By: USA TODAY High School Sports | September 14, 2017
Callaway (Miss.) WR Malik Heath remembers vividly when he knew he was to be the next star coming out of the state of Mississippi.
It came when he saw two older stars get recognized as the top players in the state, and they handed down some advice.
“[Current Mississippi State DE Aaron] Odom called me first and then [Florida State RB] Cam [Akers],” Heath told the Clarion-Ledger in July. “They were like, ‘You next’. When they both called me I sat down to think about it. At first I thought, ‘What are they talking about?’ and then it clicked. I am next.”
On Thursday, Heath was presented with his honorary Under Armour All America Game when the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance came to his school.
Heath, a four-star receiver headed to play next season in Starkville, had some doubts about his star status early in his high school career.
“After my 10th-grade year so much was going through my head,” Heath told the Clarion-Ledger. “Am I really a Division I prospect? Do I really deserve these offers? Do I really deserve a fourth star? So I sat down with my momma, coach (Darius) Brown and coach (Issac) Williams and I was like, ‘This year I’m gonna explode.'”
Heath finished his junior season with more than 1,200 yards receiving and will now be featured in the Under Armour All America Game scheduled for Jan. 4 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando and to be televised on ESPN2.
Heath’s coach, Darius Brown, offered up some mighty high praise about his star receiver.
“Two words separate Malik from everybody else—work ethic,” Brown told the paper in July. “He works out with the team and then he comes back and does his receiver-specific workouts. You can’t outwork him.”