Before too long, Dallas Gant will sign a letter of intent to play football at Ohio State and begin preparations for the next stage of his career.
But St. John’s Jesuit wasn’t letting him get away without one last feel of Friday night.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selected Gant as a 2018 All-American, and St. John’s and representatives from the game brought out all the stops in a ceremony Monday afternoon. The school invited students to a pep rally in the gym, the Ohio State fight song blared from the loudspeakers, and the Titans’ pep band was on hand to close the production.
“It was incredible that the school was able to do this for me,” Gant said. “I wasn’t expecting it either, to be honest. They brought the whole school and had a little pep rally, and it was a great ceremony.”
Because of his selection, the St. John’s linebacker will play in a national all-star game early next year. The game will take place Jan. 6 at the Alamodome in San Antonio and will be televised by NBC.
Traditionally, the game has brought together all of the top recruits in the country. Players such as Vince Young, DeSean Jackson, Andrew Luck, and Ted Ginn played in the game after their senior football seasons.
Gant was nationally recruited and earned invites to top-level camps and combines, which included the All-American Bowl’s combine. Even though Gant earned the attention as prospect, actually being named as an All-American was a bit surreal for his family.
“We had a chance to go down to the combine, so that was our first experience being able to see what that looked like,” said his father, Jim Gant. “For him to get named was unbelievably awesome.”
Gant is one of four players from the state of Ohio to be selected for the game, all of whom will play for the East team. Westerville South running back Jaelen Gill, who also is pledged to Ohio State, was selected as well.
He will be teammates with Pennsylvania defensive end Micah Parsons and offensive tackle Jackson Carman, two top-tier recruits whom Ohio State is recruiting heavily.
The selection was further affirmation of Gant’s status as one of the top high school players in the U.S.
“He has all the intangibles,” St. John’s coach Larry McDaniel said. “He’s big, he’s fast, and he can run, but more so than that, he’s a great kid.”
“Look at this,” McDaniel added, pointing to the students in attendance. “This is what it’s all about.”
The All-American Bowl chooses only the elite-level players in the country for the game, which made Gant’s selection a special one at St. John’s.
The best of the best are headed to San Antonio, and this year, that will include Toledo’s top-rated high school senior.
“Amazing players have played in this game and been part of this,” Gant said. “I know mostly guys from this year, and some of them are commits from our class [at OSU], and others are great players who are going to play in the NFL.
“It was incredible moment. I never expected this.”
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