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CLEVELAND - The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour made a stop at its home away from home Thursday, Glenville High School in Cleveland, to present Christian Bryant and Latwan Anderson with their jerseys for the prestigious high school All-American game on January 9 in San Antonio, Texas.
With Bryant and Anderson on board, Glenville has had eight players selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. In the Army Bowl's 10-year history, the seven visits to Glenville by the selection tour is the "most to any high school in America," according to SFC Michael Rayman, the master of Thursday's ceremony.
"We are going to represent everyone at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game in San Antonio," Bryant said in front of a packed auditorium. "I would like to thank God, because without God, none of this can happen. I would also like to thank the U.S. Army for selecting me and Latwan to play in the game. I would also like to thank my team, without you, we would not be in this position."
(Check out Greg Ladky's video interview with Christian Bryant here.)
Anderson, who transferred to Glenville last spring, spoke about the importance the program has had on his life.
"I must thank my team, without any of you, I would not be here," Anderson said. "I just want you all to realize that before I came here, I was a different person. But coming here, and being around everyone at the Ginn Academy and at Glenville, I feel like I have become a better person, and I can't wait to represent everyone."
(Check out Greg Ladky's video interview with Latwan Anderson here.)
Glenville Head Coach Ted Ginn, whose son Ted Jr. won the Army Bowl Game MVP in 2004, said it is a huge honor to have two players selected off of one team.
"I think it meant everything to Ted Jr. to have that opportunity to play with the nation's best," Coach Ginn said. "For him, we always talk about winning the MVP. He comes back and tells the kids in the program about his experiences at the game, about how he always wanted to play in the game, and that helps those kids realize that they can work hard and achieve their goals. Both Christian and Latwan are very competitive. They want it all.
"That is the reason they are All-Americans. Any time you have that talent, you have to have that competitiveness if you want to be an All-American."
Christian's dad, Ronnie Bryant, is an assistant coach at Glenville.
"Christian and Latwan have bonded since day one," Coach Bryant said. "From that point forward, it was great to watch how hard work, discipline, and commitment have gotten them to where they are today. This is the ultimate.
"It does not get any better than this. I can look back at Christian's first day of practice when he was seven years old, never once did we anticipate this. We just told him to work hard every day."
Though Glenville is no stranger to sending their best to San Antonio, they are a stranger to what lies ahead this Saturday. The Tarblooders will play in their first OHSAA Division 1 state championship game on Saturday night against Hilliard Davidson.
"This game is history, we made history last week by beating Massillon and making the state championship game," Bryant said. "Without a win, we are just another team that entered the state playoffs."
"It means a lot to be the first Cleveland city team to make the state championship," Anderson said. "It means a lot to us, but this is more for our community. For everyone who has been here, and for all the kids that practice Pop Warner that will be here."
"The mindset of the kids is that they know they have to do it," Coach Ginn said. "Because, we are in a position to make history, in a position to show the world and the state that we can win the state title. It means so much to our community, and to represent Cleveland and bring home that title is important."
Other Glenville and U.S. Army All American Bowl alumni include Pierre Woods (2001), Donte Whitner (2003), Ted Ginn Jr. (2004), Jamario O'Neal (2005), Robert Rose (2006), and Marcus Hall (2009).