Friday at 5 p.m. on ESPN to see for yourself how the four Gwinnett kids fare. Among the highlights will be the commitment announcement of Johnson, who is expected to decide between Ohio State, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida during the game.
Will Hammock can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.