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Nearly one year ago, Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville stars Christian Bryant and Latwan Anderson were selected for the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, bringing the school to a tie with Saint Bonaventure (Calif.) High for the most players to participate in the annual showdown in San Antonio with eight each.
Four-star offensive lineman Aundrey Walker received his jersey for the 2011 Army Bowl during a Friday selection ceremony. Walker is Glenville's ninth Army All-American, separating the Cleveland powerhouse as the school with the most all-time selections for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"It has become a tradition at Glenville," Walker said. "It would have been disappointing if we didn't send someone this year. I wanted to keep the streak going and do my thing. I made it. It is a blessing. I am honored to be selected. I just want to thank God and those who have helped me along the way."
Walker and the Glenville Tarblooders are entering the playoffs with an undefeated record for the third time in the last six seasons. They face Warren Harding in the first round of the OHSAA Division One playoffs on Saturday.
"Our expectations are to make it back to state. But we have to take it one game at a time. That starts by beating Warren Harding, and then we take it game by game, four more times."
At 6 feet 6 and 350 pounds, Walker is an intimidating presence on the football field. Glenville has produced top offensive linemen in the past, including 2009 U.S. Army All-American Marcus Hall and current Ohio State starter Bryant Browning.
"Aundrey is real athletic, and he is smart," Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr. said. "He is a guy you can't find, with that much size and athleticism. He is the most athletic player we have seen with that type of size."
Ginn has coached each of Glenville's nine nominees, including his son, Ted Ginn Jr., a 2004 participant. In addition, Glenville players are always a major presence at the U.S. Army National Underclassmen Combine, held the day before the all-star game.
"I think it wakes them up," Coach Ginn said. "I think going to the game puts them in a certain category of players that teaches them that they have work to do. It gives them a different outlook on how to be a student athlete. When they come back from a situation where they are competing against players from across the nation, they have a different mindset and it makes them more focused on being a great student-athlete."
Walker not only wants to soak up the Army experience, he wants to make an impact on the field.
"My goal is to just to play my butt off and be one of the starters," Walker said.
"The atmosphere is special. To be selected for this game is crazy. Every high school player wants this. To be one of the 90 players selected is just crazy."
Walker has offers from across the country, including Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, USC to name a few.
"Right now I am focusing on my season," Walker said. "Michigan State, USC and Ohio State I can say are sticking out, and a few others, but I am really focusing on my season."