LAGRANGE, Ga. At Troup County High School Thursday morning, Rivals100 offensive lineman Chris Burnette was officially selected as a 2009 U.S. Army All-American. The University of Georgia commitment proudly put on the jersey, placed the hat on his head, and formally accepted the selection to the premier high school All-American football game.
After a highlight video was shown to the audience of Burnette dominating his competition over the last two years, the ceremony began.
A short introduction took place and just minutes later, the black East squad U.S. Army All-American jersey was given to the 6-foot-3, 290-pound guard.
"It feels great and it is really just an honor for someone to be recognized for something that you have been working so hard for over the last couple of years," said Burnette. "I am really just thankful for people seeing what I am doing and just for God giving me the ability to do what I am doing."
The first football All-American at Troup County was George Brewer back in 1988. Brewer is now the defensive coordinator at Troup County and he and Burnette are extremely close. Many are very proud of the Troup County senior and Coach Brewer is one of them.
"I was that nervous-kind of excited for Chris this morning," said proud former UGA star Coach Brewer. "I was extremely happy for him, I was proud of him for putting our school back on the map, and he is the right guy to do it."
"I saw this day coming for Chris the first day I got here (three years ago). I could tell by his work ethic, how he is committed to success, and how he has been guided by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was just excited to be there, to be a part of it, and I am excited for Chris."
His work ethic is what has led to this level of success. The student-athlete that sports a GPA of over 5.0 stays busy. Between taking honor classes, writing essays, playing football, and cutting hair, Burnette does not have much free time. When that free time was there though over the past few months, he would be thinking about what took place today.
"Really, I would just think about it (Army All-American ceremony) non-stop," admitted Burnette. "I have been waiting a long time for this day to come and I really just wanted to pay homage to those who made this thing happen."
It happened, Burnette is headed for San Antonio late in December and he will be ready to play on January 3, 2009. Yes, he wants to have fun and enjoy his time in the Lone Star State, but he looks forward to playing football, too.
"You always want to have fun when you play football; that is the point of playing football for me. I do always play with a little chip on my shoulder, so I want to show people that I have worked hard for it and that I belong to be there."
It was a great day for the community at Troup County, the classmates of Burnette got to be part of his big day, and the future Georgia Bulldog was named to the 2009 U.S. Army All-American East team.
When he was asked why he thought he was nominated for this game, the humble, soon-to-be valedictorian said he didn't know and he was just thankful that he was chosen.
While Burnette could not give an answer, Troup County Head Coach Bubba Jeter let everyone know why his senior captain was the right choice for this prestigious event.
"Three things come to mind when I think about Chris Burnette," said Coach Jeter. "It is three C's It is called class, character and commitment. I have had the opportunity to coach some great guys, but Chris just epitomizes those three things. Chris is always one of those guys that is trying to do right and he is also committed. He is committed to everything he does and it has just been a pleasure to coach him."