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ARLINGTON, Texas - Arlington (Texas) Oakridge senior receiver Ross Apo got to cross off one particular accomplishment he set for himself two years ago: Play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"I wrote down my goals to start my sophomore season," Apo said. "And this was one."
Apo received his formal invitation Tuesday from the Army Strong contingent cutting a swath through North Texas with announcements that Plano West defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and Haltom defensive end Reggie Wilson also were named. There are more North Texas announcements coming the next three days.
Apo received his traditional U.S. Army jersey (No. 10) at Oakridge, a small private school in Southwest Arlington. He'll play in the 10th Anniversary game Jan. 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The East vs. West matchup will be televised live on NBC and feature 90 of the nation's top high school football players.
Apo represents a new generation of players coming through the All-American Game in the last decade.
"The first players I really remember watching are DeSean Jackson (2005) and Ted Ginn (2004)," Apo said.
Apo (6-3, 190) is considered one of the nation's top recruits and is giving Brigham Young a highly rated class along with Seattle quarterback Jake Heaps. Apo's Oakridge teammate, 6-foot-6 offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje Jr. and hard-hitting linebacker Teu Kautai, also have committed to BYU and were in attendance at Apo's announcement.
Oakridge hopes Apo returns this week against Cistercian. Apo has been recuperating from a leg injury and hasn't caught a pass in Oakridge's last two games. Apo last caught a pass in the first quarter (for a touchdown) of a Sept. 18 victory over Austin St. Andrew's.
The Owls certainly would like their star receiver back. He's been a mainstay of the program since he transferred in to start his sophomore year.
"The first time I saw him, I could tell he was going to be a special player," Oakridge coach Phillip Farhat said. "He had size, speed, explosiveness and great hands. And he loves to play. If I was as good as he is, I'd love to play too."
Apo has 10 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns in his limited time. Apo's athleticism also shows with touchdowns on a punt return and an interception return as well. Apo had 37 catches for 764 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior and 27 catches for 331 yards and one touchdown as a sophomore.
As a college prospect, he's looked as a wide receiver who has the length and frame to possibly morph into a tight end or H-back. Apo is proud of his accomplishments as a receiver against some of the nation's top players. He shined at a Stanford camp this summer as coaches set up a one-on-one matchup in skills drills between Apo and Palmdale, Calif., star defensive back Joshua Shaw.
"(Shaw) was burning everybody and the coaches got me to go against him about five times," Apo said. "He jammed at the line, but I made the catch. Coming from a private school, a lot of people don't think you play the best competition but I like to prove that we can."