Senior football player Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) was presented his honorary game jersey Thursday during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of a three-month selection tour.
Wideman, a Florida State commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised game featuring the country’s top high school seniors. The game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“I want to first thank God for blessing me with this great opportunity,” said Wideman, who also thanked several family members, teachers, administrators and students. “I want to thank my coaches and teammates for pushing to go harder and get better. ... I know that I have a long way to go, and I ask that all of you pray for me and be with me during this journey.”
Saluda coach Wayne Bell said Wideman has accepted every challenge placed in front of him.
“I think he has had good push from family, from his grandmother especially. He’s had a good number of coaches that have really pushed him hard in the weight room and field, and he has accepted those challenges and he has worked extremely hard.”
For Wideman, the chance to follow in the footsteps of Jadeveon Clowney was a great opportunity.
"I decided to accept the invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game because it is one of the biggest games in the nation, and my favorite player, Jadeveon Clowney, played in it. I also just felt like this was going to be the best game for me to play in, and I'm very happy that I got selected. My dad is who motivates me the most. I lost my dad when I was in eighth grade, and every time I'm playing on the field, I think of him pushing me to go harder. There haven't been many people from Saluda to do something like this, and go far away and play in college, so that also motivates me and pushes me to go hard."
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Wideman is the No. 178 prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 12 defensive tackle. He committed to Florida State over South Carolina and several other programs.