April 14, 2009
USA Football Junior National Team Release
EVANSTON, Ill. -- John Plasencia of Tampa, Fla., and Brian Smith of Medina, Ohio, both incoming freshmen for Northwestern University, have been selected to play for USA Football's 2009 Junior National Team which will compete in the sport's first junior world championship this summer.
Plasencia, a 6-5, 240-pound tight end from Tampa Jesuit High School, and Smith, a 6-8, 300-pound offensive lineman from Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) Walsh Jesuit High School, are among 36 graduating high school seniors soon to enter 27 college football programs who will play on America's first national team in the sport comprised of players aged 19 and under. USA Football's Junior National Team roster will ultimately consist of 45 student-athletes.
USA Football, an independent non-profit and the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, has built America's first Junior National Team in the sport to compete in the eight-nation, four-continent 2009 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Junior World Championship in Canton, Ohio, from June 27 through July 5. National football teams from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Sweden have qualified to join the United States to pursue the sport's first world championship on the international junior level (19 and under).
USA Football's Junior National Team is led by Chuck Kyle, head coach of Cleveland's St. Ignatius High School, who has led his Wildcats to 10 of Ohio's past 21 state titles, including two USA Today "national championships."
"At Northwestern, we take great pride in recruiting young men who are not only outstanding football players, but also tremendous individuals in the classroom and the community," Northwestern University head football coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "John and Brian are terrific examples of the kind of student-athletes we want at Northwestern.
"We're extremely proud that they've been named to the USA Football Junior National Team and believe that both will be tremendous representatives for the United States. Both young men are very achievement-focused and team-oriented players who will do all they can to make our team as strong as possible."
Plasencia , ranked No. 86 nationally among all tight ends by SuperPrep, is a two-time Tampa Tribune first-team All-County team player (2007 and 2008). He was named Tampa Jesuit's Offensive Playmaker of the Year in 2008 after earning the team's Defensive Playmaker of the Year honors in 2007. He caught 23 passes for 302 yards and a TD in 2008 after notching 19 receptions for 220 yards his junior season and was the school's team captain on its football and basketball teams.
Smith earned second-team All-State (Ohio Division III-IV) honors and was named an Akron Touchdown Club first-team all-star. Rated the No. 70 offensive tackle nationally by ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc., he helped lead the Walsh Jesuit Warriors to a 9-3 record last fall and a berth to Ohio's regional title playoff game.