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Five Rock Hill youth football players grab the spotlight

The future is so bright for local football that the coaches at Rock Hill's schools might need an extra pair of sunglasses in a few years.

Five local youth players have been selected to play in national all-star games in Phoenix, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. They are Jamari Currence, Vinny Emanuele, Canyon Rector and brothers Da'Neil and Elijah Adams.

And to get there says a lot about the quality of football played here. There were tryout camps held around the country in 22 cities, with at least 100 candidates at each.

When the tryouts ended, invitations were sent to 25 players for the East and 25 for the West team. There are two games, meaning 100 players were chosen. One is for 13-year-olds, the other for 14-year-olds.

Currence (11) and Elijah Adams (12) will play up age-wise in the Phoenix game, which will be at the home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. They will be joined by Da'Neil Adams (13).

Rector (12) will play at the Dallas Cowboys stadium as will Emanuele (13), who will leave there to play in San Antonio's Alamo Bowl.

The Phoenix game will be Monday, the Dallas game Wednesday and the one in San Antonio on Jan. 8.

"I played in San Antonio last year," Emanuele said. "It was a blessing; a great experience. And five of us going to games this year says a lot about football in our city."

Players must pay for transportation and a room. Players are required to bring shoulder pads and shoes, and the uniforms will be given to them.

Four players - all but Currence - played middle school ball this year and are members of the Rock Hill Cowboys, an independent organization that has teams in four age groups.

As far as the tryout camps, Currence said: "We stood out and the coaches at the camp we went to in Charlotte liked us."

Currence is a defensive back, Rector a wide receiver, Emanuele a running back, Da'Neil Adams a defensive back and Elijah Adams a defensive end, who is big enough to be confused with a high school sophomore.

As far as what the future holds, Currence and the Adams brothers are zoned for South Pointe. Former Northwestern standout Jay Currence, Jamari's dad, is an assistant coach at South Pointe.

Emanuele and Rector are zoned for Northwestern.

"These guys are good because they have stuck together," Vincent Emanuele Sr. said of his son's Cowboys teammates.

And the question had to be asked: "Would y'all like to stay together and play on the same high school team?"

Emanuele is locked into Northwestern. He was wearing a Trojans baseball hoodie as he offered his preference.

Currence, and Da'Neil Adams are locked in with South Pointe. Elijah Adams said he hopes his family moves before he starts high school and he can play for Northwestern.

"They have always been my favorite team," he said. "Da'Neil likes the Stallions, but I pull for the Trojans."