Grantsvillle’s McCoy Didericksen will play with and against some of the top young football players in the nation on Sunday, Jan 5 in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The 14-year-old Ute Conference star will play safety for the West team against the East team in the 2014 Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl game. McCoy is one of two Utahns on the West squad. He will be joined by Orem’s Cole Watts, who plays tackle.
McCoy excelled at running back and linebacker for the Grantsville Bantam team this year and scored more than 30 touchdowns. His highlight video shows several of his long TD runs, but also includes some vicious hits on defense. The selection committee must have liked what they saw on defense from McCoy, along with his overall football prowess.
“I like to hit,” McCoy said. “I like running the ball, but I also like tackling and defense.”
The young player was elated when he learned he would get to play in the biggest youth all-star football game in the country. “At first I didn’t believe it. I never thought I would be able to play at this level at such an early age,” McCoy said.
In a way, McCoy is a veteran football player with eight years experience. He started playing when he lived in Texas at age 6, and said the coaches there were big on teaching the fundamentals of the game.
“He absolutely loved the game from the moment he put his first helmet on,” said McCoy’s father Dano Didericksen.
“McCoy played three years in Texas when we lived in the Fort Worth-Dallas area,” Dano said. “He played in two regional championship games and won one of them. It was a big area, there were 18 teams in the region.”
McCoy’s parents, Dano and Kristy, also were top athletes growing up at Grantsville High School. Dano led the GHS football team to a 2A state championship his junior season, and Kristy won a pair of state championships in tennis in doubles.
The Didericksen family moved back to Utah in 2009 after living in Texas, and McCoy continued to make progress in football. He played two years for Woods Cross Ute Conference and the past three years for Grantsville Ute Conference football.
McCoy was set to play in the National Underclassmen (NUC) All-American all-star game in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Thursday, Dec. 30 until he learned he was selected for the Eastbay game.
He attended the NUC combine in April of this year held at Kearns High School. The combine provides official clock times for several categories — 40 yard dash, shuttle, vertical, bench press and other skills. The NUC combine also provides an opportunity to be matched up with top athletes in each age group. It was McCoy’s first combine and he only did it to find out the areas where he could improve on his own skills. He didn’t score a great time on the 40-yard dash (5.2 seconds), but he scored among some of the top freshmen and sophomores on his shuttle time (4.6). This shuttle time along with the success he had on the football field for the past three years earned him an invitation to play as a running back in the NUC All-American game.
But McCoy opted to play in the Eastbay game when the invitation came.
The Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl game is the biggest stage for youth all-americans in the country. The game is in conjunction with the U.S. Army All-American (high school) game played every year. McCoy submitted his top highlights and football resume to Eastbay just after his football season this year. Eastbay has a formal process for submitting player recommendations for the game. The Eastbay selection committee was impressed with McCoy’s athleticism and extended an invitation to play on the West team as a safety. Because the Eastbay game restricts its players from playing in multiple all-american games, McCoy had to make a decision on which game he wanted to play in. Because Eastbay’s stage is much larger and the exposure is so much greater, he quickly chose to accept the invitation to play in the Eastbay game.
Between the 48 players playing for both the Eastbay East and West teams, many have already verbally committed to D1 programs. During the US Army All-American game on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 11.a.m., McCoy and his teammates will be introduced live on NBC at the Alamodome. The young players will be on the sideline for the US Army All-American game which features top high school players from throughout the country.
McCoy said he has learned from several top coaches through the years, which included his coaches this year at Grantsville who were Craig Matthews, Chad Johnson and Loren Anderson. McCoy is sponsored by Riddell, who provided a helmet and shoulder pads for the Eastbay game.
“He’s still only 14 and enjoys hanging out with friends, playing XBox and just being a kid,” his father said. “What is unusual about McCoy is his deep love for the game of football. He is a student of the game and enjoys learning more about offenses, defenses, formations and how to be an effective football player.”