Brantley earns Army All-American Bowl Invite

Texas commit John Brantley received his official invitation to participate in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game Monday afternoon. The 6-3, 198-pound quarterback was named the MVP of the Elite Eleven Quarterback Camp and has been a five-star rated passer since last summer.

John Brantley received the prestigious invitation in a ceremony at Trinity Catholic High School attended by his parents John and Karen Brantley, head coach Kerwin Bell, his teammates, representatives from the United States Army, Sportslink, family, friends, and several members of the media.

"Oh, it blew me away when they first called me," Brantley said. "It was about two weeks ago. I can’t wait to get out there. Practice is probably going to be a little tough, but it’ll be fun I’m sure. This is an honor. I’ll invite as many people as I can take out there."

"I’ll have to prepare for the heat too," he added. "But, I’ve been out to Austin a few times now, so it’s really nothing new. It’s not that far away from Austin either, so that’s pretty exciting."

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game will be played in San Antonio on January 6th at noon. The game will be telecast on NBC.

Brantley has led Trinity Catholic to an unblemished 22-0 record, including an 8-0 record this season since he stepped under center as the full-time starter. The Celtics were the Class 2B champions in 2005 and are the overwhelming favorites to repeat in 2006. In the most recent Florida Sports Writers Association poll, Trinity Catholic received nine of the eleven possible first place votes.

Through the first eight games, he has completed 89 of 139 passes (64%) for 1,613 yards. The All-American has thrown 28 touchdown passes and just four interceptions.

Brantley’s career numbers are startling considering he is just eight games into his second year at the helm, while competing for a school in just its’ sixth season of competition. He has completed 327 of 530 passes (61.7%) for 5,649 yards, while amassing 86 touchdown passes and only 10 interceptions. has tabbed him as the top rated passer in Florida and the third best quarterback in the country. If there is a better overall quarterback than Brantley, I hope to see him prove it during the All-American Bowl practice sessions in San Antonio. Brantley has all of the tools. Brantley’s mechanics have become legendary in the most heavily recruited football state east of the Mississippi River.

That isn’t at all lost on Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer, who are still heavily recruiting Brantley. His acknowledgement regarding Austin in his earlier statement should at least somewhat calm the nerves of those who think that the Texas grip has slipped. He is still deep in the heart of Texas.

I asked Brantley if he has heard all of the rumors regarding a nervous Texas fan base, because of the heavy presence of Stoops and Meyer?

"Yeah, and they’re blowing it way out of proportion," Brantley stated shaking his head. "They (the coaches) can still call. They’re just doing their job."

Do Oklahoma fans want Brantley? Well, the event was also attended by an Oklahoma fan, who proudly rolled up his sleeve to display his university approved tattoo. He arrived very early. The positives for Brantley are that the Sooners don’t have a quarterback commit to date and won’t get a visit from one as talented anyway. Furthermore, sophomore Joey Halzle would be hard pressed to beat out Brantley. The tutelage under Kerwin Bell and his father are far superior to that of most high school programs. There is one big negative and it is Norman.

There is no question that Florida fans would love to see Brantley follow in his father’s footsteps. The Gators currently have no depth on their roster other than Tim Tebow. And while Brantley is not afraid to compete, Florida already has a pair of quarterback commitments in junior college transfer Bryan Waggoner (Citrus College) and four star player Cam Newton of Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia. Urban Meyer will continue to pursue him anyway.

Each time that I have spoken to Brantley, he talks about Austin and his future teammates. He seems genuinely excited about the city and has struck up a pretty close bond with a few of the future Longhorns. However, there is plenty of competition at Texas. And as we’ve seen, sometimes kids do make decisions to attend universities far from home only to reconsider the vast distance away from family and friends as the reality of Signing Day draws near.

Brantley would obviously rather not have to address such talk in detail. There is no absolute answer, folks. He is committed to the University of Texas. You can choose to add "presently" to the sentence, but Brantley isn’t. He says that it’s overblown.

He is focused on trying to win another state title for Trinity Catholic. Everybody will have to remain on pins and needles until he says it’s enough and asks Stoops and Meyer to stop recruiting him or decommits and opens the process back up. And neither is going to happen anytime soon.

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