By: Brendan C. Hall, USA TODAY High School Sports | November 15, 2018
Walnut Hills (Cincinnati) defensive tackle Jowon Briggs received his Under Armour All-American jersey Wednesday morning at his school as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour.
“People always say this is surreal. It’s not surreal as much as it is I feel like I’m happy to have achieved these goals that I’ve set,” Briggs told USA TODAY following Thursday’s ceremony.
“It’s more like happiness, but grabbing [the jersey] lets me know that I have to keep working to get the next thing I’ll be grabbing.”
The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Briggs, a Virginia commit, is ranked by 247 Sports as the second-best overall prospect in Ohio, and seventh-best defensive tackle in the entire country.
And while it was a bit of a disappointing fall season for the 4-6 Eagles, there was plenty of fodder for Briggs’ highlight reel. He showed marked improvement this fall with his hand-fighting skills in the pass rush, but make no mistake — Briggs is old school, apt to strike with a club move and rip his way to the gaps:
“As a D-lineman, I don’t think I’m really a finesse guy,” Briggs said. “I’m not 350 pounds obviously, but I’m more strength and power. I’m overall pretty good in all categories, but then the strength and power and explosion are where I excel at.”
Briggs also saw time at running back this fall for the Eagles. Could he see time in the backfield in special situations with the ‘Hoos? He says he hasn’t talked much with Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall much about it, but is willing to do whatever they tell him to do.
Regardless, he’s optimistic about the program’s momentum going forward.
“We’re definitely trending upward,” Briggs said. “We’re winning more games, and player-wise, I feel like we’re bringing in a lot of talented players, especially with this class. Last year’s was good too. I think overall more people are drawn to Coach Mendenhall.”
The Under Armour All-America Game is scheduled for Jan. 3 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and will be televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EST.