Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

November 12, 2012

Wells chosen to play in AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl

BUENA VISTA —  Marion County standout place kicker and punter A.J. Wells received some big news last week when he was informed that he had been selected to participate in the 2012 AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl. The AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl is an All-star football game that features only the best players from across the state, so being selected to represent one of the two teams is a huge honor for prep players across the state. The Georgia Junior Bowl has featured prominent high school stars such as University of Georgia freshman outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, South Carolina running back Mike Davis, and massive defensive tackle and number two recruit in the country, Montravious Adams of Dooly County.

The Georgia Junior Bowl came to existence as a product of is described as a development program and series of events created to assist high school juniors with their athletic, academic and social development. The website was launched by former college and NFL standouts Izell Reese and Joe Burns, who felt that high school students should have some prior training about how to handle exposure, recruiting, and life.

Wells learned of the Georgia Junior Bowl after Burns visited Marion County High School to deliver a speech to the players when he was a freshman. Wells recalls Burns saying after his speech, “We are getting this thing called the Georgia Junior Bowl started so be on the look out for it.”

When he reached his junior season, Wells decided to apply for the Georgia Junior Bowl. “It has always been a big goal of mine to play in an All-star game whether it be the Army All-American game or the Georgia Junior Bowl. I know Montravious Adams played in it and that’s when his recruitment really took off.”

After anxiously waiting to hear back from the selection committee, Wells finally got the call last week and was ecstatic about his selection. He quickly made a connection with the one player at the game that would have a direct impact on his performance. “I made contact with the long snapper for my team, Jake Jeffcoat from Spalding High School through Facebook,” he said. Wells wasted no time making preparations, and on Sunday he and Jeffcoat met to work on their timing together for the first time.

On top of the tremendous honor of being selected to the Georgia Junior Bowl, Wells is also in the early stages of what should prove to be a very exciting recruiting period for the young star. He has already been to The University of Indiana, the University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech to see what those schools have to offer. “I have been in contact with schools all over the nation and I am looking to find a school with a really good academic and athletic combination. I like Texas Tech, Georgia, Indiana, and Iowa, and I am trying to build my top five now. Indiana and Georgia have guaranteed themselves a spot in the top unless someone can knock them out,” Wells said.

When asked if distance would play a role in his decision, Wells said that it would not be a huge factor for him. “It would be nice to be able to come home when there are exams and I am stressed, but my mom and dad and I have decided that academics and athletics and the two most important things,” Wells said. “I will be playing football so there won’t be that much time to visit home anyway,” added Wells with a laugh.

Wells was then asked what his goal was for the remainder of his high school career, including the rest of his junior season and his senior year, to which he responded, “To win a state championship!” He also said that he has a goal to become the best kicker/punter that he can be. “I feel like I haven’t lived up to my potential yet on kickoffs and punts, and my goal is to start hitting 4.8 second hang times consistently. I want to get stronger and more flexible and my goal is to look like a Division I football player.”

The intended creative writing major said that he also wants to have a decision on a college as soon as possible so he can focus on being a high school student as he rounds out his career. “Once I get my first offer, everything will hit a clock. If a school wants to invest the promise of a free education in me, I don’t feel like I need to make them wait. I will sit down with family and close friends because I am not interested in drawing it out and making it dramatic. Then, once I’m committed, I’m committed.”

Wells has an extremely bright future ahead of him both at Marion County and at the lucky college that he chooses. The Eagles will gear up for their first round playoff game on November 23 against Charlton. Wells hopes to begin preparing for the Georgia Junior Bowl after the Eagles win the Class A State Championship. The Georgia Junior Bowl will take place on December 31, 2012 at Grady Stadium, and Wells will represent the West Team.

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