Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Under Armour: IMG teammates team up again

IMG Academy’s Michael O’Connor has a high school teammate in Thursday’s game as well as two future Penn State teammates.

IMG Academy

IMG Academy’s Michael O’Connor has a high school teammate in Thursday’s game as well as two future Penn State teammates.

ORLANDO — More than 100 times in IMG Academy's first season fielding a high school football team, quarterback Michael O'Connor handed the ball off to Bo Scarbrough.

Thursday at Tropicana Field, he'll have the opportunity to connect with the five-star athlete on a greater stage when the pair of Ascenders compete in the Under Armour All-American game.

Scarbrough and O'Connor, who led IMG to an 8-2 record in its first season, are the only two participants in this year's Under Armour All-American game from the Tampa Bay area. Last year, five players from Hillsborough or Pinellas County were selected, and Wharton CB Vernon Hargreaves III, now at Florida, was named MVP.

The 104 athletes on this year's roster have been split into Team Nitro and Team Highlight and practiced Monday on side-by-side fields at Disney's Wide World of Sports. Assigned to Team Highlight with Scarbrough, O'Conner said he can't wait to play in one last game with his IMG teammate.

"Bo, he's a heck of an athlete. He's crazy," said O'Connor, who threw for 1,804 yards and 18 touchdowns. "Being high school teammates, being out here, it's kind of a special moment for us."

While Scarbrough might soon represent O'Connor's past, Highlight teammates and WRs Chris Godwin, from Middleton, Del., and De'Andre Thompkins, from Swansboro, N.C., represent the quarterback's future. Both are Penn State commits along with O'Connor.

"It's so much fun being with two other Penn State commits, especially on the same team," O'Connor said. "Being able to throw to them and just talk and get to know each other, get that connection going before we even get to Penn State, it's amazing."

Dalvin's decision looms: Thursday's game will be another chance for Dalvin Cook, ranked second among 2014 running back recruits by 247 Sports, to show his stuff. In his final appearance for Miami Central on Dec. 14, Cook had four touchdowns and 223 yards in the Rockets' 52-7 win against Armwood in the 6A state championship.

The Under Armour All-American game will also be a chance for Cook to put a big question to rest.

Cook is a Florida commit but has confirmed that other schools — including Miami and Florida State — are still in the running. As an early enrollee, however, time to change his mind is nearing an end.

Cook, who said he plans to announce where he's going at Thursday's game, said he's attracted by Miami's history of sending running backs to the NFL, and he enjoys the coaches and style of offense at Florida State.

But, for now, he's still a Gator.

"Florida, that's the school I'm committed to," he said. "They still at heart."

South Florida reigns supreme: As practice wound down, Cook chatted with fellow all-Americans, S Quincy Wilson and WR Ermon Lane, while heading off the field. All three will compete for Team Nitro, but the similarities don't stop there.

The trio is also part of a 13-player contingent from south Florida in Thursday's game. Cook said the abundance of players from the Miami area proves what he already knew: south Florida is the most talent-rich in the land.

"Wherever south Florida goes, they put on a show," Lane said.

Kelly Parsons can be reached at parsons@tampabay.com. Follow her on Twitter at @_kellyparsons.

Under Armour All-American game

When: 4 p.m. Thursday

Where: Tropicana Field

Tickets: $18 general admission/$48 family four pack, can be purchased at ticketmaster.com

Under Armour: IMG teammates team up again 12/30/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 30, 2013 9:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  2. State baseball: Bishop McLaughlin bows out in Class 3A semifinals

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — One inning into Bishop McLaughlin's Class 3A state semifinal against Fort Myers Canterbury, things could not have gone much better for the Hurricanes. They grabbed a quick one-run lead and Canterbury ace Sam Keating was forced out of the game with a nagging neck injury.

     Chris Berglund (18) of Bishop McLaughlin, at bat during second inning of the FHSAA class 3A semi-final on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Canterbury, Fort Myers, defeated Bishop 7 to 4. Canterbury will play in the 3A championship tomorrow.
  3. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead

    Sports

    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  4. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight

    Blogs

    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins:

  5. For starters: Rays, Archer take on surprising Twins to open road trip

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 6:37: Cash said it was a combination of wanting to keep Dickerson, who is a team-best . 358 against lefties, in the lineup and Santiago's splits. ... Cash said there was nothing new on the injured players back at the Trop, with Brad Boxberger still slated to throw live BP on Monday in Port Charlotte, …