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The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour has been traveling around for almost two months, honoring the top players in the country by inviting them to play in game. Each prospect has a ceremony at their school where they are presented with their official invitation but most of them have been committed to the contest for quite some time.
However, that was not the case with the latest member of the West roster. On Thursday, The Woodlands (Texas) kicker Ben Pruitt saw the selection committee stop by his high school. Though it wasn't a complete surprise to the 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect, it was still a relatively new development.
"I just found out about Week Eight of the season," Pruitt said Thursday of being invited to play in the game. "Coach (Mark) Schmid let me know at practice. It became official today. It's a little surreal."
The Houston-area prospect says the honor came as a bit of a shock.
"I was really, really surprised," he said. "I knew there was a possibility that I could be in it but I've never really been the kind of guy to go out there to a lot of combines and camps. I just go to college camps. I was surprised and really honored when they invited me to play in the game."
Pruitt knows the history of the game which, in its 11th year, counts hundreds of college and NFL stars among its alumni. He says it is an honor to now be included in that group.
"I've watched the game in the past," he said. "It's a crazy thing to be a part of, really. There are so many people that have gone through there and been successful. It's really cool to be playing in the same place that they did."
On Thursday, San Diego (Calif.) Francis Parker's Matt Wile was also honored as a kicker for the West squad. However, their separate roles are already set.
"I just kick for my high school team," Pruitt said. "I'll be doing kickoffs and field goals in the game. There's going to be a punter on the team as well. Luckily (Wile) is going to be there to punt."
On the recruiting trail, Pruitt has long held an offer from Air Force. The process has been a little slow for him to date but he expects that to change relatively soon.
"Right now, Air Force is my only offer," he said. "My coach said that Army is planning on it. Most of the schools that I've been in contact with have said that they're going to wait until after the season to get back to recruiting, especially since kickers are kind of the last offers to go out.
"I'm still talking to several schools. I'm talking to UT, Oklahoma State, LSU, Duke, Virginia and OU. Hopefully something will pop up with those schools."
The U.S. Army All American Bowl will be played Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and will be nationally televised by NBC.