South Pointe's Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman will get an early look at the type of competition they will see on the football field next fall when they play tonight in the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game.
The game will be televised at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
The Stallions teammates, who helped lead South Pointe to the Class AAAA Division II state title, are set to enroll at South Carolina later this month. They will room together and be ready for coach Steve Spurrier's spring football practice.
They are the only high school teammates invited to the All-America game.
The game, in its second year, will be played at Orlando's Florida Citrus Bowl. It is a creation of ESPN to put the spotlight on the nation's top high school seniors.
"We are lucky to have two guys in this game," South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll said. He had just arrived at the practice complex in Orlando when he was reached by phone Friday afternoon.
Gilmore and Holloman left Tuesday morning. They have received their uniforms, and both got the numbers they wore at South Pointe: Gilmore will wear No. 4, Holloman No. 2.
The players have been divided into two teams, white and black squads. Last year, the game pitted red against silver.
Gilmore and Holloman will be on the white team, playing free safety and strong safety, respectively. Recruiting Web site rivals.com was impressed with the squad's secondary, which includes the site's No. 1 safety Craig Loston, an LSU commitment.
Jamie Newberg is a recruiting analyst for rivals.com. He gushed over Gilmore after Friday's practice session.
"Gilmore is a superior athlete with versatility, instincts and playmaking ability," he wrote in a posting on the Web site. "(He) just needs to get more reps to gain comfort in the secondary."
"(Gilmore) shows great instincts at safety and he's not shy of contact. (He) is so athletic he could play receiver, cornerback or safety. I think he has the brightest future at free safety."
David Cloninger, formerly with The Herald, writes for the Web site Gamecockcentral.com. He believes Holloman could step in and play right away at strong safety and said there will be plenty of opportunities for Gilmore at a couple positions. Safety Emanuel Cook was academically ineligible and did not play in the Outback Bowl. Cornerbacks Stoney Woodson and Carlos Thomas are graduating seniors and junior corner Captain Munnerlyn plans to turn pro.
The game isn't new for Herald-area football players. Former Chester standout and current USC freshman C.C. Whitlock intercepted a pass and ran it back 32 yards for a touchdown in last year's inaugural game.
There are three other South Carolina high school players on the white team. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey (Calhoun County) is headed to Southern Cal, offensive lineman J.K. Jay (Christ Church) has committed to Clemson and defensive end Sam Montgomery (Greenwood) has yet to commit. Quinton Washington (Timberland), a 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive lineman, is playing on the black team. He is also weighing his options.
A couple other players of note in the game are linebacker Eric Fields, who has committed to Clemson and running back Jarvis Giles, a USC commit. Giles won an obstacle course competition at the practice complex during the week.
Karl Lyles 329-4032