Laurel High School football standout Charles Cross gives a thumbs up to his father after sign- ing with Mississippi State. Seated with him are his mother Owedia Cross and father Mitchell Cross Sr. Standing, from left, are Principal Dr. Michael Eubanks, Assistant Principal Dr. Jaymar Jackson, brother Mitchell Cross Jr., head football coach Todd Breland, Assistant Principal Jeannine Agee and offensive line coach William Clay. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

Laurel High School football standout Charles Cross gives a thumbs up to his father after signing with Mississippi State. Seated with him are his mother Owedia Cross and father Mitchell Cross Sr. Standing, from left, are Principal Dr. Michael Eubanks, Assistant Principal Dr. Jaymar Jackson, brother Mitchell Cross Jr., head football coach Todd Breland, Assistant Principal Jeannine Agee and offensive line coach William Clay. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

WJ’s Young, LHS’ Cross set for national game at noon on NBC

The names on rosters from past U.S. Army All-American Bowl rosters is a who’s who of football greatness.

From Andrew Luck to Odell Beckham Jr. to Tim Tebow, no high school all-star game is more coveted to be selected to than this one, which will be played today (Saturday) at noon and broadcast live on NBC.

Two of those players suiting up today — the only two from Mississippi among the 100 selected to play — will carry the mantel for Jones County.

Laurel’s Charles Cross, a star offensive lineman who has signed with Mississippi State, will wear No. 75 for the East squad. Byron Young, a University of Alabama commit, will wear No. 47 for the East team.

“He’s the first young man from Laurel High School ever selected for this honor,” Laurel head coach Todd Breland said in October during a ceremony where Cross received his All-America jersey. “He will be a representative of the football program, the school and the community. He’s going to make the entire community very, very proud. I’m proud of him for what he’s accomplished and what he’s going to accomplish.”

Cross was lauded for his work in the classroom and community, as well as on the football field. He has a 3.6 grade-point average and he’s a member of the Key Club, said Mike Boyd, who is marketing director for the All-American Bowl.

“He’s a mentor for children in elementary school,” Boyd said, and he serves as a “role model” and “example of what you can achieve if you work hard.”

Young is a four-star recruit and rated by several recruiting agencies as a Top 10 recruit in Mississippi. He helped lead West Jones to its first appearance in the state high school football championship game.

WJ pep rally

West Jones defensive lineman Byron Young, at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, front, leads the pep rally leap, a move that defies comprehension almost as much as the Mustangs’ 37-14 victory over undefeated and top-ranked Hattiesburg on Friday night. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

“He has a 3.25 GPA and a 21 on the ACT,” coach Scott Pierson told the students and media gathered at the assembly. “He’s accomplished this with hard work and dedication in the classroom and on the football field.”

On the football field, he was a dominating presence with 125 tackles, 29 1/2 tackles for loss and 17 1/2 sacks.

Playing in the All-America Bowl in San Antonio — previously known as the Under Armor Bowl — “has always been a dream,” Young said. “I’m trying to make it to the NFL, so I can come back and help my community and take care of my parents and pay them back.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.