ORANGE PARK, Fla. – As a high school football player, there aren’t many honors bigger than being named to the Under Armour All-America team.
It’s a rare honor.
Since 2006, only two players from Clay County high schools had earned a spot in the game, Oakleaf’s Shaq Quarterman, now with the Jaguars, and Fleming Island’s Ian Silberman, who spent five years in the NFL.
Now, add Orange Park offensive tackle Roderick Kearney to the list.
Kearney, who has verbally committed to Florida State, became the first player from Orange Park High School to receive the honor.
“When I first found out, I was very excited,” Kearney said. “I worked hard for this and went to countless All-American camps, getting MVP. It just showed me that I wanted more. It’s been a really good experience.”
On Wednesday, Kearney pulled on the Under Armour All-America jersey for the first time in front of teammates, classmates, friends and family in Raiderdome. Kearney’s play on the field, his leadership off of it, and his work in the classroom were all praised.
Kearney plans on graduating in December and enrolling in college in the spring semester.
“His leadership, his work ethic, he is an all-around great kid,” said Orange Park football coach Marcus Wimberly, who has coached Kearney during his senior season. “He has tried to excel on and off the football field. So he’s just a great all-around kid.”
Kearney was moved into the starting lineup late in his freshman season and remained there. As a sophomore, he began receiving scholarship offers, first from UCF, then from just about everyone else in the southeast. This summer, as his senior year approached, he verbally committed to Florida State but will not be able to sign until the early signing period, Dec. 21-23.
Kearney’s family was clearly proud and excited about the honor, but there was one family member who was more excited than all the rest.
“I will say my mom,” Kearney said. “She went through the journey a lot. We went out countless days of online schoolwork, sweating and getting my body recovered.”
Wimberly also said that Kearney receiving this honor could be a catalyst for younger players in the program to work harder to improve.
“They should definitely see what hard work can give them,” Wimberly said. “Everybody should strive for that level of success on the football field. It’d be good for everybody.”
Kearney hopes that his example can help propel Orange Park to new heights in the future.
“I kind of see myself as a role model to the younger guys on the team to help them through their journey,” Kearney said. “It’s more than just high school. They can continue their ca... Click here to read full article