The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour made its final stop in the Sunshine State on Tuesday at Tarpon Springs, Fla., to officially present offensive tackle Zach DeBell with his jersey.
For the 6-foot-7, 265-pound lineman, he still remembers when he initially was notified of the invitation to participate in the annual event.
"When I first found out, I was in shock," DeBell said. "I was kind of overjoyed. It was back in August. All this build-up for the past couple months, it has been great. It is just a great opportunity. I am shaking just thinking about it."
The four-star lineman is looking forward to squaring off against the West defensive linemen on game day. But those aren't the only players he is looking forward to being around during the week. He is looking forward to playing alongside and against some future teammates and other locals he has met over time.
For the modest DeBell, the entire event and all of the hoopla that surrounds it is a bit surreal.
"It is an honor to be playing along with them," DeBell said. "It is an honor to be thought about in the same way as so many great players around the nation."
While DeBell is honored to be mentioned in the same company as some of his All-American teammates, he is also in a company of his own. When it comes to the football history of Tarpon Springs, DeBell is the first to ever wear the colors of the Army Bowl.
"I am the first football player," DeBell said.
As for his recruitment, DeBell pledged his services to Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs back in July. He remains firmly committed to the Bulldogs and isn't considering any of his other two dozen offers.
"I am firm to the Bulldogs," DeBell said. "I am definitely going to Georgia."
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and will be nationally televised by NBC.