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Brent Beaird: Oakleaf's Quarterman Selected For Army All American Bowl

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Oakleaf High School linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, who had 101 tackles his senior season and 137 tackles his junior season, has been invited to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl football classic to held in San Antonio at 1 p.m. Jan. 9 at the AlamoDome.

Quarterman, who will be enrolling in the University of Miami in January, said being a part of the game is a milestone for him.

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"It's an extreme honor for me to be selected among all the athletes in the country to be in the game," Quarterman said. "I've worked extremely hard and it felt good to hear the news."

Quarterman, who is the No. 6-ranked linebacker in the nation by 247Sports and the No. 20 player in Florida, said the honor is even more meaningful since his Uncle Dexter Gordon is retired from the Army.

Notable players selected by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl have included Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron and Stanford and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

ONCE IN A LIFETIME

Quarterman said he has had a wonderful experience as a student-athlete at Oakleaf High.

"It was surreal," he said. "A once-in-a-lifetime experience. The teachers are amazing. I've known my peers for years. Our senior class is one big group of friends."

Darrion Owens, Quarterman's former Knight teammate, is already playing at Miami. Unfortunately, Owens tore the ACL in his knee against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 11 and missed the rest of the season.

"It means a lot to see him do well before he got injured," Quarterman said. "I hope that I can help the team in same way he did."

Like many athletes around the country, Quarterman is enrolling during the January midterm so he can get an early start on college classes.

"I'm excited to go to next level with nothing but Division I talent to compete with," he said. "I'm going in the spring to get acclimated to classes before touching the field."

In terms of academics, Quarterman said he wants enter the medical field to be a registered nurse before becoming an anesthetist.

He also said his faith has been important to him in making decisions.

"I have prayed during my whole career, especially during and before my freshman year," Quarterman said. "I was terrified during my transition from middle school to high school.

"It was never guaranteed that I had a college offer, so I worked out three times a day and stayed late after practice. The college offers came a lot faster than I thought they would. I enjoyed the recruiting process, but it can be too much at times."

Miami is also in the midst of searching for a head coach after Al Golden was fired. Quarterman said he is committed to the school regardless of who ends up being the new head coach.

CREDIT FOR COACH

Quarterman, who was also recruited by Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State, said Oakleaf High football coach Derek Chipoletti make a big difference in his life.

"… It helped me meeting coach Chip to see how he cared about his players," Quarterman said. "He made the transition much easier from middle school to high school. We'd be in weight room and he would give encouragement or spot us on squats. I've never seen that. He would grind with us. He was monumental to my career."

Chipoletti said Quarterman is reaping the rewards of his hard work.

"I wish we could have made the playoffs [Oakleaf finished 8-2] for him his senior year," Chipoletti said. "He's the guiding light for our program and the face of our program. As good of a job that he does on the field, I'm more proud of him seeing the type of human being he is. I've been blessed to be around him for four years."

Chipoletti said Quarterman is very humble away from the field.

"Despite his 6-foot-2, 237 pounds, you won't know he is going to the Army All-American game then heading to Miami by just talking to him," Chipoletti said. "He's a very down-to-earth kid. He comes from his aunt and uncle and his guardians Donna and Dexter Gordon who have done a great job of keeping him humble. I've had five guys in the last 12-15 years who are special once-in-a-lifetime players," Chipoletti said. "I've had two of those guys at linebacker who played together in Darrion Owens and Shaquille."

Clay High coach Josh Hoekstra said Quarterman has developed into an outstanding player due to his efforts in the weight room and the overall Oakleaf football program.

"His eye discipline and relentless pursuit to the ball are what made him so special," Hoekstra said. "He's one of the top defensive players I've ever seen in high school. He has an extremely bright future."

ESPN SEC Recruiting Analyst Derek Tyson said Quarterman is one of the most physically ready-to-play linebackers in this year's class.

"When you look at him, he just looks like a college sophomore already," Tyson said. "Then you turn on the tape and see a guy who flies to the ball and is a very aggressive tackler.

"He definitely reminds you of some of the hard-hitting Miami linebackers such as Jonathan Vilma and most recently Denzel Perryman. In my opinion, he will make an impact right away on special teams at Miami and work his way into the linebacker rotation."

Brent Beaird writes for Gator Bait magazine and Collegesportsnotebook.com, is a college football analyst for First Coast News television and 1010XL sports radio in Jacksonville, and provides color commentary for the Play ON! sports network. He's also a Heisman Trophy voter. Contact him at (904) 703-7832 or brentbeaird@comcast.net.


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Source : http://jacksonville.com/community/clay/2015-11-27/story/brent-beaird-oakleafs-quarterman-selected-army-all-american-bowl

Brent Beaird: Oakleaf's Quarterman selected for Army All-American Bowl