Two area high school football standouts have had the honor of representing their school, town and state this week on a national level.
Southeast Whitfield High School quarterback Porter Johnson and Dalton High School offensive lineman Dylan Cole were selected to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl, an All-Star game for some of the top high school seniors from across the country held in Jacksonville, Fla.
The game was originally scheduled for this afternoon but was moved to 2 p.m. on Sunday due to field availability at EverBank Field, home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.
Johnson and Cole are two of 10 players from Georgia listed on the Grey roster, a team comprised of players from southern states. Cole, however, had to withdraw from the game due to the delay.
Even though Cole won't suit up on Sunday, he was present for practices and other events during the week. Johnson said it was nice to have a friend to share the experience with.
"We played rec-league football together. It's really good to be on the same team with him again," he said. "It definitely does help. It's really cool to have him here with me."
Athletes were selected for the game based on their performances at several of the bowl's combines during the offseason.
"I went to a regional combine in the spring and then a super combine in the summer, then got selected to play in the game," Johnson said. "I'm just really thankful God blessed me with a lot of talent and I've been working hard. I'm very grateful for this opportunity."
The players in the game will be coached by veterans of the NFL. Johnson's Grey team is coached by Quinn Gray, who played quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.
"They're coaching us from the perspective of a college or NFL coach," Johnson said. "They're giving us tips and pointers that will help us out our entire careers."
Johnson said there were quite a few college scouts attending the practices during the week with more expected for the game. While Cole has already signed with Division I University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Johnson is uncommitted. He has received offers from a number of Division III schools but is looking to make an impression against some of the top talent in the country.
"I'm going to do what I can, do what I did all football season, and show them what God's given me," he said. "Hopefully I can make a good impression this week and turn some heads."
Johnson is one of three quarterbacks on his team's roster. He said it wasn't revealed to him how the playing time in the game will go but said he'll do everything he can to show the coaches what he can do.
Johnson recognizes the honor of being selected to participate in the game and the opportunity he has to represent his hometown.
"I take a lot of pride in that," he said. "I'm trying to make sure I represent Georgia, Southeast and Whitfield County well and make sure they're respected by everyone."