Palmetto High quarterback Jack Allison to play in Under Armour All-American Game
PALMETTO -- The day after Jack Allison made his final impression in the national spotlight before his senior season, he finally received the call.
It was June 21, one day after his team had been eliminated from the IMG 7v7 National Championship in Bradenton, and Allison was sitting in his bedroom in Parrish. ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton was on the phone. He was officially inviting the Palmetto quarterback to the 2015 Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando.
"It was awesome," Allison said. "It was just a dream come true, really."
On Thursday in the auditorium at Palmetto High School, the quarterback received something tangible to represent his achievement. With his coaches, family and classmates in attendance, Allison was presented with his jersey for the 2015 game, which will be held at the Citrus Bowl after six years at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
"I'd like to thank my parents and God most of all," Allison said after donning a teal No. 16 jersey, "and my great coaches for coaching me and getting me to this point."
Allison, a commit to the University of Miami, will be joined at the game by IMG Academy kicker Ricky Aguayo, defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, linebacker Rahshaun Smith, cornerback Saivion Smith and guard Tyler Gerald.
He's the first player from a Manatee County school other than an Ascender to be chosen for the game since Southeast sent cornerback Brian Poole, now at the University of Florida, to the game in 2012.
Allison's path to the game began during his sophomore year when head coach Dave Marino turned to the former freshman team signal caller over the incumbent starter. That season, Marino realized Allison had the potential to be a high-level Division I recruit. After the season, he sent film to the Hurricanes, who came back with Allison's first offer.
Interest from Alabama and other college football bluebloods followed and two years later Allison was named an All-American.
"It's just a euphoric high," Marino said. "You're so happy for the kid for all the hard work he put in from when he was probably in diapers, when he first picked up a football."
This season, Allison has compiled 1,220 yards on 98-of-164 passing. He's tossed 11 touchdowns and only four interceptions after being picked off 14 times as a junior as he battled an Achilles heel injury.
His mobility returned this season -- he's run for two touchdowns -- and Marino believes accuracy is his most notable area of improvement.
"What he's had to endure physically, and some of the injuries he's had and some of the disappointing losses," Marino said, "it was just a great experience for him to go through it."
Allison also scored an invite to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in Texas, but chose the Under Armour game because of its prestige and to give his family and friends an opportunity to watch him play.
He was joined on stage Thursday by his parents, Colleen and Sean, and his brother, Nate. The crowd was packed with teammates and friends who chanted his nickname, "Jack the Ripper," as he sat on stage
"It's an awesome feeling just to feel the love from everyone in the community and my family," Allison said.
Allison is one of five quarterbacks in the game, including former IMG quarterback Malik Henry, and one of three Miami commits.
Two future teammates are main reasons Allison said he is excited about the game. Sam Bruce and Dionte Mullins are a pair of four-star wide receivers committed to the Hurricanes, who Allison will have a chance to practice and play with before he heads to Coral Gables in January.
"I was watching the game since I was 11. It's a surreal feeling," Allison said. "It's a great honor to be with the 90 kids who are chosen."