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The U.S. Army recognized Rivals100 athlete Orson Charles as a 2009 All-American at Plant High School in Tampa, Fla., last week. Charles took it all in, was honored to be named, and is now looking to prove something on January 3, 2009 in San Antonio.
"It was a very exciting ceremony and everything went great," said Charles. "It is a big honor to play in this game, I am very happy they invited me, and I just can't wait to play in the game now."
Playing in the game is important to Charles for more than one reason. Yes, it is the game most high school athletes dream about playing in and it is nationally televised on NBC, but he wants to showcase his talents to America to prove he is one of the best at his position.
"I want to show that I have speed, show that I can catch the ball well and I really want to show that I can play tight end well. People say I am too short, people say I do not weigh enough, and things like that, so I want to show that I am a true tight end and that I can play that position in college."
While trying to impress the viewers, analysts and college coaches, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Plant Panther will also have someone special on his mind. He is not playing for just himself in this game.
"I feel like I will be playing for Aaron Murray (Charles' teammate at Plant) out there because he will not be able to play. He was selected just like me, but his injury will keep him out of the game. He was picked early, he has had a great year, so I want to play for him and Plant High School when I am out there."
Since Murray's injury on October 16, Charles has stepped up to take the leadership role. Because of that, he was not able to show too much emotion on Friday during the ceremony. Plant had a big game Friday night, so while he was putting on the All-American East jersey, he was thinking about Chamberlain.
"It kind of sunk in that I was an Army All-American after I put on the jersey on Friday, but I was thinking about the game Friday night a lot too. I was trying not to lose focus of Chamberlain because I know I have to keep the team focused on it. I was having fun, but I was thinking a lot about the game too (Plant won 27-13)."
Now, it is official and the No. 79-ranked player in the country is a 2009 U.S. Army All-American. He is not just looking forward to the football part of the event, but he is looking to find out more about the armed forces.
"It is a big honor for me to go the Army All-American Bowl and I am definitely excited about it," stated Charles. "I want to go out there and compete, I want to win the game, I will be business like out there, and I will do whatever I can not to lose, but I will not forget why I am there."
"I really look forward to talking to the guys in the Army, asking them questions, hearing their stories and learning more about them. They make the event special and I am excited about meeting them and finding out all the things we never get to see or hear on television."