McCollum Ready For National Spotlight
Summerville vs. Booker T. Washington
When: Saturday at 12:00 p.m.
Where: Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner, SC
Note: Summerville's game will be game one of a double-header on Saturday. The second game of the day, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on ESPNU, will feature Berkeley vs. First Coast out of Jacksonville, FL.
The build up around this weekend's ESPN televised contest has been brewing for months in the lowcountry, as Reid McCollum and A.J. Green will lead Summerville's high flying passing attack against one of the most talented and respected football programs in the Sunshine State. However, while McCollum and his teammates have used this game as a rallying cry during the offseason, he's glad that the wait is now just about over.
"All summer, this is what we've been thinking about and talking about," said McCollum. "It's just pushed us to work harder in the weight room and in the pre-season. We've been working towards this for a while, and we're just excited that it's finally here."
Booker T. Washington features over a half dozen Division I prospects in their senior class this year, led by 4-star rated cornerback Brandon Harris and 3-star receiver targets Davon Johnson and Thearon Collier. Other class of 2008 players receiving Division I attention are quarterback Sancho McDonald, running back Robensky Theodore, linebacker/defensive end Jonathan Jackson and safety Franklin Brown.
According to McCollum, he realizes the challenge that lies ahead, but he's looking forward to seeing how his squad matches up against the ultra talented Miami, FL program.
"They're very fast and very athletic. They've got fairly good size on the defensive line, and they've got some good athletes at the corners and safeties. It's going to be a challenge, but we should stack up well with them. It's going to be fun."
Booker T. Washington made an impressive run in the Florida playoffs last season before eventually falling to Plant in the 4A state semifinals. However, with a veteran squad returning this year, they are considered one of the early favorites to contend for a state championship this fall. Thus, McCollum knows Summerville will have to be sharp on Saturday and focus on executing the game plan.
"We want to come out, and we want to be sharp. We want to execute. We don't want any dumb penalties or anything. We're just going to come out mixing it up and hopefully throwing it a good bit. If we execute, we should be alright."
Another interesting theme that comes into play in these out-of-state match ups is the matter of state pride, and McCollum admitted that both schools will likely be playing for more than just their school's reputation on Saturday.
"State pride definitely comes into play, and I know they're saying the same thing down there. I'm sure they're wanting to show that Florida high school football is the best in the country, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I think it's going to be a good match up and a good game."
One factor that will help Summerville on Saturday is having legendary coach John McKissick running the show on the sidelines. Not only has the eighty year old coach led Summerville to ten state titles during his tenure there, but he is recognized as the winningest football coach to ever call plays at any level, with 543 career wins to his credit. Not surprisingly, McCollum feels very fortunate to be coached and mentored by one of the all time greats in the coaching profession.
"It's an honor (to play under Coach McKissick). He's been around, and he knows how to win. Even now, he's so into practice, and he has so much knowledge of the game. It's unbelievable, and it's an honor and a privilege to play for him."
Reid McCollum, a 3-star rated prospect by Scout.com, is recognized by many as the top quarterback prospect in the Palmetto State this year.
After passing for nearly 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior last season and already having the recruiting process out of the way, many quarterbacks might become complacent in the months leading up to their senior season, but not McCollum. In fact, the 6'4", 193 pound signal caller's done just the opposite, as he's worked overtime to try and improve several aspects of his game this summer.
"I've been doing a lot of footwork drills. I'm just trying to always get quicker. I've also been in the weight room, trying to put a little weight on. I've been out there every morning lifting and throwing routes, so hopefully it'll pay off and we'll have a good season."
That dedication appears to have already paid dividends, as McCollum said that he's feeling much more comfortable on the football field so far in pre-season practice, and he's even expanding his game to utilize his mobility more often.
"I'm a lot more comfortable this year. I got a good bit of experience last year, so I feel more comfortable in the pocket. Also, I'm rolling out of the pocket a lot more this year, so I've been working on that a lot over the summer. It's going pretty well right now."
Since committing to South Carolina, his childhood favorite, back in June, McCollum said that he has kept in close contact with the USC coaches and has even visited Columbia on a few occasions to get a look at his future teammates.
"I talk with Coach (Shane) Beamer and Coach (David) Reaves a good bit, and I was actually up there a few days ago watching them scrimmage. It's good that they're right there, and I can go up there anytime they've got a scrimmage so I can watch them throw the ball around and everything."
While McCollum is clearly focused on his senior season this fall, he's also looking forward to attending several of USC's home games this season and is excited to see what the Gamecocks can accomplish in 2007.
"Even before this year, I was born and raised a Carolina fan. I've been going to games for as long as I can remember, so I'll definitely be up there for their games this year," said McCollum. "They're looking to have a great season this year. They just had a big time class come in, and they've got some speed out there on defense. Hopefully they'll have a good season, and I'm sure they will."
According to McCollum, South Carolina fans won't have to wait too much longer to see him donning the Garnet and Black, as he plans to graduate from high school early and enroll at USC in January in order to take part in spring practice.
"I'm planning to graduate early. We just started school a few days ago, and that's how it's looking," said McCollum. "I definitely think being up there in January and getting used to things and getting on a routine will help a lot. I'll have a lot of extra time to learn the offense and be in the weight room. I think that'll really help me to go through the spring."
Stay tuned to GamecockAnthem.com for continuing coverage of McCollum's senior season this fall.
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