EADS, Tenn. - One of the top offensive line prospects in the country officially became an Army All-American Monday morning. Austin Long of Memphis Briarcrest Christian becomes the second Saint selected to play in this prestigious game held in San Antonio, Texas.
Michael Oher played in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Long is happy to follow in his footsteps in 2009.
"It is a great feeling and it has been a dream of mine since I watched a former teammate of mine play in 2005," said Long.
Long knows Oher, but he has never had the chance to talk with him about the experience he had when he played in the All-American Bowl. The Tennessee native is looking forward to the whole experience.
He has been following the game since around 2003, so he knows about the event he will be participating in. This news was given to Long months ago as he was on his way to an unofficial visit.
"I got a call in the car when I was on the way to Auburn for a visit and I couldn't believe it. I was speechless and I was happy about it."
This is the game guys like Vince Young, Chris Wells, Eric Berry, Tim Tebow, and many other former high school stars, current/past college stars, and many of the best in the NFL took part in when they were high school seniors.
Now Long gets to add his name to the impressive list of Army All-Americans and he is excited about what he is going to be a part of come early 2009.
"It has tradition, the Army is involved with it, I get to meet all those guys that protect our country, I will play against top players, and it is the biggest high school game in the country."
Now that it is official and the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Rivals250 offensive tackle is an Army All-American, he shared an interesting statement at the end of the ceremony. Yes, he is excited about the game itself, but there is more to this experience to Long than strapping on the pads when he gets to San Antonio late in December.
When asked what he is looking forward to the most, he answered with, "meeting all of the Army guys to talk with them about their experiences."
The Georgia commitment mentioned the Armed Forces multiple times throughout the interviews, his speech, and even when the cameras and recorders were not in his face. He showed a lot of patriotism throughout the ceremony and he looks forward to the full experience in San Antonio.
Watch the Army All-American Bowl on NBC live at 1pm ET on January 3, 2009.
Stay tuned to Rivals.com for information on the 2009 U.S. Army All-Americans.