It seems some folks are starting to realize just how many great high school football players reside in the Trinity League.
The Army All-American Bowl, considered the nation’s premier postseason showcase, selected six Trinity League players to compete Jan. 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The league had eight players chosen in the previous four years combined.
This season’s representatives are Frank Martin and Curtis Robinson from Mater Dei, Sean McGrew and D.J. Morgan from St. John Bosco, and K.J. Costello and Dylan Crawford from Santa Margarita, just the second and third Eagles ever selected in the 16 years of the event.
These half dozen players are among the 90 or so from around the country who will comprise the East and West squads.
Why has it taken the Trinity League–one of the most talent-laden collections of teams in the nation–so long to receive this type of individual recognition?
One thought is that the bowl selection committee pays too much attention to national rankings, which places too much emphasis on won-loss records.
That formula works heavily against Trinity League teams because they typically schedule heavyweight opponents during nonleague play, thus lessening the opportunity to build a glistening won-loss record. Then they dive into league play, where they just beat up on each other year after year.
Or maybe it’s just the lack of West Coast exposure. The league’s 7 p.m. kickoffs seem undesirable to national broadcasters, who don’t believe those on the East Coast are interested in staying up past midnight to watch the end of a high school game on the other side of the country.
Whatever the case, the Trinity League hasn’t received much love in the national polls in recent years. It took a 16-0 record by St. John Bosco in 2013 for the Braves just to land No. 4 in the end-of-season USA Today rankings. Turned out, three St. John Bosco players were selected for the Army All-American Bowl that season, while none made it from the remaining five Trinity League schools.
But the way the Trinity League continues to stock the collegiate ranks with talented players, bowl organizers were bound to notice sooner or later.
It’s hard to miss a player like Martin, a 6-foot, 5-inch, 308-pound offensive tackle. He committed to USC last April, but has scheduled other recruiting visits in the wake of USC’s head coaching change. In the meantime, Martin helped the Monarchs average 172 rushing yards through his team’s first eight games.
Robinson is a 6-foot, 3-inch, 215-pound outside linebacker who had five sacks, two caused fumbles and a recovery through the first eight games. Robinson, rated by Rivals.com as the 10th best outside linebacker in the state, is firmly committed to Stanford.
Costello is also headed to Stanford on a full ride. The 6-foot, 5-inch quarterback had 14 touchdown passes and just three interceptions through the first seven games before sitting out the eighth with an ankle injury. Crawford, who transferred from La Canada St. Francis during the off-season, owned 43 catches through eight games, including six for touchdowns. Crawford made recruiting visits last month to Miami and Michigan.
Hopefully, this will represent the start of things to come between the Trinity League and Army All-American Bowl and not just once in a blue moon.