Bluestone High School senior and Boydton resident Neil Clayton Jr. participated in a prestigious event for high school football players recently. Clayton was selected to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl that took place on Monday, January 13 at Mercedes Benz Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. The All-American Bowl has produced several college and pro stars in recent years, including current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and the 2018 NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
The process to become a player in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl is not a simple one. It begins with a nomination from a coach, scout, parent or player. Once the nomination is submitted the players are invited to one of several regional combines where Blue-Grey staff, regional scouts as well as NFL veterans evaluate each player. If the player performs well enough, they are invited to participate in the next step which is the super combine. From there the NFL veterans who are also the coaches in the game, pick from those players who perform well enough in the super combine to participate in the All-American Bowl. From the strenuous process, it is obvious that only the best of the best high school football players in the country are invited to play in this game, and Bluestone’s own Neil Clayton Jr. was one of the few selected around the country.
There are now four Blue-Grey All-American Bowls that take place throughout the country so that each region is able to pick their best. The first two have already taken place at AT&T Stadium in Texas, Monday’s in Atlanta was the third and there is one that will take place next week in Tampa, FL to round out this years bowls.
Clayton played on the Blue team on Monday, that was coached by 3 NFL veterans as well as an NFL veteran assistant coach. Being able to perform in front of staff such as this dramatically increases Clayton’s chances of being offered a scholarship to play at a high level college next year. Clayton is also a reigning state champion wrestler at Bluestone, but he wants to play football at the next level. Clayton was invited to the combine as a linebacker, where he earned first team All James RIver District this past season. Clayton also played running back, but he excels at the linebacker position, which he got to showcase on Monday in Atlanta.
Blue-Grey football was established in 1989 by the father son duo of Gus and Erik Bell so that they could help prospects get exposure and get the opportunity to be offered a scholarship to play college football. Today there are close to 20 regional and super regional combines throughout the country where the players are evaluated. The invite only event is one of the premiere high school football events in the country today.
For Neil Clayton Jr., Monday was a chance of a lifetime to display his skills for some of the top schools in the country. It is an unofficial statistic that says that close to 90% of participants of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl are offered scholarships to play college football at some level. With his senior season coming to a close, Clayton will be making his decision where to play next year very soon, and with the exposure that he gained over the last few days in Atlanta, it is safe to say that Neil Clayton Jr. will be playing college football at a high level very soon.