Haley and Baker were among the 400 nominees for the prestigious post-season all-star contest – which will be held in San Antonio, Texas Jan. 4 and will be televised live on NBC.
“It’s definitely a huge honor,” Haley said. “It just shows that they look at me as more than a football player. In the army, you have to have character, so they respect me as a person. I’m really excited about it and hope to get chosen.”
Baker said he was honored by the nomination as well.
“It’s a good opportunity to play against the best in the nation,” Baker said. “To be recognized among the best in the nation feels really good. To get the chance to do this is great and I hope I get chosen.”
Haley and Baker were nominated by the bowl game’s selection committee, which includes All American Games of Wharton, N.J., 247Sports – the contest’s official online recruiting network – and All American Games’ network of regional coaches across the nation.
The bowl will eventually select 90 players out of the original 400 nominees to play in the contest, with the final decision to be made by early December.
As a junior in 2012, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Haley led Lovett, which reached the Class AA state quarterfinals, with 1,431 total yards.
He rushed for 536 yards on 103 carries and scored six touchdowns, while catching 18 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns and gaining 495 yards on 13 kickoff returns and three scores and accumulating 159 yards on nine punt returns.
On defense, Haley led the Lions with seven interceptions at his cornerback position.
Haley has been recruited by a number of NCAA Division I colleges, with his list narrowed down to Florida, Vanderbilt and Stanford.
“We are so proud of Grant for all of his accomplishments,” Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. “This nomination is a great example of all the hard work that he has done to make himself the best athlete that he can become. He is the hardest working kid in our program. To talk to him, you would never know that he has achieved all that he has. He is hungry and humble.”
The 6-6, 270-pound Baker anchored the Marist offensive line and helped lead the War Eagles to the AAAA semifinals in 2012.
He is also highly sought after by Division I schools, with Georgia, Auburn, Florida State, Clemson and Alabama the leading candidates for his services.
“Kendall Baker has the potential to be a great impact player for us, both offensively and defensively, his senior year,” Marist coach Alan Chadwick said. “We are counting on him to make more plays for us on defense and to be a physical force on our offensive line.”