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December 8, 2011
Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep wide receiver Leonte Carroo is part of the "big four" at his school, one of four players from the school ranked in the Rivals250 and selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Carroo received his Army jersey with his teammates on Thursday, a culmination of a two year run that has been nothing short of amazing.
"All four of us found out at the same time," said the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder who received his jersey along with teammates Darius Hamilton, Yuri Wright and Elijah Shumate. "I was very surprised when I first heard, I'm not sure if everyone else was, but it was a shock to me. It was early in the morning at school in gym class and maybe I wasn't awake enough, but I was surprised. To be one of the top receivers on the east coast and be named to the team was very humbling."
While Carroo was honored and surprised, he hasn't really checked out the Army Bowl as of yet.
"I've never seen it but I've heard about it," he said. "My future teammate at Rutgers Miles Shuler played in it last year and he's told me all about it. I kind of want to be surprised when I go down there so I can experience the whole thing. I might watch last year's game, but I'm not sure. I heard it was a great time."
One thing Carroo and his teammates won't be is intimidated following an undefeated 11-0 season which boasts wins over out-of-state programs like Mission Viejo, Manatee and St. Edward.
"It's great all four of us will be going down there to play one more time together," he said. "I think we'll be less intimidated because we played tough competition and we work so hard. Coach (Greg) Toal prepares us like we are a college team so we will all be ready."
Despite the undefeated record, this wasn't an easy season for Carroo and his teammates.
"This season was the toughest one ever for Bosco," he said. "Coach Toal said this was his toughest schedule ever, we played some great teams in and out of state and we worked hard for everything. We take a lot of pride in what we accomplished."
Carroo is ready to go against some of the top cornerbacks in the country in practice and in the game because he already goes against one of the best every day in practice.
"The battles between Yuri and I are great and we push each other and make each other better," he said of the daily one-on-ones against Wright, who is ranked as the nation's No. 3 cornerback. "Yuri is very quick and he changes direction so well that he's great to go against. But I'm a bit more physical and stronger so I get the better of our battles for the most part."
However, Carroo isn't being cocky, he's just emphasizing the fact that it's easier for receivers than it is for cornerbacks.
"I don't know how they play that position," he said with a laugh. "I had to play cornerback once against Yuri because coach Toal told us to switch and it was really tough because he's so quick. It's a hard position because obviously the wide receiver knows where he's going, when the ball is coming and has so many advantages."
Carroo committed to Rutgers in August despite offers from more than 20 other big schools. Why did he pick the Scarlet Knights?
"I live two minutes away from Rutgers, it was the best fit for me, I have a couple of teammates there including my old quarterback Gary Nova and I wanted to join a program that is building not one that has already been there and has established itself. It's a great fit for me because I can stay home, they like big receivers and I think the team is going to be really good. Mohamed Sanu caught 105 passes there this season and if he stays I can learn from him and if he leaves I can try to replace him."
Carroo is being counted on by Rutgers fans to deliver his heavily-recruited teammates to Piscataway as well, something he feels a bit of pressure about.
"It's not just Darius, Elijah and Yuri but also Devin Fuller who is a friend of mine," he said. "I give it my best but I know in the end these guys all need to make the decision that is right for them. I think I can get one of my teammates to go with me to Rutgers, but I'm not saying which one. I'd love it if all of us went, but we'll see what happens. I want everyone to make the choice that is perfect for them like I did."
Carroo, the No. 32 wide receiver in the country and No. 211 overall, is excited about his opportunity in San Antonio and is looking forward to playing on NBC on Jan. 7.
"It's a great chance to go against some of the best athletes in the country," he said. "It will help prepare me for college and will be a great way to end my high school career."