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CANONSBURG, Pa. - Throughout the hallways of Canon-McMillan High School, the presence of Mike Hull looms. So it should come as no surprise that when the Canon-Mac juniors and seniors gathered in the school's auditorium Friday morning to see Hull officially announced as a participant in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, they were boisterous, to say the least.
"Mike Hull! Mike Hull! Mike Hull!" the students chanted after the jersey presentation.
"I think you can see the way he's revered amongst the student body. That's atypical," Canon-McMillan head coach Guy Montecalvo said Friday. "A lot of times there's envy and jealousy with somebody who can win an award like this, but just the posture with which he carries himself, his humility…that's why it's easy to root for him. That's why there is no bitterness and envy and jealousy amongst his peers."
When Hull stood behind the podium to address an auditorium full of schoolmates, he made a point to express his appreciation.
"I want to thank my family, my coach, my teammates and my classmates," he said.
And now Hull, the star football player, baseball player and wrestler who sat on the homecoming court this fall, will have an opportunity to reach a new goal he set for himself.
"It's been a dream of mine to play in the Army All-American Game for a long time, and now that dream is coming to fruition," Hull said.
"This is definitely the best game to play in. I've watched this for as long as I can remember, and I always had the dream of playing in this game. It's finally come true."
With his inclusion on the 2010 roster for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Hull joins a star-studded list of former participants.
"It's insane how this game has produced some of the greatest players in college and the pros. I'm really excited," Hull said. "Not too many people have the opportunity to be in a game as prestigious as this, and I know it's going to be a great experience. I can't wait."
Montecalvo is a veteran coach, but he has only had one player selected to play in the Army All-American Bowl, former Washington (Pa.) running back Travis Thomas, who later played at Notre Dame.
"In 30 years of high school coaching, I haven't encountered very many young men who have the work ethic that Mike does," Montecalvo said. "That sounds like something trite that you hear coaches say all the time, but he truly is unique."
For Hull, the U.S. Army All-American Game is the step from his decorated high school career to what he hopes will be a productive future at Penn State.
"I think it's a stepping stone from high school to college," he said. "All the players are the top players, which is what you're going to see at the college level. I'm looking forward to going down there and competing with some of the best recruits in the country to see how I do against some of the top talent."
Four of the players who will wear the East squad jersey with Hull are fellow Penn State commits: quarterback Paul Jones, running back Silas Redd, linebacker Khairi Fortt, and fullback Zach Zwinak. Like Hull - the No. 8 outside linebacker prospect in the nation and the No. 5 recruit in Pennsylvania - the other four Penn State commits in the Army All-American Bowl are four-star recruits, and Hull is anxious to show what the future Nittany Lions can do in San Antonio.
"Definitely. We have a really good class this year. It will definitely be a showcase for what's coming in the future to Penn State."