For some, getting a shot to compete in a national all-star game is a chance to compare skills with other elite athletes. Lutcher (La.) defensive tackle Rolando Melancon is excited about getting that opportunity, and is looking forward to testing his skills against some of the nation's top talent.
The athletic lineman has been named to the West squad for the inaugural Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
"I think it's an honor for me for my achievements to get recognized with some top players in the nation and to get some chance to get to know some of the other top players in the nation," Melancon said.
Five facts about Rolando Melancon
• Personal hero is his mother, Chandra Hayes
• Favorite movie is "Get Rich or Die Tryin"
• Second-favorite sport is basketball
• Enjoys playing the video game "Madden 07"
• Favorite web site is Rivals.com
The game kicks off at 5 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday, Jan. 4 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. It will be televised live by ESPNU.
Rivals.com is the official selection partner of the game.
Melancon, who is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, believes there are several things about his game that allow him to be mentioned among the nation's elite.
"It's my size and speed," he said. "My speed is good and my motor keeps going. I play through every whistle. I never give up on plays. I know the game a little more than the average player knows the game. That's me, my life is football. I guess it's paying off. I just have a nose for the ball."
Melancon's focus is on being an excellent football player. One of his favorite movies provides him with the motivation to strive for excellence.
"My favorite movie is "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" starring (rapper) 50 cent," he said. "It is about a guy who grew up and didn't really have anything and worked hard to try to make it big as a rapper. It's about a young guy that had dreams and goals and worked hard to make it at what he did.
"That motivates me because that's what I am doing, except with football. I want to work hard to be the best."
His hard work has helped to lead Lutcher into the second round of the state playoffs.
"I'm having a wonderful season," he said. "I'm close to 50 tackles right now with a lot of those behind the line. I have two interceptions on the season. One, in a district game, I took back 54 yards for a touchdown.
"That's one thing as a defensive lineman I can do. I can cover running backs. I have great speed for a lineman. Even when I am triple- and double-teamed, I can get out and play in space and cover guys."
On the recruiting front, Melancon took his first official visit to Tennessee on the weekend of Nov. 3. He plans to visit Arkansas and Ole Miss following his football season and says that the Vols, Razorbacks and Rebels are in his top three with LSU, Nebraska and Michigan still in the picture.