It has been close to a decade since an area player has been selected for the Under Armour All-America football game.
Before Wednesday, Escambia’s Trent Richardson was the last area player to receive an UA All-America jersey, as he competed in the 2009 game.
Now, it’s Washington Wildcat Leatherwood’s turn — who unveiled his black UA jersey with red and gray accents in front of his teammates, coaches, teachers, fellow students and the band at the Washington High auditorium on Wednesday afternoon.
“When I first found out I had been selected, it was kind of crazy and almost surreal,” saId Leatherwood, who holds offers to 14 Power-5 conference schools. “It’s almost unbelievable that I got this many eyes on me. I’m grateful for it.”
Leatherwood plans to sign on December 16 as part of his early graduation. His signing day will be hosted at Washington High school, and the University of Alabama is the front runner as Leatherwood issued a hard commit to the Crimson Tide.
“(I commuted to Alabama because) of the way they prepare for games and the way they go about everything they do ” Leatherwood said. “It’s like a business out there and it’s serious. That’s what my mindset is like. I want to be successful in life, to do that you have to take things seriously.”
Leatherwood called the jersey his second favorite of all time that he has worn, charting his Nike: The Opening jersey one spot ahead of the All-America game uniform.
“I want to thank my teachers and staff at Booker T. (Washington) … my family, friends and coaches in Pensacola for supporting me through the entire process,” said Leatherwood, the Alabama Crimson Tide commit. “I also want to thank American Family Insurance for giving me the opportunity to play in the Under Armour All-America game … Go Wildcats!”
Washington High coach Charlie Ward expressed gratitude for his role as a player and teammate, saying he is “grateful for the opportunity to ride the coattails of Leatherwood.”
“(To Leatherwood) Alex, keep moving forward and keep enjoying the process of the Under Armour game,” Ward said. “Your coaches, teammates and school is proud of you and all of your accomplishments. We definitely look forward to watching you on ESPN (in Under Armour game Jan. 1). All of your teammates will be there in spirit. Some may be there physically.
“I’ve definitely enjoyed this moment (Wednesday) and I am glad to be (Leatherwood’s) coach.”
This year’s Under Armour game will take place Jan. 1 first and will be the 10th year of the tradition. Current NFL players Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons) and A.J. Green (Cincinnatti Bengals) participated in the game during their high school careers, in addition to eight first-round NFL draft picks in 2016,
Leatherwood and the Wildcats hold a big district game, as they travel to Pine Forest as both teams search for their first District 1-6A wins.
“It’s a big district game and I’m looking forward to it,” Leatherwood said. “Hopefully we pull out a win and take it from there.”
Want to Go?
Where: Pine Forest High
Who: Washington Wildcats vs. Pine Forest Eagles
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Skinny: Both teams will seek to rebound from losses in their first district games.
WATCH: Go to PNJ.com/Sports to watch Alex Leatherwood unveil his Under Armour All-America Game jersey in front of the Washington High auditorium on Wednesday.