On Thursday the U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour made its latest stop at Texarkana (Texas) Texas High to honor one of the top offensive linemen in the country with an official invitation to play in this January's game.
Though he has long known he would be playing in the game John Michael McGee still felt things were a little surreal as it all became a reality with the ceremony at his school. He has a connection to the event that not many others have.
"It's a great honor," the 6-foot-4, 270-pound McGee said. "My dad being a military guy - he's in the Marines - it kind of has a personal connection for me.
"It was really awesome when they gave me the jersey to put on at the ceremony. Just to have something on that represented being a U.S. Army All-American was very special to me."
McGee is also excited about participating in the actual game that features 90 of the top prospects in the entire country.
"It gives me a good opportunity to go out and compete against the best players from across the nation," he said. "That is going to be a lot of fun to see how I stack up there. It's a great opportunity and it's going to be fun too."
A pair of former players from Texas High also earned Army All-American honors and McGee says he feels honored to be in the same company as them.
"I've watched the game the past couple of years," he said. "There have been some guys from my high school that have played in it like Ryan Mallett and Dustin Earnest.
"I never imagined I would see myself in the same situation as them. These are guys I've looked up to in the past and I never thought I would be playing in the Army game just like they did."
McGee, the nation's No. 2 offensive guard and No. 89 overall prospect, committed to the University of Oklahoma over the summer. Since that time he has grown close to many other members of the Sooner recruiting class and will have a chance to join a couple of his fellow pledges in San Antonio. In addition, he hopes to sway another top prospect to Oklahoma as well.
"There are a couple of guys that are coming to Oklahoma with me that are playing in it with me this year," he said. "I'm excited about that. Durron Neal and Ty Darlington are both going to be down there with me. Dorial Green-Beckham is going to be down there too. All those guys I know well. I talk to them on Facebook and stuff."
The trio of McGee, Neal and Darlington has talked about needed to represent the Sooners but McGee also feels he must do his hometown proud as well.
"We're all going to go out and play and do our best," he said. "We're going to represent our high schools and represent the University of Oklahoma too. It will be nice to get to spend some time together before we get down there [to Oklahoma]."
McGee and the West team take on the East in the 12th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be nationally televised on NBC.