GACA North South All-Star Classic
When: 2 p.m. today
What: Showcase for top 80 senior football players in the state
Notable: Local players include Daniel Drummond (Flowery Branch), Izaan Cross (Flowery Branch), Chase Vasser (Chestatee), Josh Jackson (Gainesville), Michael May (Buford), Dallas Lee (Buford), Cody Getz (Buford), Zac Crosby (Jefferson), Zack Mayfield (Habersham Central).
North coaches include Steve Savage (Commerce), Jess Simpson (Buford), Gene Cathcart (Habersham Central).
Jefferson High senior Zac Crosby was probably one of the happiest players when he found out he was invited to play in today’s GACA North South All-Star Classic at Memorial Stadium in Columbus. Immediately, he saw the opportunity to go up against the best high school seniors in the state.
Crosby is one of 40 players selected for the North squad, comprised of players from Atlanta and points north. The South’s squad is an equal number of players from the south metro Atlanta area all the way down to Valdosta.
The Dragons standout wide receiver/defensive back feels like he’s got a point to prove that he can play against players who are already committed to big Division I programs for college.
"I’m just looking forward to getting to compete against some of the best players in the state," Crosby said.
Crosby isn’t in the same boat with those guys playing in the game that are verbally committed to schools like Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, South Carolina and Kentucky. His list of schools interested in his services is much more modest, with offers from Savannah State, St. Francis, Fordham, and a partial offer amounting to $21,000 annually from St. Augustine.
Crosby already knows that coaches question whether he is big enough for taking a pounding in the college game at defensive back or running back with his 5-foot-9, 175 pound frame. He feels like there are plenty of schools that could benefit from his playing abilities at the FCS level of Division I or in Division II.
Crosby hopes to make an impression on the Division II coaches that are permitted to come to the game to scout out potential prospects. He also knows word of how he performs could float upstream to the smaller Division I schools.
"I just want to show that I can play on the same field with these guys," Crosby added.
Crosby is one of nine local players that will suit up for the North squad. Michael May, Cody Getz and Dallas Lee will all represent Class AA state champion Buford in the game. Izaan Cross and Daniel Drummond are on the field representing Class AAA state runner-up Flowery Branch. Also playing in the game are Zack Mayfield (Habersham Central), Josh Jackson (Gainesville) and Chase Vasser (Chestatee).
The North is coached by Commerce’s Steve Savage. Buford’s Jess Simpson and Habersham Central’s Gene Cathcart are assistant coaches.
Both teams had two days of practice together upon arrival in Columbus last Friday.
This game also features future college teammates playing together.
Drummond and Cross will continue playing together next year at Georgia Tech. Lee and Vasser are both solidly committed to Georgia.
Of the players playing in this annual GACA All-Star showcase seven players are verbally committed to Georgia Tech for next season.
Six players are going to sign with the Bulldogs and the other players in today’s game are still undecided where they will play next season.
Vasser and Lee are both looking forward to spending time with their future teammates. The former Chestatee linebacker is most interested in finally getting to meet North Cobb defensive tackle Derrick Lott, who gave his commitment to the Bulldogs during the football season.
"This game is a big deal," Vasser said. "It means a lot to be able to compete against the best players in the state."
"There’s going to be a lot of Georgia guys there, so it will be a good chance to get to know some of them," Lee said.
The former War Eagles’ linebacker doesn’t see any conflict of interest playing against his future teammates. In a game where teams are drawn strictly geographically by hometown, he hopes to be able to lay a hit on South running back and future Georgia running back Washaun Ealey, from Emmanuel County Institute.
Vasser says he’s had limited opportunity to compete against premier high school running backs in his career, with the exception of his former teammate Ben Souther and North Hall grad Hunter Wolf.
Vasser has already spoken with current Georgia players Rennie Curran and Tanner Strickland about what to expect out of this game, since they both played following their senior seasons in 2006.
Lee and Vasser are both finished with high school. Lee will early enroll at Georgia in January with the opportunity to take part in spring practice with the Bulldogs. Vasser plans on spending much of the spring in Athens becoming familiar with the playbook and trying to put 18 pounds on his current 6-3, 212 frame. Since he’s not an early enrollee, Vasser won’t be able to take part in any team drills.
Neither Drummond or Cross will be early enrolling at Georgia Tech.
Jackson is still uncommitted for next season. He hold offers from Mississippi and N.C. State and has a visit for Jan. 9 planned to Arkansas, according to Rivals.com.