Special to The Standard
Senior quarterbacks Taulia Tagovailoa of Thompson High School and Bo Nix of Pinson Valley headline the 2018 40-player All-Star roster for Alabama for the upcoming 32th annual Alabama-Mississippi Classic set to be played at Cramton Bowl on Monday, Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m.
The squad was announced by Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Director Jamie Lee. The AHSADCA, in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), administers the all-star game each year. Raycom Media will be televising the game live.
Alabama holds a 22-9 edge in the series, which began in 1988 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mississippi won last year’s game at Hattiesburg 42-7 – the largest margin of defeat for Alabama in the series history.
“We thank the selection committee for doing an outstanding job selecting this year’s team,” Lee said. “We are excited about all the players chosen, but these two quarterbacks are special.”
Both quarterbacks have had already committed to Southeastern Conference Schools.
Tagovailoa has committed to the University of Alabama, where his brother Tua is currently the starting quarterback. And Nix has committed to Auburn, where his dad and head coach Patrick Nix was a quarterback from 1992-95.
The team is comprised of 40 seniors selected by the AHSADCA All-Star Selection Committee, which has been meeting and studying players nominated for several months. The team must have at least one player chosen from each of the AHSAA’s eight districts and at least one player from each of the seven AHSAA classifications.
Three players may be chosen from two AHSAA member schools, but no more than two players may be selected from any other member schools. Head coach is Josh Niblett of Hoover.
Tagovailoa has compiled an 18-1 record at Thompson High School since moving to Alabaster prior to the 2017 season. He led the state in passing last season completing 287-of-435 passes attempted for 3,820 yards and 36 touchdowns.
He is off to an even faster start this season with 1,991 yards passing and was ranked second in the nation heading into last week. He is 144-of-225 with 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions while leading the Warriors to a 5-0 record thus far this season. He has passed for a career-high 507 yards in one game and has thrown for more than 400 yards in two other games.
Nix is 32-2 as a starter since his sophomore season. He led Scottsboro to a 12-1 record in 2016 and guided Pinson Valley to a 15-0 season and the school’s first ever Class 6A state title last year as a junior which completing 196-of-307 passes for 2,872 yards and 35 TDs.
He was named Super 7 Class 6A MVP in the finals. This season he is 82-of-156 for 1,194 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Indians (5-1). Nix has passed for 409 yards in one game.
Niblett, 197-50 overall with seven state titles to his credit, will be making his second head-coaching appearance in the All-Star Classic. He coached the Alabama team to a 21-13 win in 2009. The rest of his coaching staff includes Patrick Nix, Pinson Valley; Sam Adams, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa; Shawn Rainey, Spain Park; Pat Thompson, Sweet Water; Clifford Story, Lanett; Clinton Smith, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa; Steve Mask, St. Paul’s Episcopal; and Jason Kervin, Hoover High School, who will serve as the scout coach.
Alabama’s All-Star team is loaded with players already committed to play in the SEC next season. One of the highest profile players, Oxford offensive lineman and AHSAA defending Class 6A heavyweight wrestling champion Clay Webb is still uncommitted – considering offers from virtually every major college in the U.S., including Alabama and Georgia – rumored to be his top choices at this time.