Although it doesn't come as exactly a shock, it is now official.
Springdale quarterback and University of Arkansas commit Mitch Mustain has been selected to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2006 in San Antonio an event that will be nationally televised by NBC and is sponsored in part by Scout.com.
Mustain (6-3, 200, 4.6) and Springdale offensive lineman and Notre Dame commit Bartley Webb (6-7, 285) were both officially announced as one of the 78 invitees to the game at a pep rally Friday morning in advance of their game with Jenks.
"It is a huge honor," Mustain said. "There are over a million high school players and to be one of the 78 named is an honor to me. We (Mustain and Springdale head coach Gus Malzahn) were at the game last year and saw what an incredible atmosphere it was and all the great athletes they had their to play. I can't wait...I'm looking forward to representing Springdale, the state of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas."
Mustain is ranked as the top quarterback in the country by Scout.com and has already passed for 465 yards and 6 touchdowns and ran for 40 yards and another in two games this season - including 5 TD passes and 317 yards in the first half alone of the first of last week's 45-3 win over Prescott.
That comes after a junior campaign which played the largest part in his selection. He threw for 2,164 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 330 yards and 14 more touchdowns despite playing only 30 of a possible 52 quarters due to Springdale's dominance.
"It's pretty cool," Mustain said of the selection. "It's one of those things that I don't think will hit me until I get there and experience it. The way they put it on is just first-class the whole way." It's the top of the top, just the best game you can play in during the postseason."
Mustain and Webb were just two of 400 players nominated and will be one of just 78 players selected for the game by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Team made up of Tom Lemming of CSTV and representatives of Scout.com, the web's largest independent sports network.
"It's a honor for them, a honor for our program and even an honor for our state to have two of the 78 players named," Malzahn said. "We went down there last year and the place was packed, the atmosphere was unbelieveable and Mitch and I were just setting off to the side dreaming a little about how he could be out there the next year."
Mustain is one of five Springdale players to already commit to Division I programs with Andrew Norman set to join him at Arkansas, Webb to Notre Dame and wideout Damian Williams and tight end-linebacker Ben Cleveland both committed to Florida.
"This is just a great feeling," Webb said. "It puts all the hard work and all the hard hours in perspective. They weren't wasted. It makes you want to work even harder now."
The Bulldogs, who are the undisputed No. 1 team in the state of Arkansas and ranked as high as ninth nationally, host 23rd ranked Jenks tonight in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPNU.
As U.S. Army All-Americans, Mustain and Webb also have the potential to be named a finalist for the PARADE All-America High School Player of the Year honoring the nation's best prep football player at the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Awards Dinner on January 6, 2006 in San Antonio.
The PARADE All-America High School Player of the Year is the equivalent of the high school Heisman Trophy and the winner will receive a trophy fashioned in the likeness of high school's all-time leading rusher Ken "The Sugar Land Express" Hall of Sugar Land, Texas.
Also given out at the U.S. Army All-American Awards Dinner will be the Walter Payton trophy which goes to the nation's premier football speed and strength athlete. This award will be bestowed upon the nation's fastest, strongest and most dedicated high school football player. The Trophy presented to the winner is set in the likeness of the Hall-of-Famer and NFL Great.
The winning team of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl will receive the Herman Boone Trophy named after the legendary Virginia high school football coach who was immortalized in the Disney feature film, Remember the Titans.
The game MVP will receive the Pete Dawkins MVP Trophy named after the 1958 Heisman Trophy winner.
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