Darion Green-Warren remembers watching the All-American Bowl on television as a youngster and wishing one day he would be chosen for the game that features some of the top players in the country.
That day has arrived. Green-Warren, a senior from Nathaniel Narbonne High School in Harbor City, formally announced this week that he was chosen for the All-Star game, played in San Antonio. He will be the sole representative from the California Interscholastic Federation’s Los Angeles City Section, containing more than 150 high schools that ranks as one of the state’s five largest groups of athletic teams.
A representative from the All-American Bowl game came to campus and handed the scholar-athlete a white game jersey. Green-Warren slipped it over his head, sporting No. 20. A crowd of supporters, including coaches and teammates, helped him to celebrate the moment.
He stood at a microphone, as his parents, brother and sister watched, and described his joy of playing what will be his last high school game against elite competition.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I’ve been playing football since I was little, and I used to watch those All-American Bowls, and I’ve learned how prestigious it is to get an invitation to play,” he said. “My parents have been by my side since I began playing, and they are very proud of me. I’ve wanted this all my life.”
Facing top talent in the game gives him a dose of what to expect in college. But this season’s Narbonne team also played a key role in preparing him for the next level.
Few, if any other U.S. high school team featured as many top-level receivers as the Los Angeles powerhouse. Every day, Green-Warren practiced against highly-coveted receivers like, Traeshon Holden, who has committed to Alabama; Kobe Stewart to Arizona State; Josh Jackson to USC, as well as other talented pass catchers.
Standing at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Green-Warren is a larger cornerback, who can match up against taller receivers. Coaches covet his physical presence. He also excels at one-on-one coverage, with fluid hips, and a competitive fire. But Narbonne’s football coach Joe Aguirre said Green-Warren always remains composed both on and off the field.
In the All-American Bowl, Green-Warren will be the only cornerback ––of the eight nationwide picked to play—from California. “I’m sure he’ll do well,” Aguirre said, who plans to see the televised match. “It’s a little more fun watching when one of your guys is in the game.”
24-7 Sports, which follows high school football, rates him in this year’s class as the nation’s 13th best cornerback. Green-Warren plans to announce during the game which full-ride scholarship he will accept, choosing among: USC, Nebraska, Michigan and Penn State.
Unlike most first-year athletes who arrive to college in late summer, about a month before the college season starts, Green-Warren expects to graduate from Narbonne in January. If all goes as planned, he will enroll in college early, giving him more time to learn his team’s playbook, and adjust to higher-level classes.
For now, he relishes his last days of high school. “I’m just looking forward to having a great time at the game before going to college,” Green-Warren said, who transferred his senior year to Narbonne from Mater Dei when his father began teaching as a substitute in Los Angeles Unified.
Green-Warren said he will miss his Narbonne teammates. “I had a great time,” he said. “There was a great group of guys I call ‘brothers,’ who wanted the same goal of winning, and having fun doing it.”
He is the fifth-player from Narbonne to play in the All American Bowl. He follows: Jonah Tauanu’u, offensive tackle, in 2019 to Oregon; Raymond Scott, linebacker, in 2018 to USC; Sean Parker, safety, in 2010 to Washington and Byron Moore, safety, who committed in 2009 to USC.
“We’re proud of his achievement,” Sara Aiello, Narbonne’s principal, said of Green-Warren. “He has worked hard to get to where he is, and has dedicated his life, and his talent to this sport. It has paid off for him. I’m sure his parents are proud of him. His whole team supports him, and they are excited to see him go this far.”
Game Details: All-American Bowl, January 4, 2020 broadcast at 10 a.m. on NBC
Listed players from California on the West team roster:
Gary Bryant Jr., wide receiver, Corona Centennial
L.V. Bunkley-Shelton, wide receiver, Junipero Serra of Gardena
Justin Flowe, linebacker, Upland
Darion Green-Warren, cornerback, Narbonne
Jalen McMillan, wide receiver, San Joaquin Memorial
Kendall Milton, running back, Buchanan of Clovis
Myles Murao, offensive lineman, Mater Dei
C.J. Stroud, quarterback, Rancho Cucamonga
Kourt Williams, linebacker, St. John Bosco
Bryce Young, quarterback, Mater Dei