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Bulldogs' Atkins set to play in elite game

Thomson High School senior John Atkins was recognized as one of the country's most talented high school football players.

Atkins, an ESPNU 150 four-star recruit, was officially introduced as a player in the 2012 Under Armour All-America game. An honorary jersey presentation took place at Thomson on Friday.

The fifth annual All-America Game will be played Jan. 5, 2012, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

90 athletes will participate in the game, a distinction offered to the most promising high school football players across the country.

Atkins, the ESPNU No. 11 defensive tackle, is set to sign with the University of Georgia next year as a nose tackle.

Though the All-America game is in its fifth year, this is the first time a selection tour has taken place. Thomson was the twenty-ninth and final stop on the eastern tour, which included 10 players from Georgia.

Under Armour representative Nick Sandoval described the game as the "premiere high school football showcase," noting that its alumni include first-round NFL draft picks Julio Jones and A.J. Green.

"It felt great to be selected for something like this," Atkins said. "I'm very excited to play with some of the best players in the country."

Those players include Atkins' future teammate at UGA Jonathan Taylor, a defensive tackle from Jenkins County, Ga., as well as a host of future opponents at SEC schools such as South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.

Milan Turner, head football coach and athletic director at Thomson, will accompany Atkins to the game in January.

"It's a great opportunity for John, for the high school, for Thomson and for McDuffie County," Turner said. "He will represent not just our team but our area, so it's one more feather in the cap for both the program and community."

Not only is Atkins looking forward to the strong competition, he also greatly anticipates his first trip to Florida.

"The game will help me a lot preparing for next year," he said. "But I'm excited about getting down to Disney World and having fun, too."

Web posted on Thursday, December 08, 2011

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