By Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | November 21, 2016 3:30 pm
Whenever a team has one of its stars selected to play in the U.S. Army or Under Armour All-American Games, it’s a significant honor. It’s also traditionally a sign that the team itself is pretty competitive. When a squad lands two or more players in those All-American games? That’s a sign they’re a power.
Ergo, Trinity Christian Academy must be a real power.
The Jacksonville school is sending both cornerback Shaun Wade, a five-star Ohio State commit who spoke about “beating that team up north this week,” and four-star wide receiver D.J. Matthews to San Antonio to take part in the U.S. Army All-American Game. Matthews is committed to Florida State, but has also taken recent visits to Tennessee and Virginia Tech, and told USA TODAY High School Sports that he is also considering the Volunteers and Hokies as well. The teens celebrated their selection at a jersey ceremony at the school Monday. Wade is considered to be among the top-20 overall prospects in the Class of 2017, while Matthews is a top-10 ranked receiver, making both players true game-changers, let alone when they share the same uniform.
That’s part of what has piloted Trinity Christian within a pair of victories of a state title. While both Wade and Matthews stress their personal humility, there’s no question that their God-given talent could transform the fortunes of the schools where they eventually end up, no matter where they play.
First, they have business to attend to in the Florida state playoffs.
“I’m a good Christian, a man of God. I just want to stay humble and stay successful in life,” Wade told USA TODAY High School Sports from the pair’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour stop presented by American Family Insurance. “I just want to get better and hit the weight room. We have two more games to states, focused on that with my brothers and my squad.”
Then they’ll get one more chance after their senior season wraps to play together, in San Antonio, when the stars suit up for the East squad in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“To be honest, I want to bond with everyone,” Wade told USA TODAY about his time in San Antonio. “I want to be friends with everyone because it might help me out or I can help them out in the future.”
Added Matthews, who watches old Peter Warrick footage when trying to develop new skills in his game: “I’m looking forward to developing and accepting my role at the next level. I’m a family person, football is a game of life, and I’m ready to live whatever comes at me.”