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Ringgold’s Small picked for national grid event

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Rich Downer / For The Valley Independent
Ringgold's Brenden Small, shown scoring a touchdown against Gateway in a WPIAL playoff game Oct. 31, will participate in a national underclassmen football showcase in December.

It’s no secret that Ringgold’s Brenden Small is one of the top freshmen football players in the WPIAL.

However, the Ringgold ninth grader received national recognition recently when he was selected to participate in the NUC All-American Games Performance Week for Freshmen, which will be held in conjunction with the National Underclassmen Combines (NUC) All-American Game.

The All-American Game will culminate festivities that will run Dec. 27-30 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Small (5-9, 170), a running back at Ringgold, was selected because he is considered to be one of the top freshmen athletes in the country. Only 100 players across the nation in each grade (9-12) have been selected to participate in the event, which has padded events, competition and practice games.

“I’m pretty excited for the opportunity,” Small said. “I think I will represent my school very well there.”

NUC is a national football combine company that features high school underclassmen through camps, 7-on-7 events and showcases.

Some former high school stars to participate in the NUC All-American Performance Week, include Johnny Manziel, Eric Ebron, Marcus Mariota Case McCoy, Tajh Boyd and Joe Haden.

Manziel (Cleveland) and Ebron (Detroit) were both first-round selections in the 2014 NFL draft. In all, 38 players with NUC ties were selected in the recent draft.

In 2013, over 1,300 NUC participants signed Division-I scholarships.

When Small attended NUC’s combine for eighth graders in April, he opened a lot of eyes as he was named the King of the Combine and also the MVP for his class.

The past season, Small rushed for 689 yards on just 84 carries (8.2 ave.) and scored five touchdowns for Ringgold (10-2), which won 10 consecutive games before being eliminated by Central Valley, 41-13, in the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Friday night.

In a first-round playoff win over Gateway, Small carried the ball 23 times for 101 yards and a TD.

His single-game best came against Laurel Highlands when he rushed for 132 yards on 9 carries and scored twice.

All in all, he eclipsed 100 yards rushing three times.

He is the son of Ramont and Tiffany Small of Donora.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or [email protected].

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