Four-star athlete Devin Fuller of Old Tappan, N.J., realizes that accepting his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey on Tuesday was not only a huge moment for him, but also for his school and his town. Playing in the shadows of national power Don Bosco Prep, which will send four players to the game, Fuller continued to prove that he too belongs with the elite players in the country.
"It means a lot to me," said Fuller, who is 6-feet and 185 pounds. "It means a lot to me to represent my school. My school is smaller, especially when you talk about Bosco, which is No. 1 in the country. It's a good opportunity to put my school on the map in a national way."
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This opportunity began for Fuller when he first realized that he received an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"It was a great achievement," said Fuller. "All of these great players have played in the game, and to play for the Army is a tremendous honor. After the season I had last year, I was hoping to get some recognition, but you never know. It's an honor and it speaks for itself."
Just as excited as Fuller was to receive his official game jersey, he will be even more excited to spend the week in San Antonio, Texas with many of the top players in the country.
"When I get there I want it to be fun, but I want to show that I'm a good athlete just like all the other players," said Fuller. "There will be great competition, but I want it to be fun too."
Recently, the thought of being able to play on national television has crept into Fuller's mind.
"I have been thinking about that lately," said Fuller. "Not awhile ago, but just recently. It'll be amazing. I've played on TV before, but obviously never on NBC. A lot of people tune into the game, and I hope to showcase my skills. It'll be fun."
Fuller's family is just as excited about the honor that he has earned.
"They love it," said Fuller. "It's a great game and it's for a great cause. It's amazing with all of the players that have played in the game before. My parents love it."
One of Fuller's parents, Bart Fuller, has been around college and high school football having played at TCU and currently assisting at Old Tappan. The Army Bowl represents everything he is trying to instill in his children.
"It's about honor, character and integrity and we are proud to be associated with the Army Bowl," Bart said. "It was one of Devin's goals and as it gets closer it becomes more real and exciting. And it's not just about the game, the exposure, what you get from it as far as gear and uniforms, it's about everything the Army stands for and the work many of the players do in the community. The whole week will be special."
Fuller will likely play safety in the Army Bowl despite being recruited by all his favorites as a quarterback. Even though other all-star games came at them with the promise of playing quarterback, the Fullers wanted to keep their commitment.
"It's about keeping your word and honoring your commitment," Bart said. "We told the Army Bowl people we were in the game and Devin agreed to participate as an athlete. To go back on that word would not set the right example we are trying to set. It's one of the reasons Devin isn't committed yet, when he commits to a school that will be it, it will be done."
After an amazing junior season that saw Fuller total over 50 touchdowns and 4,000 yards of offense and lead his team to the state championship game, this fall has been a little bit more of a struggle due to an injury and the loss of a number of key players to graduation.
"We're a team that has lost some pretty close games," said Fuller. "We shot ourselves in the foot in a few games so the way I look at it, we beat ourselves. In one game we lost 30-28 but scored all 28 points in the second half, and then in the next game we had 500 yards of offense but only put it into the end zone once. Hopefully we can make the playoffs and show everyone that we're not a team to look down on."
Personally, Fuller is regaining his form after an injury earlier this season.
"I got hurt in the second game when I pulled my hamstring," said Fuller. "I couldn't really run, so I became more of a pocket passer. I'm fine now though."
With recruiting to this point Fuller has taken one official visit to Nebraska, but seems to be taking his time with his remaining visits.
"I don't have any other visits planned right now," said Fuller. "I know I want to take all of my official visits after the season."
Fuller had also been rumored to be trimming his list of schools but has also slowed down with that process.
"It's still the same schools," said Fuller. "At the latest, I'll know more by the end of the season since I have to schedule visits. I'll probably make a final decision in December or January."
Aside from Nebraska, the other schools still involved with Fuller are Georgia Tech, TCU, Rutgers, Miami, Kansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Boston College, Penn State and UCLA.
Fuller and the East team take on the West 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.