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EUGENE, Ore. - Jan. 9, 2010 will be a memorable day for a select group of the nation's best high school football players.
The prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be playing its 10th anniversary edition in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and Eugene (Ore.) Sheldon tight end Curtis White will be one of the players representing the state of Oregon.
"I found out around December of last year," the nation's No. 4-ranked tight end said of his selection. "I was one of the first to commit to it. I don't know too much about this year's roster but when I committed there were I believe nine including Jake Heaps, Seantrel Henderson and Owa (Owamagbe Odighizuwa) and those guys."
Players of White's caliber have to choose from multiple bowl games. As a sophomore the Sheldon High school star began getting the information.
"I got the letters in the mail, I received the packages," White said. "They asked me to either commit to one game or the other. I had the Under Armour game and the Army All-American game. I looked through both of them, the players that have played in the games. But ever since I was little I wanted to play in the Army All-American game, so it turned out to be a no-brainer for me."
In its 10 years, the Army All-American Bowl has played host to a stellar group. Among the alumni are NFL stars such as Vince Young (Titans), Haloti Ngata (Ravens), Brady Quinn (Browns) and Reggie Bush (Saints).
White is excited he'll get to add his name to the list.
"I know some great players have played in the game," White said. "Tim Tebow, Adrian Peterson (Vikings). I have watched the game, and I know it's a big deal. In San Antonio you get to practice with the best in the nation and that is what I'm looking forward to doing."
White is no stranger to the Lone Star State. As a multi-sport star athlete, he has had other opportunities to travel for sports. Nonetheless, he is intrigued by his opportunity to see San Antonio.
"I've been to Texas for basketball tournaments many times," White said. "I've been to Houston, Dallas four or five times and Texas is a great place. It's exciting because there is tons of history and I'm a history buff. Hopefully, we'll see the Alamo."
An issue for White is the ongoing health of his shoulder. Since early in his high school career, it has been injured and the ongoing looseness presents potential for re-injury. Aware that he needs surgery to tighten the joint, his timetable has been adjusted to accommodate the game.
"I could have my surgery right after the season but since my family is hell-bent on making the Army All-American game a family vacation I will wait a bit," White said.
So the plan for the future Duck is to continue rehabilitating his shoulder until after the Bowl game.
"I'm focusing on my shoulder rehab right now in order to ready for the game," White said. "I'm probably not going to be 100 percent realistically, and I'll probably be shabby at defensive end since I haven't played it forever. But defensive end has always been natural for me, so I'll be OK at it."
To play at the level of competition he will face in San Antonio, he needs to be near 100 percent to compete successfully. White is aware of this and remains confident.
"You need to be at your best," White said. "My injury is very functional. I can practice and play with it hurt, and you wouldn't be able to tell. When I was a sophomore you couldn't tell that my shoulder was completely worse than it is now. Things happen, but I'll be ready and as strong as I can be."
Already committed to the Oregon Ducks, White will not be under the recruiting pressure that some of the other attendees will face. He even intends to test the waters to see if he might find any future teammates in San Antonio.
"Representing the University of Oregon is awesome, especially since I've been committed since my sophomore year," White said. "Hopefully that will stand out to some other players. I will definitely work on that, just like I've been talking to players behind the scenes."