MARIETTA, Ga. -- Brandon Kublanow's path to the gridiron was a mistake.
That comes from someone who should know: his mother.
Shelly Kublanow Rosenblatt said the family had a different sport in mind.
"He was supposed to play tennis," she said. "He was on the court playing tennis when he was in diapers. His brother (Joey Kublanow) was nationally ranked, and I'm a tennis player. So we were all about playing tennis," she said.
"Then, at the age of 10, Brandon couldn't run as fast and everybody said he needs to go play football. Then Coach Evans, in middle school, took him under his wing and started to coach him. He was bigger than the other kids then, and that is how it happened."
It would be impossible to find anyone more proud than Kublanow Rosenblatt at Thursday's Army All-American jersey presentation, but her son, while sporting the Army jersey and hat, is honored to be playing in a game he has made a point to watch for years.
"I'm very excited that I'll be playing in it and it is weird to know that I'll be playing in it this year," the Walton (Marietta, Ga.) offensive lineman said. "It is definitely … the biggest honor for a high school player and the biggest All-Star game. It is a … dream come true and just awesome. Definitely a huge honor."
The Georgia commitment also realizes that the game represents much more than just an opportunity to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the nation's most elite talent.
He sees it as an opportunity to represent those who fight for his country.
"It represents strength and courage with all of the members of the Army there. It is not a regular All-American game, it is so much more than that," he said. "It is an honor to be able to represent the Army. They do so much for our country, and I hear we get to do a lot of things with them out there, so I am really looking forward to that stuff. It is very exciting, especially with Tyren (Jones) going and other big-time players. It's going to be fun."
As someone who didn't exactly grow up in a household that was dedicated to an focused on the game of football, Kublanow certainly had to put a lot of time and effort into learning the sport.
Now that he is a senior leader for his Raiders and arguably the top lineman in the state of Georgia, Kublanow knows that any and all sacrifices he made were well worth it.
"I've put in a lot of hard work and have been going all the time. Just working out seven days a week, and there are times when all your friends are hanging out and you miss it to work out," Kublanow said. "It is about dedication and working hard, really."
When the Rivals250 lineman made the decision to commit to the home state Bulldogs this summer, one of his reasons was he had a strong relationship with a number of Georgia commitments.
Building a relationship with more of his future teammates such as Newnan (Newnan, Ga.) safety Tray Matthews, West Laurens (Dublin, Ga.) linebacker Johnny O'Neal, and Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) linebacker Tim Kimbrough, is another source of excitement for Kublanow.
"I'm definitely looking forward to hanging out with future teammates. I've met Johnny before but I don't know Tim that well because he is from up north," he said.
A year from now, Kublanow will be suiting up to either practice or play a game in the SEC for the Bulldogs, and he believes that one of the biggest benefits of playing in the Army All-American game is that it will help him know what to expect when he gets to the next stage of his football career.
"I think it will give me a hint on the future," Kublanow said. "It will definitely get me more prepared."
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