Brennan Scarlett tore a knee ligament in Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic's final game last November. He missed all of the summer camps and combines, showcases where he could continue to prove he's one of the nation's top defensive ends.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound four-star prospect had shoulder surgery to insert a plate into his broken right collarbone in late September and is rehabilitating so he can get back for the playoffs. Ironically, both injuries happened on offense.
Scarlett admits it's been a frustrating time but things got much better Friday when he was presented with his U.S. Army All-American Bowl game jersey during an assembly at his school.
The game will be played Jan. 8 in San Antonio and Scarlett plans to be ready. His goal is to return for Central Catholic's playoff run later this fall. Even though he's dealt with injuries, Scarlett is still considered one of the nation's best defensive players.
"It's been very frustrating," Scarlett said of the injuries. "I'm trying to stay positive and look at the brighter side of things. I'm not going to let it hold me down. I'm trying to get back already so I'm going to stay positive."
There are numerous reasons for Scarlett to be upbeat. Rivals.com rates him as the sixth-best strong-side defensive end, No. 93 nationally and second in the Oregon state rankings behind only Hillsboro athlete Colt Lyerla, who was given his Army game jersey on Thursday.
Scarlett recently narrowed his list to nine schools - Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Notre Dame and LSU - and he plans to start taking official visits soon.
He planned to visit South Bend last weekend when the Irish hosted Pittsburgh but the logistics couldn't be worked out. A trip during Central Catholic's bye week in early November could definitely happen.
Despite his injuries, Scarlett remains one of the hottest commodities on the West Coast as teams across the country clamor for his services. Narrowing his list to nine was difficult but finally has been done.
One source said when Scarlett is 100 percent that some in the area believe he has a better motor than Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a five-star prospect in the 2010 class that signed with UCLA. Odighizuwa is also from the Portland area. That's saying a lot because Odighizuwa proved at last year's Army game that he can go.
Although time during his senior season was missed with the shoulder injury, the prognosis is that Scarlett could return for Central Catholic's first-round playoff matchup slated for Nov. 12.
Scarlett, who had a 3.93 grade-point average in the spring and takes honors classes, has dealt with some unfortunate circumstances the past two seasons but he's still widely regarded as one of the nation's top recruits. He's an excellent student, a standout player and has lots going for him.
Add to Scarlett's lengthy list that he's now an Army All-America selection.
"I'm very excited," Scarlett said. "It's an honor to compete in the game. It's a game I watched the past couple years and it's been my dream to play in this game. To be there now it's really surreal.
"I'm most excited about being able to play against the best competition in the nation. It's going to be a cool experience. It's going to give me a view of what it's going to be like at the next level. I'm excited to play against the best. It's going to give me a clear picture of what to expect so I'm really excited to go up against those guys."