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TEMPLE, Texas - Over the last three years, Lache Seastrunk has earned a lot of honors - most notably, the No. 1 rank in the country at his position, two All-District first-team selections, and an All-State honorable mention after putting up 3,433 yards and 36 touchdown on the ground during that time.
As of Tuesday, the record-breaking Temple (Texas) High back can now add "All-American" to that list.
"This is such an awesome experience," said Seastrunk of the school-wide pep rally held to commemorate his selection to the Army All-American Bowl. "It's a blessing because this doesn't happen to everyone, but God has blessed me enough for it to happen to me. I have only him to thank for it first and foremost."
Honoring the top 90 players in the country, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl's selection of Seastrunk puts the young back in elite company - over the last decade, the likes of Reggie Bush, Adrian Peterson, Beanie Wells and LenDale White all have made their mark on the historic game. In front of thousands of cheering fans at Wildcat Stadium, however, Seastrunk was surprised with the chance to join an even more exclusive list as he was presented with the nomination for the Ken Hall trophy honoring the U.S. Army Player of the Year, delivered to him by none other than Kenneth Hall, himself.
"Wow, I can't even say anything else," said Seastrunk as he shook Hall's hand. "I just found out. It's just such an honor to be nominated for this award."
Hall, the all-time Texas high school rushing leader (11,232 yards) and holder of several national records even to this day, has since enjoyed the chance to be a part of the event and impart what guidance he can to the young recruits.
"The game is such a phenomenal event," Hall said. "Every year, I end up getting pretty close to the final six that vie for the award, and it's one of the joys in my life at my age. To sit and talk with these kids about the road I traveled and where the bumps and bruises and hurdles get in the way, I only hope I can help them do something in their life to help them avoid and anticipate those things."
Joined by Hall were three-star General Benjamin C. Freakley, Temple Head Coach Bryce Monsen, and admittedly the two most important people in his life - his mother and older sister Scy, the latter of whom is a Private First Class at nearby Fort Hood.
"Those two, along with my grandparents, have been the most important, helpful, amazing people in my life," Seastrunk said. "I'm so happy that I could share this with everyone in my family, on my team, and in the community."
"I'm so proud of my brother," Scy Seastrunk said, after giving a speech to the audience about what the Army has done for her life. "We've always been close, because it's just me and him. He knows that I'm his biggest fan and that he can come to me with anything."
Lache the Player
A phenomenal athlete with speed rarely seen in the high school ranks, Lache Seastrunk knows that he has talent, but the one thing that has driven him to become the No. 3 recruit in the nation isn't his natural potential, it's his drive to be even better.
"As a player, obviously speed is his asset - he's shown that at Temple" Anthony Williams, the Southwest Director for the All-American Bowl, said. "When I first saw him play, he impressed the heck out of me. I delivered the papers to him and his family for the combine last year, and I told him that I would like to see him develop the parts of his game he'll need at the next level, namely his blocking and pass-catching."
"That's the two things he's worked on the most, catching and blocking, and he's really started to improve in those areas," Monsen, Lache's coach, said. "He's a great running back overall. The team is more than one man, and he knows that, but he's run for a lot of yards and broken two long-held records here at Temple."
Lache the Person
With the limelight of colleges, media, accolades, and everything else that comes along with being such a highly touted recruit, many players lose perspective of who they are and where they came from. According to those around Temple's five-star back, that's not the case when it comes to Seastrunk.
"He's a better kid than he is a football player, so that makes us even more proud," Monsen said. "He's just Lache to everybody, nothing more. He's a great kid and he's just fun to be around."
"As a person, Lache is what he is," Williams added. "He's very humble, very talented and very active in his community. He's a great person."
"You couldn't describe a better teammate," Lache's sister said. "He's very humble and very strong and he cares about his teammates more than anything else."
"Luckily, I have family that will crack me over the head if I get out of line," Lache added. "I pray to God every night for everything from this opportunity to just waking me up in the morning."
For some time now, Seastrunk's recruitment has been a hectic one. Courted by almost all of the elite level schools in the country, though, Temple's star back maintains that he still has no idea as to which school he wants to attend.
"I'm still wide open right now," Seastrunk said. "Hopefully I'll figure out some shape or form or semblance of where I want to go, but right now, I couldn't even tell you."
"I tell all the kids I work with that eventually football will come to an end, either under your terms or its terms," Williams said. "I know he's being recruited by every school in the country, but I'm hoping that he'll take my advice and pick a school based on where you want to get your degree rather than by what bowl game they went to or what their record is."
"The one thing I always tell him is to just be Lache," Monsen added. "Don't believe everything they tell you. Just do what's best, fair, and just, and you'll always be okay."
This weekend Seastrunk will be visiting Cal for its Pac-10 matchup against rival USC, and also intends to attend games at both Texas and Oklahoma in the near future.