BROWNWOOD, Texas - Being selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is a rare honor, with only 90 of the best high school players selected from across the country. It is even rarer when the opportunity happens twice to the same family.
Brownwood (Texas) wide receiver Jaxon Shipley was able to experience this honor as he was announced Monday as a member of the West squad for the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"I had some goals written out and one of those was to be an Army All-American," Shipley said. "I finally achieved that and I just feel very blessed."
The trip to San Antonio for the game will not be his first. In 2004, the Shipley family made its way to the game to watch Jaxon's older brother, former Texas star and current Cincinnati Bengal, Jordan Shipley, following a standout high school career in Burnet (Texas).
"The thing I remember about it was it was first class. Everything the U.S. Army did was first class in supporting and putting on this game," said Bob Shipley, Brownwood's coach and the father of Jaxon and Jordan. "It's just an honor and I never would have imagined both my sons would have an opportunity to play in this game. So I'm very proud of them. I hope this is the first step in many in Jaxon following in Jordan's footsteps."
Bob Shipley knew Jaxon had a chance to be a special player early on, and he was not the only one to come to that realization. After watching his brother play in the game with the likes of Adrian Peterson, Franklin Okam, Ted Ginn Jr. and Chad Henne, Jaxon knew he wanted to play in the game one day. However, it was not until a few years later, he realized he had what it took to achieve his goal.
"It was probably my sophomore year because I was young and I didn't really know what to expect going into my sophomore year," Shipley, who played at Coppell as a sophomore, said. "I ended up having a really good sophomore year and I was competing with those guys in 5A. That's when I thought I had an opportunity to come play in this game."
Shipley, who is rated No. 61 in the Rivals100 and was the first 2011 prospect to commit to Texas, is the second Texas commitment to be announced as a member of the West squad.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. I think it's going to be a lot of us hanging out as teammates," Shipley said. "This summer I got to go play in the Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 tournament and we had six or seven Texas commits and it was just a blast getting to know those guys. We just bonded as teammates and I'm looking forward to getting to Texas and getting to be with those guys."
Shipley and the West squad take on the East in the 11th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised on NBC.