Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Auburn athlete commit Tray Bishop received some surprising news.
If you’ve ever seen Bishop play, watched his highlight tape or heard any of the hype around the 4-star recruit, it might not be all that startling. But for Bishop, given his small-town roots in Terrell County (Ga.), the notice that he received an invitation to the Army All-America Bowl came as somewhat of a shock.
“Me, coming from where I’m from, a small city, you never know,” Bishop told SEC Country. “You never know until you get invited for something like this how far it goes. So, it’s a great accomplishment for me in my life.”
????? BLESSINGS on top of BLESSINGS ‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/lNtZVzWAUC
— 6⃣ (@_TrayBishop) October 5, 2016
When he learned of his invitation, there was no hesitation on Bishop’s end. He accepted right away, already eager to get the opportunity to travel to San Antonio to participate in the Jan. 7 high school all-star game, which is made up of 100 of the top football players in the country.
The Army All-American Bowl selection committee picked Bishop, who plays quarterback for his high school team, to play safety in the contest.
“It was amazing. My whole mood changed,” Bishop said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
IN PLAINS SIGHT: Isaiah Buggs ‘at home’ in Auburn
For the first time in Terrell County history, one of the school’s athletes was invited to one of the two major high school All-American games.
According to the most-recent census, Dawson — the small Georgia town where Bishop’s high school is located — has a population of 4,557, so it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that few, if any, high-caliber football players have come from the area.
Bishop has changed that trend.
He will take that small-town upbringing to Texas for the first week of 2017 to showcase his multipurpose ability against some of the top competition in the country. Bishop plays quarterback and safety at his high school. He returns kicks and punts, as well.
In the Army Bowl, he’s excited to test all of those skill sets against top-notch talent.
“I just want to get there, go to San Antonio. I just want to see how everything is ran,” Bishop said. “I’ll get to play with a lot of top players. Whatever I learn, I want to take with me. Hopefully, I can take it with me to college.”
Bishop isn’t the only Auburn commit to receive a nomination to play in the game.
Calvin Ashley, Malcolm Askew, Nick Brahms, Devan Barrett, Austin Troxell, Alaric Williams, Tadarian Moultry and Carlito Gonzalez were all nominated, too. As of now, Bishop, Moultry and Brahms are the only ones known to have been invited and accepted.
Linebacker commit Chandler Wooten and kicker commit Anders Carlson have accepted their invitations to play in the Under Armour All-America Game.
NCAA announces potential early signing periods
It’s been a topic of conversation for a few years now, but it appears the NCAA is beginning to strongly consider the possibility of early signing periods for high school football players.
DI Council proposes early signing periods and additional assistant coach for football: https://t.co/6sxJMlCLXD
— NCAA (@NCAA) October 5, 2016
As things currently stand, the NCAA Division I Council allows for one football signing period beginning the first Wednesday in February — more commonly known as National Signing Day.
The new Division I Council proposal would add two new early signing periods, which would be 72-hour windows in June and December for football recruits to sign their national letters of intent early. If the commissioners’ association votes to adopt the council’s proposal, it would go into effect for the 2017-2018 season.
“The working group did a deep dive on recruiting from beginning to end, and I think what we came up with as a proposal is both student-athlete-friendly and coach-and staff-friendly,” said Bob Bowlsby, chair of the Football Oversight Committee and commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. “We hit a sweet spot.”
This has been a regularly debated topic for several years now, with many in the industry believing this is a team-first idea. This will continue to be discussed in the coming weeks, with a few wrinkles still needing to be discussed, including what would happen for an early signee if the coach of the program he inked with was fired.
We will cover all of this and more in notebooks to come.