Vintage High School’s Brandon Beck, a wide receiver, and American Canyon’s Obinna Chinaka, a defensive lineman, are teammates for Team North, which will face Team South on Saturday in the Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic.
Featuring top senior recruits from across the country, the game takes place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and will be carried by Fox Sports Florida “Prep Zone” at 5 p.m.
Players earned their way into the game based on their performances in combines. The combines test players in the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, bench press, broad jump, vertical jump and individual drills. College coaches will also be on hand to scout the players.
“This is definitely the biggest game that I have ever played in,” Beck said Wednesday. “I’m excited to see what could possibly come out of it and how I will perform. I’m very confident. I just want to get out there and do the best that I can, and see where it takes me.
“All I want to do is go out here and I want to just run my routes right. I want to catch every ball that comes my way and just showcase my skills to the best of my ability so that I can hopefully continue on to the next level and play college football.”
Beck was named All-Napa County and honorable mention All-Monticello Empire League for Vintage (4-6 overall). Chinaka was chosen All-Napa County and honorable mention All-Solano County Athletic Conference for American Canyon (11-2 overall), the SCAC champion, which got to the semifinals of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
“I’m just trying to show all the coaches that will be there that I’m definitely somebody that can help their team,” Chinaka said yesterday. “I just want to try and take the opportunity and roll with it.
“I’ve been working out, on the field, putting work in and getting ready for this game. It’s a big deal.”
The Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic is presented by Blue-Grey Events, Fox Sports Florida and Prep Zone. There are meetings and practices today and Friday for the teams leading up to the game.
Beck and Chinaka each attended a Northern California combine at Napa Memorial Stadium in March. Beck also went to a super combine at the New England Patriots practice facility in Foxborough, Mass., in June.
There were 13 regional combines involving 4,600 athletes throughout the country. From there, 480 players were chosen to attend two national combines.
North (Blue) squad players are from New England, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska, Illinois, Kentucky and California. South (Grey) squad players are from Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
“For me, personally, it feels like one of the biggest things I’ve ever done in my life,” said Beck. “I’m just trying to hopefully get my name out there, maybe get some other colleges interested in me, maybe qualify for some scholarships. It’s like a test, to see where I stand amongst some of the other top athletes from around the country, and just see where my skill level really is.
“I have my family and my coaches and my teammates to thank for supporting me this whole time.”
Beck caught 17 passes for 407 yards, averaging 23.9 yards in receiving per game, and scored one touchdown for Vintage this past year. He has been working out in the weight room, on the track and catching passes from Dylan Duprez, the Crushers’ quarterback, while also focusing on his route running.
“I’ve been working a lot with track, working on my explosion, my acceleration and everything,” said Beck, a four-year player in the Vintage football program, who is a sprinter in track. “The weight room has helped with keeping my strength up in the offseason.
“I’m very confident in the way that I’m executing my routes and being able to secure the ball. I’ve been running a lot, and so that has helped keep up my conditioning.”
American Canyon coach Ian MacMillan said Chinaka is one of the strongest players in the Wolves’ program.
“From his junior year to his senior year, he really took it upon himself to become a better football player and made himself more athletic, faster and stronger in the weight room,” said MacMillan. “It definitely paid off this year in terms of being out there.”
Chinaka missed the first two games of the season after suffering a shoulder injury in the Wolves’ scrimmage jamboree.
“It was definitely hard to run up the middle on us because of him,” said MacMillan. “He’s excited. It’s an opportunity to hopefully show some more of his skills. He’s a very bright young man. He’s doing really well in the classroom right now. He’s just hoping to get the opportunity to play college football.
“He really worked hard this year and had an amazing year. I’m super happy for him.”