By James Sims
On Sept. 22, senior wide receiver and cornerback, David Long, Jr. was named to the U.S. Army All-American roster. The selection process for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is a very long and complicated one. It kicks off at the U.S. Army National Combine and continues with multiple combines, camps, and sports clinics taking place across the country. From over a million high school football players, the selection committee, comprised of All-American Games and 247sports.com, scouts the nation’s top prospects.
Following the evaluation period, the selection committee officially nominates the nation’s top 400 seniors to be considered for selection to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. From the nominees, few players are selected and invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. U.S. Army All-Americans must be in good standing with their schools and communities in order to be considered for selection.
Long, Jr. has been playing on Loyola’s varsity football team since his sophomore year. Head Coach Marvin Sanders is very proud of his varsity football veteran: “I think it starts with his work ethic on the football field. He works very hard, but he still has a lot to improve on.” According to Sanders, Long, Jr. has just scratched the surface of his football potential.
Over the summer, Long, Jr. participated in The Opening, a football camp sponsored by Nike that provides college recruiters the chance to scout highly ranked players. During this event, Long, Jr. gained an understanding for the level of competition he will face in the Army All-American game because many of the football players competing in The Opening were also named to the Army All-American roster.
Long, Jr.’s invitation to participate in the All-American Bowl marks Loyola’s second consecutive year with a Cub in the game. Last year, Loyola defensive end, Christian Rector ‘15, was named an Army All-American; he is now playing for the University of Southern California.
In regards to Loyola football players being invited to participate in this nationally recognized football game, Sanders said, “I think it speaks volumes for our school. What the Army looks for in their All-American game is kids with education, character and dedication. It’s kind of what Loyola breeds, so if we have a good player, that player has the values that the Army All-American Game looks for.”
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex. on Jan. 9, 2016. In addition to Long, Jr., this year’s All-American roster features 14 other California football recruits.
With the all-around skill and talent of this year’s juniors on the varsity team, Loyola hopes to have its third consecutive All-American. Coach Sanders said, “It’s such a long ways away, and it will work itself out with these juniors.”
As a Loyola football player, Long, Jr. has grown a lot: “I learned more with Coach Sanders being here. I learned about being a defensive back, and over the years, being a better football player and a smarter football player. This year I’ve truly learned what it means to become a leader.”