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Under Armour All-American Game features dedication to former Ocoee lineman Aaron Wilson

Sunday’s Under Armour All-American Game at Camping World Stadium was one more opportunity for Arthur Wilson to pay tribute to his son.

Aaron Wilson was supposed to play in this game. The former Ocoee star, who had transferred to District of Columbia-area St. Frances Academy, passed away in April after a year-long battle with cancer.

“For me, it means the world because I know how bad Aaron wanted to play in this game since the eighth grade when he played in the UA Next game,” Arthur Wilson said, “And for them to recognize Aaron, and not just as a five-star athlete but as a student/athlete with his faith in God, that means a lot.”

Under Armour Game officials featured Wilson’s No. 4 jersey during practices leading up to the game. St. Frances teammate Derrick Moore, a Michigan signee, wore Wilson’s jersey at practices this week, Moore had three sacks during the game.

There was a short recognition during the third quarter of the game

Art Wilson said it was hard knowing his son was supposed to be on the field.

“It’s very difficult. I’ll be honest. I still struggle some days,” Art Wilson said. “It’s hard for me to watch football ... especially when I’m watching college or high school football because I know what Aaron could have done.

“But without being selfish, I know he would want me to sit up here and get it together, and he would be like, ‘Hey, Dad, it’s OK.’ "

The 17-yeard-old Wilson became sick in early 2020. Following a seizure, after which he was rushed to the hospital, Aaron Wilson was diagnosed with a midline glioma tumor.

Shortly after his son’s passing, Art Wilson said, “God has a plan for him. We have a saying that God took one of the angels too soon ... Aaron touched so many people, not only in Florida, but around the world with his Instagram videos and his TikTok videos.

“Aaron always made people laugh. I know from text messages and stuff like that, Aaron didn’t have any enemies. Everybody loved Aaron.”

Wilson, who was the younger brother of former Indiana and UCF defensive lineman Brandon Wilson, was not just a football player, said mother Rasheda Mayse just before Aaron’s death.

“He had so much promise and he’s a true student athlete,” Mayse said. “He was very concerned about his grades and very serious about his studies. He was a people person, very family-oriented. He got along with everybody.”

Art Wilson was presented with a special No. 4 jersey from the Under Armour game.

“I know he’s down here watching us and he’s with us, telling us to keep our heads up and keep on pushing,” Art Wilson said. “It’s difficult. I’m not over it. I’ll never get over it.

“It’s just one of those things where we’re going day-by-day trying to deal with it because we know how special a kid Aaron was.”

This article originally appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Chris Hays covers high school football, college football recruiting and the Orlando Magic for the Sentinel. He can be reached at CHays@orlandosentinel.com.