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Minneapolis Breck receiver Bryce McNeal was official announced as a member of the West team for the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl at a ceremony at his home on Thursday evening.
McNeal was clearly excited to be named as a U.S. Army All-American, but as is typical of the receiver he was quick to thank others for helping him get to where he is.
"I am truly blessed and honored to be a part of this game," McNeal said. "I want to thank my mom and my father. They have done everything for me and I could not imagine being here with out them. I also want to thank everyone for coming out once again. I want to thank the Army for sponsoring everything. They are selected to do this and it is just as much an honor for them as it is for the players. I want to thank Coach Ohm and my grandparents of course. Just thank you all."
Due to a scheduling conflict at The Breck School the ceremony for McNeal was held at his home in South Minneapolis. In the nine year history of the US Army All-American Bowl this was the first time an announcement was made from a player's home. This location and timing allowed for more of McNeal's friends and family to be present, something he was grateful for.
"It is great, it is a wonderful feeling," McNeal said. "I am actually kind of happy that I did it at my home because all of these people would not have been able to come if it was at my school. Family is the most important thing to me so it is great to be able to have this announced with all of them here. So to have this done at my home was a big honor, I am blessed."
McNeal will follow in the footsteps of former Breck players Liam O'Hagen and Dominique Byrd and current Notre Dame receiver and Minnesotan Michael Floyd as Army All-Americans.
"It means a lot to me to follow guys like that in this game. Now I just need to go out there and show what I can do. Hopefully I will produce as well as I can and go out and work hard and we will see what happens."
McNeal recently stepped back from his commitment to attend Michigan and sees the game as a perfect opportunity to let the world know where he will be attending college.
"As of right now that is what I am going to do. I know some of the other players in the game are thinking about doing the same thing and it will be fun to announce my decision during the game."
McNeal is the only player from Minnesota selected to play in the 2009 game, but that does not mean he will head to San Antonio with out knowing anyone. McNeal has several friends playing in the game and he is looking forward to spending time with them in January.
"Patrick Hall, Randall Carroll, Shaquelle Evans, Kevin Newsome, I know them all and I can't wait, I can't wait. It will be fun to get down to Texas and spend time playing with all of those guys. I am looking forward to it, I can't wait!"
Coach Craig Ohm of The Breck School spoke about his star player and while it is clear that McNeal is a star on the field, it is his leadership and attitude off of it that most impresses his coach.
"I am honored to be here not only to be standing next to Bryce, but to know that he is a roll model in our community," said Ohm. "The most important thing about Bryce is that my kids look up to him and it is very important for me not only as a father, but as a leader in out community, that we have people like Bryce McNeal as roll models for people to look up to. I am honored as a part of Breck School and as a human being to be associated with Bryce."