TAMPA Berkeley Prep senior back Nelson Agholor says he's in no hurry for high school to end. In fact, he seems keenly aware of how soon he will be on his way to college and playing at the next level on a much more visible and pressure-filled stage.
So when Agholor takes part in this week's activities leading up to Thursday's prestigious Under Armour All-America High School Football Game in St. Petersburg, the five-star national recruit plans to take it all in one day at a time and enjoy himself.
"It's just a wonderful opportunity and an honor to be named an all-American and a privilege to be a part of something like this," said Agholor, who was primarily a running back in high school but is being recruited by college coaches as a wide receiver. "A lot of great players -- some players who put up great numbers throughout their high school careers -- didn't get picked for this but I'm proud to be a part of it."
The Under Armour game, slated for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Tropicana Field, is one of three nationally-televised prep all-star games featuring many of the top senior players in the country.
Also on the schedule is Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, where Jefferson defensive end Tyriq McCord and Land O'Lakes tightend Kent Taylor are members of the East squad, and the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, Tuesday in Phoenix.
For Agholor, Thursday's game will be his last chance to carry a football in high school. He's coming off an amazing senior year for the Buccaneers, where he produced 28 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards rushing en route to leading his squad to the Class 3A state semifinals. After this final game, it will be time for Agholor to turn his attention back to the recruiting process.
No, Agholor says he has no plans to do what many players do during these all-star games by revealing the college of his choice during he telecast. He says he still has two official visits to take in January, one to Florida State and the other to the University of Southern California. His three other finalists are Florida, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
Agholor has scholarship offers from nearly every school in the Southeastern Conference, all the big state schools including South Florida, as well as major programs like Oregon, Texas, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan and UCLA.
As much as he is looking forward to joining his Berkeley Prep teammates on the basketball court, Agholor says his primary focus now must be on preparing himself for college. Talk to Agholor for two minutes and it's clear he's already striding in the right lane toward that goal.
He credits that to his parents, Felix and Caroline Agholor, his God Parents, brothers and sisters, friends and, of course, Berkeley coach Dominick Ciao.
"I've got a great support system, they understand what it takes to be a competitor and a good person and they've put me a position to do that," Agholor said. "With them, I've been able to learn about one thing and one thing only, and that's succeeding.
"Obviously, as an athlete, coach Ciao has been at the head of everything we do at Berkeley. Our character, our performance, we owe it all to him, especially myself. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor than coach Ciao and he will always be my mentor."
So, it will soon be time for Agholor to make a decision on college, a decision that many say is one of the most important of your life. It's the school where you will likely earn your degree, which leads to earning a living. And college is sometimes where you meet your spouse. It can even be a place you settle and put down roots.
Whatever university Agholor chooses, he says he is ready for that part of his life thanks to those people in his life who have helped him prepare.
"They've developed me well and given me something to carry myself into the future," Agholor said. "I'll be on my own four or five years and thanks to them, I'll be fine."