ARMY AA BOWL: Army All-American selection tour
ARLINGTON, Texas - It's quite rare to have twin brothers playing on the same high school offensive line and both verbally committed to a Division I-A school.
That is the case with a pair of linemen at Arlington Sam Houston High School. Tony Morales and his twin brother Alfredo Morales are both committed to Texas Tech.
The story got even better on Monday morning as Tony was named a U.S. Army All-American selection for the class of 2011 at his high school.
As one can expect, the feeling is not one this 6-foot-4, 300-pound interior lineman has fully wrapped his hands around yet.
"I'm just overwhelmed," Morales said after his announcement. "It means a lot because a whole bunch of special players have played in this game. So it's just an honor and I look forward to representing my college and my school as an All-American."
That college, Texas Tech, is where both he and his twin brother Alfredo plan to play their college ball next year. Of course Alfredo was on hand for the announcement along with their parents.
"I think it's a good experience watching him get to play in the game, to see how he's going to do against the best competition," Alfredo Morales said. "It's basically going to be like college, with the speed of the game. What he does, I know that's what I can do."
Sam Houston head coach Danny Edleman says this moment is due to Morales talent, but more important his work ethic over the last three years.
"I think it's just through a matter of hard work and the recognition he received through all the camps, and how well he played," Edleman said. "Not only just as players, but as young men, these kids (Tony and Alfredo), they're some of the finest young men I've ever been around. I do state that with a lot of experience. And again, naturally, I'm blessed as a coach, being able to coach two good kids and for them to be as talented as they are.
"I've been coaching for over 30 years, and I don't remember having two Division I players, playing at the high school level on one offensive line."
It was certainly a proud moment for the entire Morales family. Alfredo said that when they first found out about it, they decided to use some past All-American Bowl footage to tell their parents just how big of an honor this was for Tony.
"They were really excited," Alfredo Morales said. "They didn't know what was going on, so we had to explain it to them. We showed them the game last year."
Tony was in shocked when he got the news about his upcoming selection.
"At first I couldn't even believe it," Tony Morales said about receiving the good news. "I remember watching this game my freshman year and I just never thought I'd have the opportunity to do this, and now I do. I just want to show that I can play with the best in the country and I'm as good as anybody in the country."
Edleman doesn't expect anyone to be disappointed with his play in San Antonio.
"No. 1, the fact that he's 290 and runs a 4.9 or 5-flat 40," the coach said about Tony's strengths. "He's very strong at the point of attack with the concepts of single blocking, but I think the next most important thing, is his speed factor and how [good] he is in open space. The speed game and perimeter game, he has his own package and that's what they're looking for."
It's hard to say there could be anything disappointing about the day for Morales, but of course, there is one more thing he would have loved on Monday morning.
That's having his brother wearing the Army jersey as well.
"I just wish he was standing up here with me," he said. "It's going to be nice [playing at Texas Tech together] because I love my brother to death, he's my twin brother. I want to be with him. We do everything together. Everywhere I go, he goes, so it's definitely going to be special."
Morales is ranked as the nation's top center prospect for the class of 2011 by Rivals.com and the No. 24 overall prospect in the state of Texas.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played on Jan. 8 in San Antonio at 1 p.m. Eastern and will be aired live by NBC.