Molson to play in US Army All-American game
JJ Molson 2014 has been named as the second Canadian football player ever to make the team for January’s US Army All-American Bowl game, and he chose Selwyn House School as the place to hold his official induction ceremony.
Members of the All-American Bowl organization were at the school on November 25 to present the team jersey to JJ. Also present were JJ’s family and paternal grandparents, former classmates and the entire Senior School, as well as some of the coaches who have played a role in JJ’s rise in the sport of football.
At the top of that list was Selwyn House Director of Athletics Mike Maurovich, who lured JJ over to the Gryphon football program when the young soccer star began to lose interest in his first sport in Grade 10. Maurovich started him at receiver and moved him to defensive back before he found him a home as kicker. “We knew he had a big leg ever since he was in Grade 1,” Mr. Maurovich says proudly.
In the years that followed, JJ’s amazing right foot caught the eye of coaches at CEGEP, and also at football training camps JJ attended in the US. At the Football University Top Gun Camp in Dublin, Ohio in July, JJ attracted a lot of attention from among 1,000 athletes for successfully kicking field goals of up to 65 yards.
His growing reputation below the border is what landed JJ a spot as a kicker/punter on this year’s US Army All-American Bowl team. From a pool of a million high-school-age football players in the US, the Army Bowl selects 90 of the best for an all-star game pitting athletes from the east against those from the west.
The chosen players assemble in San Antonio on January 3 for practice. On January 9 the Alamodome will come alive with the pageantry of the game and all its associated events. Hometown fans will be watching for JJ’s number 16 jersey.
In the 15 years since it was first played, the Army All-American Bowl has been a showcase for players who went on to become stars of the NCAA and NFL, including Andrew Luck, Patrick Peterson and Jamaal Charles.
The game gets underway at 1 p.m. on January 9, and is expected to be watched live by millions on NBC.
At the November 25 induction ceremony at Selwyn House, JJ thanked his kicking coaches, Chris Sailer and Gerry McGrath, who have helped him hone his talents since he left Selwyn House; his old SHS classmates; and his family, starting with his parents, John and Miriam, sister Katya and grandparents David and Claire Molson, all of whom were present for the ceremony.
He also thanked Selwyn House, which he described as his “second home.”
“This school moulded me into the man I am today, and a huge part of it is thanks to the teachers who, day in and day out, taught with great passion,” JJ said. “Mr. Hannaford, I will be forever thankful to you for teaching us the importance of a strong handshake and the ‘three trues’: being true to yourself, being true to others, and being true to your school.”
JJ’s message for the students assembled before him was twofold. “For all those who think their dreams are out of reach, keep dreaming,” he said, and “I want you guys to respect the teachers and the entire faculty around school, because they want nothing but the best for you.”
Just before the November 25 ceremony, JJ said Selwyn House was an obvious choice as a venue for this event. “I felt a responsibility to honour the school,” he said, “because Selwyn House means so much to me.”
It was also announced that Selwyn House Athletic Director Mike Maurovich has not only been invited to San Antonio to attend the All-American Bowl, but also to attend the 2015 US Army Coaches’ Academy. Selwyn House Grade 10 student Andrew Mullins-Grant will also be journeying to San Antonio during the All-American Bowl to compete in the Junior Combine, a related event that tests the skills and fitness of younger players who aspire to join the Army team in the near future.
Currently a CEGEP student at John Abbott College, JJ Molson has been accepted to attend university at UCLA, where he will be going immediately after the All-American Bowl, and is expected to take the field with the UCLA Bruins next fall.
To witness a demonstration of JJ’s kicking skills, click here
To see the CBC report on JJ’s induction at Selwyn House, click here