Three years ago, Denton (Texas) Guyer quarterback J.W. Walsh was a freshman at a new school that was struggling to win games. Since then, he has helped the Wildcats become a perennial power in the state of Texas.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound passer has used his arms and feet to lead Guyer to two deep playoff runs and colleges all across the country took notice of his skill set. However, Walsh's play also gained him other recognition as well. On Tuesday afternoon, he was given one of the top honors possible for a high school player.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour made the stop at the North Texas school to announce that Walsh had earned a spot in the prestigious game. Having watched the contest on television over the years, he was excited to be selected. However, having the United States Army's involvement is something he considers to be the greatest part.
"It's an honor to be selected to play in such a prestigious game that is sponsored by one of the most prestigious organizations in the world," Walsh said. "That's the most special thing about it. To be able to say I was sponsored by the U.S. Army is something I will always be incredibly proud of.
With the game set to be played in San Antonio, Walsh sees it as a chance to represent his home state. In addition, the Oklahoma State commit is representing two schools.
"That's a huge part about it," he said. "I get to represent the state of Texas. With it being in the state of Texas and a lot of fans from the state will be there watching it, there will be a lot of eyes on us from Texas. We have a responsibility to play well for them.
"It's also an honor to play in the game to represent Guyer High School and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. (Abilene running back) Herschel Sims and I are both going to be playing for Oklahoma State. I want those fans to be excited to watch the game on TV."
Walsh has watched the game himself in previous years and says it is hard to fathom his name being included among the number of notable alumni.
"I know Terrelle Pryor played in it and then guys like Vince Young also did," he said. "Last year, Connor Wood from Texas was a quarterback in it. For me to be a part of that kind of elite group - college stars and NFL stars - that's a huge honor.
"Last year, we had a guy play in another all-star game and my dad was invited to be a coach there. It was around then that I started to get the idea that I could possibly play in one myself. When the U.S. Army game called and invited me, it was an incredible feeling."
Walsh realizes he has come a long way in the last few years and this is a big step along his journey.
"My freshman year, we didn't win many games," he said. "My sophomore year, we made it to the state semifinals and we had a good run last year. When I was just a freshman, I could have never even imagined that I'd be playing in a game like this one day.
"It never dawned on me at all that I'd have a chance to play in this game and represent Guyer, the state of Texas, the U.S. Army and so many other people. It all seems like it's been such a whirlwind. These years have flown by."
Walsh is the sixth Texan and the 21st player overall to be honored so far on the selection tour. He will suit up for the West squad during the game set to be played at San Antonio's Alamodome in January and televised nationally on NBC.