LARGO — Jayion McCluster had opportunities to attend camps for the Under Armour and All-American showcase games. The Largo High linebacker was only interested in one.
“My goal was always to play in the Under Armour Game,” McCluster said.
From 2010-15, the Under Armour All-America Game was held at Tropicana Field. McCluster attended nearly every one.
“I talked about playing in this one when I was a kid going to the game,” McCluster said.
On Friday, McCluster had the spotlight. He sat at a table on the school’s auditorium stage as faculty read off his accomplishments. Moments later, Packers coach Marcus Paschal presented McCluster with a box adorned with the Under Armour logo.
Inside was a jersey, signaling McCluster’s formal invitation to play in the game, held Jan. 2 at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.
McCluster becomes the second player from Largo to play in the game. Former Packer Jaquaze Sorrells, who moved to Winter Park for his senior season, played in the 2019 game.
During his four-year high school career, McCluster has been a force on defense. The senior has 330 career tackles, including 145 this season.
He also has been a model student in Largo’s Excel program, holding a 3.2 grade-point average, as well as a qualifying test score in college. McCluster also serves as a mentor to a pair of freshmen to make sure they start high school on the right track.
In the summer, McCluster committed to Florida State. He said he still is committed to the Seminoles but will still look at other schools since Willie Taggart was fired as coach.
“I just want to see who the new coach is and go from there,” McCluster said.
He also is considering Auburn, Iowa and Miami.
There is not much time to make a decision. McCluster plans to graduate next month and become an early enrollee.