The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour continues to make its way across the country to honor 90 of the top prospects in the country and officially invite them to the play in the 2012 game this January.
The Southwest team has made its way through Texas this week as several players from the Lone Star State will be representing their home state in San Antonio for the game and the latest to receive the honor is LaDarrell McNeil.
The Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins standout safety received his invitation in front of his entire school at a pep rally on Thursday afternoon. The soft-spoken McNeil was clearly moved by the fact he was chosen to play in the game which takes into account not only athletic prowess on the field but strength of character off of it.
"It's a huge honor to me," McNeil said. "How far I've come and what all I've done, it's just an honor for me. I never saw myself in the position to do this, to represent my school and my state in a game like this."
The Tennessee commit and No. 125 overall prospect in the country found out about the invitation to play in this year's game over the summer. McNeil was completely taken aback by the news as he has never known anyone to have received an invitation in the past. It was uncharted territory both for him and Wilmer-Hutchins.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "Nobody from my neighborhood or from my school has ever gotten to do anything like this. I just couldn't believe it.
"Not many people have the chance to play on TV and do all the things I'm getting to do. It's a great honor to me to be able to do that and it's going to be fun too. I'm so anxious for it and I'm so glad that I was selected."
The game, in its 12th year, counts numerous current college and professional stars among its alumni. Players like Adrian Peterson, Haloti Ngata and Reggie Bush have all suited up for the contest. McNeil says he is honored to be in the same company.
"They sent me a DVD that was all about the game," he said. "It went from Day 1 up until now with the history of the game. It was really impressive all the people that had played in it before. There were a bunch of guys that are stars in the NFL now.
"It means the world to me to play in the same game as them. Not too many people get the opportunity to do this."
McNeil and the West team take on the East in the 12th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be nationally televised on NBC.