New Iberia (La.) Westgate offensive lineman Josh Boutte has attended
plenty of pep rallies but never one strictly in his honor.
There he was Friday though, the focus of his school's attention as the
LSU commitment was presented with his jersey to play in the 2013 U.S.
Army All-American Bowl.
"I didn't have any idea what to expect," the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder said. "Once I
got to the pep rally, they told me what all I'd be doing and I was in shock. I
wasn't expecting that at all. It was like I was going somewhere and everybody
was chanting for me. The whole school was in the gym and it was a big event."
Selection to the Army All-American Bowl is a big deal. Held annually at the
Alamodome in San Antonio and televised on NBC, the game is scheduled for Jan. 5.
The contest showcases the nation's top 90 high school football players as
selected with input from Rivals.com.
"They talked about how much of a big event it was and all the former NFL players
who have been in the game," Boutte said. "They mentioned Andrew Luck and a lot
of other guys. The school was surprised because they didn't know what it was.
They were happy for me. I got to say a speech in front of the whole school about
it being an honor to accept this jersey and play in this game. Everybody was
cheering me on."
For many recruits, the game has also become a prime opportunity to announce
their college commitment on TV. But Boutte solidified his plans over the summer
and he remains firm with LSU.
"It's something that I've watched the game and when they have the hats to say
what school they are going to," he said. "It's never something I expected to
play in at all. This is another dream come true. LSU was the first dream come
true. Being able to play in this game my senior year is something I didn't
expect. It's something I'm very proud of myself for doing. It keeps me motivated
to keep working hard."
Boutte said he talks to LSU coach Les Miles every other week and
already feels like part of the Tiger family.
Westgate completed its season on Friday with a 63-14 win over district rival
H.L. Bourgeois to finish 3-7.
"We started off 0-7 and then we started coming back with the wins," Boutte said.
"We went out with a bang so I'm happy with that."