All American Castille earns national honors

Having brought home a state championship trophy after lining up against some of the best football players in Alabama, Briarwood Christian standout Simeon Castille is ready to see how he compares to the nation’s best.

On Jan. 3, he will get the opportunity to do just that, representatives from the U.S. Army announced last week.

Castille, a 6-1, 180-pound senior, was one of 78 high school players to receive All-American honors from the organization.

He will play cornerback for the East team in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, giving him the chance to compete against some of the top prospects in the country in front of a national television audience. NBC will broadcast the game live at noon from the Alamodome in San Antonio.

&uot;It’s a blessing for me to be able to play in that game,&uot; Castille said. &uot;It will be fun, to see how you measure up to the other players.&uot;

Last year, Castille was invited to participate in the U.S. Army National Combine, a two-day event modeled after the NFL combine featuring skill competitions and tests. Looking back on that experience makes him confident he can compete with the high level of talent that will suit up at the all-star game.

&uot;I think I’ll do pretty well,&uot; Castille said. &uot;I competed in the combine they had last year and I think I did fine.&uot;

Castille played safety and running back for Briarwood Christian School, leading the Lions to a class 5A state championship with a win against Russellville in the Super 6 at Birmingham’s Legion Field.

He finished the 2003 season with Briarwood records for punt return average in a season and longest kickoff return. His two interception returns for touchdowns tied a school record.

Castille rushed 95 times for 538 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He also caught 21 passes for 350 yards and a score.

On defense he recorded more than 100 tackles for the second straight season and intercepted 9 passes.

Castille accounted for a total of 10 touchdowns on the season.

He was one of two players from Alabama to be selected to the U.S. Army All-American squad along with Maxamillion Martin, a running back/linebacker from Madison’s Bob Jones High School.

&uot;We’re proud of Simeon for hitting that high honor,&uot; said Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey. &uot;He sure earned it on the field by having the greatest year of his career.&uot;

In addition to the U.S. Army honors, Yancey said he was recently contacted by USA Today who informed him that Castille had been selected to that publication’s first team All-American squad as well.

Well-known football analyst Tom Lemming, a contributer to ESPN and USA Today, selected the players for the U.S. Army All-American team from some 400 nominations.

&uot;He’s the big name,&uot; Yancey said. &uot;He makes those picks personally based on game tape he has watched.&uot;

Castille’s selection to the U.S. Army All-American squad marks the second straight year a Briarwood player has been named to the team.

Simeon’s older brother, Tim Castille, played in the All-American Bowl last year before moving on to the University of Alabama on football scholarship.

And with his father, Jeremiah Castille, having been an All-American defensive back under coach Paul &uot;Bear&uot; Bryant, many assumed Simeon would be Bama bound.

But the younger Castille said he hasn’t

made up his mind yet about where he will attend college.

Simeon named LSU, Alabama, Virginia, Auburn and Louisville as schools he is interested in and said he has already arranged January visits to LSU, Alabama and Auburn.

&uot;I’m looking for a good program,&uot; he said. &uot;I want a school to have good academics and I want to meet their coach and see how they interact with their players.&uot;

So far, he said, his father and brother have respected his decision process by not pressuring him to pick Alabama.

&uot;That’s been good,&uot; Castille said. &uot;They haven’t been riding me and riding me about going to Alabama.&uot;

According to NCAA rules, high school seniors can not sign national letters of intent, binding them to a school in exchange for a scholarship, until Feb. 4