Scott Starr stepped up to the podium on Friday afternoon, seemingly as proud as can be to accept his jersey for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. It was the crowning achievement for a season's worth of diligent work from the senior from Norco.
For his efforts, the 6-foot-2 and 220-pound linebacker, will play in the inaugural game on Jan 3. in Phoenix. Once there, the USC-bound Starr will compete against 100 of the nation's premier prospects in the highly anticipated East vs. West showdown.
“It was definitely a cool experience to get that uniform in front of all of my close friends, family and teammates. It's an honor,'' Starr said. “Being named an All-American is something that I've dreamed about since I was a little kid. It's a reality now.''
The selection was indeed worthy given his resume.
Starr has been a starter at Norco for the last four years. He emerged as a legitimate prospect as a junior, however, and there's been no stopping him since then.
Starr had 96 tackles and six sacks this season for the Cougars, who finished with a 6-5 overall record. Undoubtedly, he opened the eyes of the powers that be, namely the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl committee, with several standout individual efforts.
A 16-tackle effort against Corona Roosevelt back in late September was a sign of good things to come. Two weeks later, he had 13 stops against Riverside King. Not to be outdone, in mid-November, Starr finished with 15 tackles against Redlands East Valley.
“Scott Starr means a lot to this program, it's been that way for a while now, '' Norco coach Todd Gerhart said. “He gets the stats and headlines most of the time, but he also does other things for us, both on an off the field. He's a good representative of this school.''
Junior Rank and the United States Marine Corps recently teamed up to make the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl become a reality for several the Southland's top players. The festivities are scheduled to take place in accordance with Fiesta Bowl Week and the BCS Bowl. As for the game, it will be nationally televised from Chase Field by CBS Sports.
Starr will be joined in Arizona by local peers such as Bellflower St. John Bosco's Bryce Treggs and Los Angeles Dorsey's Jeremiah Allison and Jaydon Mickens.
“Starr has been on radar for a while now. We've been watching him closely and are glad to have him on board,'' said former NFL veteran Mark McMillian, a coach and operations manager for Junior Rank. “With him, we're talking about a kid who everyone knows about. He is in the upper echelon of recruits in the country. We're excited he's a part of our game.
“In a lot of ways, he reminds me of the kid from USC a short time ago, Clay Matthews. Starr has the same type of game. He has a high motor, one that never stop. He works his tail off. I think he stacks up well with some of the top players already signed up.''
McMillian might be onto something with the assessment. Division I college coaches and scouts, alike, tend to agree.
Starr was being recruited by a number of programs before he committed to the Trojans in late May. He had scholarship offers from several Pac-12 Conference schools. And at one point, Boise State and Michigan expressed some interest.
Ultimately, however, staying close to home and playing at nearby USC proved to be the best fit for him. Mind you, before he puts on the Cardinal and Gold uniform, he has some unfinished business to attend. The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl is his focus.
“I'm happy to be able to play in one last high school game, technically, '' Starr said. “It's going to be fun, something that I'll remember for a long time. Lining up with some of the nation's best players will be a great memory. It's going to be a proud moment for me.''