By Steve ElliottJanuary 11, 2010
SAN ANTONIO -- With a past alumni roster that reads like a "Who's Who" of college and professional football, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 9 promises to have more highlight-reel action of tomorrow's stars in store. Almost 33,000 fans attended the 2009 game.
The game, which kicks off at noon and is televised live on NBC affiliate News 4 WOAI, features the nation's top 90 high school football players. The action takes place at the Alamodome at 100 Montana St. in downtown San Antonio.
This is the 10th anniversary of the bowl and since 2001, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has showcased the nation's premier high school football talent in an East-versus-West matchup of mental, physical and emotional strength. This game is considered the nation's premier All-American game by high school football players, coaches, and fans from across the country.
The bowl's history includes a growing list of prominent alumni such as 2007 National Football League Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson (running back, Minnesota Vikings), Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush (running back, New Orleans Saints) and Tim Tebow (quarterback, University of Florida Gators), 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Vince Young (quarterback, Tennessee Titans), Tommie Harris (defensive tackle, Chicago Bears), Brady Quinn (quarterback, Cleveland Browns), Mark Sanchez (quarterback, New York Jets) and Ted Ginn Jr. (wide receiver, Miami Dolphins).
There are currently more than 100 U.S. Army All-Americans playing in the NFL. A record 30 U.S. Army All-Americans were selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, including six first-round picks.
Among this year's cream of the crop is a standout local player - wide receiver Nate Askew of the James Madison High School Mavericks, a team that went 6-3 this past season.
"Nate is a talented athlete whose exemplary displays of leadership and teamwork have made him a standout at Marshall High School," said Col. Derik Crotts, deputy chief of staff, G7, U.S. Army Accessions Command. "The qualities necessary to succeed on the football field, strength, dedication, leadership and teamwork, are the same qualities mirrored in Army Strong Soldiers."
Wearing No. 8 for the game, Askew was selected by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee, which consists of All-American Bowl producer SportsLink's network of regional directors throughout the country, sports recruiting media coverage group Rivals.com and Tom Lemming, who assists with the annual selection process of the top football prospects who will participate in the All-American Bowl Game.
In three seasons, the 6-foot-4, 213-pound receiver had 25 receiving touchdowns and two scores on punt returns, gained 1,766 yards and averaged 18.7 yards per catch. He has made a verbal commitment to attend Texas A&M University in the fall of 2010. Askew plans to major in business marketing and has a 3.3 core GPA.
"I feel that I'm a big, physical wide receiver. I use my body well and can jump and get the ball at its highest point," Askew said when asked about his strong points.
According to his rating at ESPN.com, Askew has an excellent combination of size and athleticism, but he will likely be more of a physical, possession receiver at the next level. He is described as strong and well built and has the size and wingspan to be a factor on the deep ball and in the red zone.
Even his opponents have nothing but praise for Askew's talents.
"He is a threat to score any time, from anywhere," said Smithson Valley head coach Larry Hill of Askew, who gave the Rangers fits in the playoffs two years ago. "He can outrun you, out-jump you or outwrestle you for the ball. Or he can do all of the above on the same play."
Askew said he's excited to play in the 10th Anniversary game that has numerous NFL and college stars counted among its alumni, especially with it taking place in his hometown.
"I remember the first time I watched it was when Vince Young played in it," he said of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in a Scout.com article. "Ever since I was little I've wanted to play in it and now the chance is finally here. It's definitely an honor. I get to play with the best. That's the start of something I'll be doing for a long time, so I'm excited for it.
"It makes it a little more special that it's in San Antonio," he said. "I'm originally from California, but I've become a Texas boy. It'll be fun to represent my state and my city right here. I'll have a lot of family and friends in the stands."
And in a double bonus for San Antonio, joining Askew Jan. 9 will be his coach, Jim Streety, who has been named head coach for the West squad. A legend in Texas coaching ranks, Streety recently achieved a major milestone in winning his 300th career game. Streety's assistant, Glenn Mangold, will also be on the coaching roster.
Dallas Jackson, a high school football expert from Rivals.com, the official selection partner of the game, thinks Streety is a perfect choice for the game.
"Coach Streety is a pillar in the high school coaching ranks in Texas," Jackson said. "He has 300 wins and is a real salt-of-the-earth gentleman. His character and record are both things that all coaches should strive for."
Streety began his head coaching career at New Braunfels (Texas) High School in 1974, and remained at that post for seventeen seasons. As coach of the Unicorns, he had a 149-44-2 record, qualifying for the playoffs eight times. He also led the school to the Class 4A state semifinals in 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1986.
In 1991, he took over the Mavericks program. In his time there, he has led Madison to 11 postseason berths and the Class 5A Division II state semifinals in 2007. He has a career overall record of 300-111-3.
"My thoughts are how fortunate I have been to be a head coach at two great schools, and have the great assistant coaches and great players I've had," Streety said of his career in an interview for KENS5.com. "This profession has given me some real blessings. There have been heartaches, too, but I've been very fortunate overall. I wouldn't change anything.
"I still enjoy the preparation and the competition, and being around the coaches and kids," Streety said. "I still like that excitement. Of course, being in a great place with a great staff and great athletes makes it all that more enjoyable."
Streety served as assistant coach in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He returns this year in hopes of tipping the 4-4 overall game record in favor of the West.
"It's a real honor for me to not only be Nate's coach, but to be the head coach of the West team this year. To have Nate there and be around him and all those other great players that week, I guarantee you it's going to be a week in my life that I'm very thankful for," Streety said. "It's a tremendous national recognition for our school. I have a lot of respect for what the Army does, this game and the recognition it gives to all of our players."
"It's a bigger honor that my coach, Coach Streety, was selected as the head coach," Askew said. "I'm going to get to play for him for the last time at the game. It will be the last time he'll ever be my coach again, so it's something I'm looking forward to."
"I've watched Nate evolve from a big old freshman that was immature, as all young folks are, and he has turned into the young man that you see now," Streety said. "He's matured, he's become a leader for us and he's an excellent student as well as being a phenomenal player. He is, in my mind, the perfect example of the kind of guy that the Army would want to have in this game as an All-American."
And even though the next All-American Bowl is a year away, the first 20 participants for the 11th annual bowl have already been chosen and include another James Madison High School Maverick player, running back Aaron Green.
"The first selections for the bowl always set the tone for each and every edition of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. For 10 years, the bowl has been the nation's premier showcase for high school football," said Doug Berman, chairman of SportsLink, the game's founder. "This past year, we had seven alumni from the bowl named to the Pro Bowl. In the spring, eight alumni of the bowl were taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Every year, the talent in the bowl continues to get more and more impressive."