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February 9, 2004

2003 EA SPORTS All-American Football Team

Jeff Byers, of Loveland, Colo., was named National Player of the Year and Tom Knotts (Independence, Charlotte, N.C.) was named the National Coach of the Year as part of the EA SPORTS High School All-America Football Team, announced today.† The All-America team consists of 30 players from varying positions and features the best prep football talent from across the nation.

Experts from Student Sports, the nationís only national high school sports media network that produces Student Sports Magazine (the nationís only high school sports monthly), evaluated thousands of high school football players to determine the EA SPORTS High School Football All-America team.† EA SPORTS, the leading interactive software brand and makers of such popular video games as NCAA Football and Madden NFL Football, teamed up with Student Sports to provide recognition to these standout athletes.



WR -- Jordan Shipley (Burnet TX) 6-0, 170, Sr.
The Texas recruit led his team to two straight state Class 3A finals and was State 3A Player of the Year while earning all-state honors on both offense and as a defensive back. Shipley set state career records with 264 pass receptions for 5,421 yards, second all-time nationally, and 73 TDs, third nationally.
WR -- Brandon Barrett (Martinsburg WV) 6-1, 175, Sr.
The two-time State Player of the Year, and four-time Class AAA All-Stater, landed 91 passes for 1,431 yards and 26 TDs this season and ended career with 253 catches for 3,708 yards and 74 TDs, second all-time nationally. The West Virginia University recruit scored 88 career TDs, including kick and interception returns.
TE -- Zach Miller (Desert Vista,Tempe AZ) 6-4, 245, Sr.
A three-year all-state pick, Miller has won the Vic Housholder Trophy, which singled him out as the Arizona Player of the Year. The stateís most highly-touted player, Miller caught 46 passes for 790 yards and six TDs. He also led the team defensively as a linebacker with 97 tackles.
OL -- Jeff Byers (Loveland CO) 6-4, 275, Sr.
See below for more on this dominant player. He is only the second lineman ever to be named the state player of the year in Colorado.
OL -- Alex Fletcher (St. Anthonyís, Melville NY) 6-3, 270, Sr.
Has all the tools to excel in college and beyond. A prototype center prospect with great strength and quickness. Is very smart and has the ability to come in and possibly play as a true freshman next season. Was one of the first players to commit in the class of 2004 announcing for Stanford a week after Signing Day last February.
OL -- Leon Hart (Spring Valley, Columbia SC) 6-5, 290, Sr.
A massive guard prospect with surprising quickness and agility. Can really move and is one of the few linemen in the country who is physically able to step in and play as a true freshman in college. Regarded by many as the state's top player.
OL -- Seth Olsen (Millard North, Omaha NE) 6-5, 300, Sr.
A true road grader who has great strength and is one of the nation's most physical players. A two-time all-state selection who played for one of the nationís top-ranked teams. Seemed like a lock to play for the homestate Nebraska Cornhuskers until the firing of Frank Solich, will now sign with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
OL -- Adam Ulatoski (Carroll, Southlake TX) 6-5, 275, Sr.
After earning second team all-state honors as a junior, the talented tackle prospect followed it up with a first team All-State senior season. Ulatoski, who committed early in the year to Texas, could play either tackle spot in college although most feel he's be suited to play right tackle.
QB -- Graham Harrell (Ennis TX) 6-2, 175, Sr.
Heís a two-time state player of the year in the Lone Star State and absolutely crushed nearly every state passing record in the book. Harrell, who led Ennis to a 12-1 record while playing for his head coaching father, Sam, completed 332 of 505 passes for 4,804 yards (state record) and 67 TDs (state record) with just five interceptions. For his career, Harrell will place No. 3 all-time nationally for TD passes with 167 and No. 6 for yards with 12,511. Heís headed to Texas Tech, but his father wonít have to look far for a replacement. Sophomore brother Clark (6-2, 175) may be equally prolific.
RB -- Mike Hart (Onondaga Central, Nedrow NY) 5-9, 185, Sr.
The Michigan recruit set three national career records by scoring 1,240 points and 203 touchdowns while rushing for 100 yards or more in 47 straight games. He rushed for 3,497 yards this season and ended with 11,052 career yards --second best all-time nationally. He led his team to 39 straight wins.
RB -- Adrian Peterson (Palestine TX) 6-2, 210, Sr.
The Oklahoma recruit who some rank as the nation's top player averaged over 200 rushing yards a game the last two years with 4,360 yards and 53 touchdowns. He gained 2,313 yards and scored 32 TDs in 11 games as a senior. Interestingly, both Peterson and Harrell are from the Texas Class 4A division where Harrell has been the offensive player of the year the last two seasons.
K -- Connor Barth (Hoggard, Wilmington NC) 6-1, 175, Sr.
He converted 20 of 21 field goal attempts, including 53 and 50-yarders in one game, and set state career mark of 38 field goals. The North Carolina recruit had 63 of 79 kickoffs go for touchbacks.


DL -- Rhyan Anderson (Oak Creek WI) 6-5, 265, Sr.
The top prospect in Wisconsin had a huge senior season, totaling over 100 tackles and 27 sacks, leading Oak Creek to a 12-1 record, and earning all-state honors for the second consecutive season.
DL -- Derrick Harvey (Roosevelt, Greenbelt MD) 6-5, 235, Sr.
A very good pass rusher who has emerged as the top prospect in Maryland, despite only playing organized football for the past two seasons. Had a record-breaking senior season, totaling 133 tackles and an eye-opening 31 sacks.
DL -- Brigham Harwell (Los Altos, Hacienda Heights CA) 6-2, 260, Sr.
Was one of the most dominating players in California in 2003, regardless of position. Finished with 111 tackles and 22 sacks as a senior, winning the Glenn Davis Award as the top player in Southern California. Committed to UCLA.
DL -- Demario Pressley (Dudley, Greensboro NC) 6-4, 290, Sr.
The nation's top defensive tackle combines tremendous strength with a skill player's burst off the line. Despite constant double and triple teams, racked up double figure sacks for a second straight season. Is a two-time all-state selection and was the 2003 State Player of the Year.
LB -- Dan Connor (Strath Haven, Wallingford PA) 6-2, 220, Sr.
A do everything two-way player who was named the 2003 Class AAA State Player of the Year in Pennsylvania. Set what is believed to be a state-record by starting 58 games in his four-year varsity career. Recorded 118 tackles and carried 251 times for 1,807 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2003. Has committed to Penn State.
LB -- Keith Rivers (Lake Mary FL) 6-3, 220, Sr.
A sensational athlete who earned MVP honors at the Nike Camp in Miami, clocking a 4.56 in the 40, a 4.18 in the shuttle, benching 21 reps and posting a 34-inch vertical jump. A two-time All-American selection and a three-time all-state player, Rivers finished as the Florida 2003 Class 6A Mr. Football runner-up. Will play his college football at USC.
LB -- Brian Toal (Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey NJ) 6-2, 225 Sr.
A three-time all-state selection, Toal totaled over 100 tackles and 12 sacks as a senior plus over 1,300 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns. Also was named the 2003 New Jersey Defensive Player of the Year. Scored three touchdowns on the ground in the U.S. Army All-American Game but will likely play linebacker in college.
LB -- Willie Williams (Carol City, Miami FL) 6-2, 225, Sr.
Rivals fellow Sunshine Stater Keith Rivers as the nation's top linebacker prospect. Transferred to Carol City prior to his senior season and missed the first few games with eligibility issues but came on strong once he took the field, leading Carol City to the Class 6A title and earning MVP honors in the championship game. A two-time first team all-state selection.
DB -- Keauntea Bankhead (Ballard, Seattle WA) 5-11, 200, Sr.
The state Defensive Most Valuable Player and University of Washington recruit seldom left the field. Opposing teams rarely tested Bankhead's secondary side. On offense, he led the state Class 4A runner-up team in all-purpose yards and the wide receiver was a top candidate for state Offensive MVP honors.
DB -- Ted Ginn Jr. (Glenville, Cleveland OH) 6-0, 170, Sr.
The Ohio State recruit returned five of eight pass interceptions for touchdowns and five kick or punt returns for scores. The MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Game, he returned a kickoff 98 yards to score. A quarterback on offense, he accounted for 25 TDs (13 rushing, 12 passing).
DB -- Andrew Kelson (Lamar, Houston TX) 6-3, 210, Sr.
The Texas recruit was state Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year. He intercepted six passes and was top secondary tackler. He averaged 9.2 yards rushing on offense and scored 16 touchdowns.
P -- Tyler Lewis (Albemarle NC) 6-2, 235, Sr.
The North Carolina State recruit set 10 state or national records including career extra point kicks (350) and kicking points (428). He also booted 26 career field goals, including a 57-yarder for a team that won three straight state titles. He averaged 44.2 yards per punt.


RB/ATH -- Andre Brown (Rose, Greenville NC) 6-3, 220, Sr.
He led his team to a 14-2 record and a Class 4AA title while setting a state record with 3,478 rushing yards and scoring 47 touchdowns. He was state Player of the Year.
QB/ATH -- Darrell Jackson (Webster Groves MO) 6-3, 225, Sr.
The Missouri recruit accounted for 52 (27 rtushing, 25 passing) of his team's 62 TDs and his 3,921 total yards (2,673 passing and 1,248 rushing) is a state record. The two-time all-stater led his team to a state Class 5 title and runnerup spot in the last two years.
QB/ATH -- Xavier Lee (Seabreeze, Daytona Beach FL) 6-3, 210, Sr.
Florida's Mr. Football set five state career passing records by completing 544 of 993 aerials for 9,083 yards and 98 TDs while accounting for 127 scores. As a senior, he passed for 3,183 yards and 37 scores and rushed for 607 yards and 12 TDs.
QB/ATH -- Bobby Reid (North Shore, Houston TX) 6-3, 220, Sr.
The Texas Class 5A Player of the Year and EA SPORTS Elite 11 participant led the FAB 50 No. 2 ranked team to a state title while accounting for 38 TDs (22 passing, 16 rushing) and 2,650 yards. Will play his college ball at Oklahoma State.
RB/ATH -- Darius Walker (Buford GA) 5-11, 195, Sr.
He broke two of Herschel Walker's long-standing state records while leading Buford to 45 straight wins and a third consecutive state Class AA title. As a senior, he ran for 2,406 yards and 46 TDs to better the 'other' Walker's state marks of 42 rushing TDs and 45 overall scores, which he also shared with Charles Grant. In four seasons (58-2 record), the state Player of the Year gained 5,675 yards and scored 91TDs.
RB/ATH -- Raymond Williams (Benedictine, Cleveland OH) 5-10, 175, Sr.
Ohio's Mr. Football led his team to a 14-1 record and a state Division 3 crown to rank No. 40 in the FAB 50. He scored 40 TDs and rushed for over 2,800 yards after a junior season of 3,250 yards and 39 scores. His career marks: 540 points and 7,000 rushing yards.

Jeff Byers (Loveland CO)
It's rare when a lineman is voted National Player of the Year and even more rare when that player is an offensive lineman. Still, Byers is a special talent who several scouts we've talked with believe is the best offensive lineman they have ever seen. The lineman plays center and his ability to get out and pull on sweeps and pitch plays is like no lineman we have ever seen. Loveland didn't keep track of offensive stats this past season but he was credited with 34 pancake blocks in one game. It was estimated that Byers delivered a panc
ake or knockdown block on 25 percent of the team's running plays this season. As a defender for the Class 4A state champions, Byersí numbers were mind boggling as well, as he totaled 203 tackles, 56 for loss with 10 sacks and forced 14 fumbles. He committed to USC where he is expected to compete for the starting center position from day one.

Tom Knotts (Independence, Charlotte NC)
Despite losing quarterback Chris Leak, the National Player of the Year for the 2002 season, plus several other offensive and defensive starters, Knotts guided the Patriots to a state record fourth consecutive state Class 4AA title and extended their win streak to a state record 62 games, second longest active run in the U.S. The 16-0 record team was No. 5 in the FAB 50 rankings. The Patriots crushed New Bern, 54-7, in the state finals. (Tom Knotts photo courtesy of
Charlotte Observer.)

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