The Cobb Senior Bowl, like other postseason all-star games of its kind, are ways for those players to get the exposure they need to pick up a coveted athletic scholarship.
"We've had guys come in from Eastern Kentucky, Coastal Carolina, Jacksonville State and Valdosta State," game organizer Michael Siano said. "Those are just a few of them. What is really exciting about our game in Cobb County is that the kids that sign up to go to Tennessee, Georgia Tech and other Division I schools all want to play in this game. It's the last time to see them all in Cobb."
In order to get the maximum amount of exposure for everyone involved, the teams will rotate players in and out based on a predetermined number of plays. Each quarter will be played to the college and professional length of 15 minutes, as opposed to the high school game's 12 minutes.
This year's fourth edition of the Cobb Senior Bowl, set to kick off at 2 p.m. at McEachern's Walter Cantrell Stadium, will reward the county's best senior players with at least one more opportunity to play. While many of the players will go on to play at the next level, the majority are either on the cusp of receiving a scholarship from a smaller school or are playing their last organized football.
"I think (recruiting) is an aspect of it," said Pope coach Matt Kemper, who will lead the Americans in today's game. "Obviously, there are some guys that are on the bubble. But maybe even moreso than big recruiting guys, I think it's an opportunity for smaller schools to come in and see a bunch of kids all in one spot that might not have had the opportunity to work out.
"Any young man that has the opportunity to go to college as an athlete just makes that experience special. I'm honored to be a part of this whole thing, and hope that folks come out and check out this game."
Preceding today's game, the Americans and Nationals have been practicing for just four days. Though the game presents a recruiting opportunity, the broader theme is for the players to suit up and have a good time.
"The kids want to win," said Pebblebrook coach Randall Smith, who will lead the Nationals, "but when you come out to watch what Cobb has to offer, you will see anywhere between 120 and 140 of the best athletes in Cobb. People should come out and support this county."
There have been few times for the teams to come together and practice this week, but the point of the practices has been to share camaraderie and have fun in the day leading up to the final game of 2010.
"We've just been having fun in getting to know each other," Smith said. "We're getting out and excited about having this much talent on one side at a one time. The kids are understanding well to the plays. It's amazing when you get this many kids together that have this much talent."