WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. - Ishmael Adams is elated to be playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl because it will allow him to compete against some of the nation's best players, but it's bigger than just football for him.
The Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian four-star cornerback said it will also be important to interact with Army veterans during the week in San Antonio and to maybe learn a little bit away from the football field as well.
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"This game is much more than just playing football," Adams said. "It's about having character and doing a lot of things with the Army and working with them. It's a great opportunity and I didn't want to miss out on it."
Adams and Oaks Christian teammate Jordan Payton were presented with their Army game jerseys during a ceremony Wednesday at their high school.
Playing in the game alone is exciting and Adams, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound prospect, said it's even better to have a close friend like Payton to share the experience with him. Being together for the week in San Antonio is something both players are looking forward to.
"It's a great opportunity and I'm so blessed, so excited to play in this game," Adams said. "It's a dream come true and I've always wanted to play in this game. I've been watching the Army game ever since I started playing football so I feel fortunate to be included in this game.
"It's so competitive and it's the best of the best. I'll have someone to share it with and have an experience with. That is really cool and I'll get to travel with him and go out with him and the other players. It's going to be an experience of a lifetime."
Adams is still uncommitted and although he considered making an early decision it looks like he could postpone things until the Army game, something that has become commonplace over the years.
A player usually puts three or four hats on a table and during a break in the action he gets to announce his decision on NBC. It's a thrilling moment many prospects relish after such a grueling and laborious recruiting process.
"The Army game is most likely where I want to make it," Adams said. "That's the goal but if it doesn't go right I'll extend it to signing day."
Cal, Arizona State and Oregon have emerged as the three favorites for Adams, rated as the No. 11 cornerback and No. 119 prospect in the 2012 class by Rivals.com.
He recently took an unofficial visit to see Arizona State play USC. That trip is a big reason why the Sun Devils have moved so high on his list.
"It was an unofficial but it was still a great time," Adams said.
"I got to talk to the coaches a little bit and watch their game. I love how they play. I got to see how they run some of the same things we do at my school. It was just a great time at the game, a great atmosphere and I got a feel for the coaches."
An official visit to Arizona State is also being considered along with Oregon and Cal but both of those trips probably won't happen until after his senior season.
The only visit Adams has set up is to Notre Dame for its matchup against USC on Oct. 22 and Payton is expected to make that trip as well.
It's an exciting time for Adams, who's playing well this season for Oaks Christian, has a few visits on the horizon and just received his Army jersey. He's a few months away from playing in an all-star game that he's watched since he was a youngster.
For him, it can't get much better.
"It's a dream come true," Adams said.