By: Jason Jordan, USA Today High School Sports | November 9, 2018
IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) teammates Trey Sanders, Nolan Smith, Charles Turner and Dontae Lucas make it a point not to dwell on the past; instead they use past mishaps as an opportunity to learn and grow.
That’s precisely the perspective they took from their lone loss to Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana. Calif.) on Sept. 21.
“That’s behind us, but we learned a lot from that,” Smith said. “I feel like it’s helped us get to where we are now. We’re in a good place now.”
Things got even better on Friday when the All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance stopped by their school and presented them with their game jerseys.
“This game has always had some of the best players in it so to be able to play in it is big for us,” said Smith, a defensive end who is committed to Georgia and ranked No. 3 overall in the Chosen 25. “This is what you play the game for. I can’t wait to get down there and play in it.”’
Sanders, a running back, is ranked No. 11 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019, Turner, a center, is committed to LSU and Dontae Lucas, a guard, is committed to Florida State.
The Ascenders ended the regular season with a 48-7 romping of Hoover (Ala.) on Nov. 2.
The Ascenders are ranked No. 4 overall in the USA TODAY Sports Super 25.
“I feel like this was the perfect way to end our season,” said Smith, who is taking an official visit to Georgia today. “Just with the big win and now getting the jerseys. We didn’t go undefeated, but I still feel like we were successful this season.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY