By J.D. LeipoldDecember 13, 2012
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 12, 2012) -- The number-one recruited high school quarterback and cornerback paid a call on the Army chief of staff and the sergeant major of the Army, Dec. 11, where the two football players learned firsthand about the tradition of excellence behind command coins and how to accept them in a handshake.
Quarterback Max Browne from Sammarish, Wash., and cornerback Kendall Fuller of Olney, Md., two of the six finalists in the prestigious 2013 Army Player of the Year Award spent two days touring the nation's Capitol and the Pentagon. They laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and tossed footballs around at the Washington Boys and Girls Club.
The Army Player of the Year Award is the Ken Hall Trophy, which is modeled after Ken "Sugar Land Express" Hall, high school football's all-time leading rusher from 1953 to 2012. The award will be presented to one of the six finalists during an award dinner the night before the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Jan. 5, in San Antonio.
The 2013 game marks the 13th year the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has showcased the best high school football players in the nation. It pits East of the Mississippi players against West of the Mississippi players. More than 200 NFL players are among its alumni, including Andrew Luck, who was the league's first-round draft pick and runner-up to the Heisman Trophy in 2011.
Offered athletic scholarships by numerous universities, the 6'5", 190 lb. Browne declared to the University of Southern California. He will graduate Skyline High School at the end of December. In his four-year high school career he set a state record by passing for almost 13,000 yards with a 71-percent completion record. He took Skyline to the 4A state championship where he passed for nearly 400 yards alone, racked up four TDs and capped his Spartans' career with a 49-24 victory over arch-rival Bellarmine Prep.
Then he had the opportunity to visit the Pentagon this week.
"We didn't know we were going to meet the chief of staff or the sergeant major of the Army, so it was really a pleasant surprise," said Browne. "It was just cool and a real privilege to meet those guys. This trip was awesome."
Fuller, a 5'11", 189 pounder won't graduate Our Lady of Good Counsel High School until the spring, but he's made a commitment to play alongside his brothers Kyle and Corey at Virginia Tech. His oldest brother also played for VT and is currently a free agent in the NFL.
"This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Fuller. "Not a lot of people can say they met the top dogs in the Army. You're kind of just taking the experience of meeting these leaders and letting it sink in… when I get older and reflect back, I'll appreciate this even more than I do now."
Another high school All-American player, running back Thomas Tyner of Aloha, Ore., was supposed to have been in Washington with Browne and Fuller, but couldn't make the trip due to his exam schedule.
Tyner, of Aloha High School, possesses size and speed that can be a game breaker at any time, according to recruiters. Tyner also runs track and uses his outstanding speed to his advantage. He set the Oregon State rushing record of 3,402 yards for a single season.
The other three athletes in the running for U.S. Army Player of the Year spent several days in New York City taking in a New York Jets game and meeting the team. They also pitched in helping load trucks with supplies to support the cleanup following Hurricane Sandy. They are:
-- Su'a Cravens, 6'1", 205 lbs., of Vista Murrieta High School, Murrieta, Calif. He plays both sides of the ball -- equally adept at safety, linebacker or running back and wide receiver according to scouts. He's committed to the University of Southern California.
-- Running back Derrick Green, 5'11", 220 lbs., of Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va. He is considered by scouts to be a physically imposing, bruising downhill runner and said to have excellent straight-line speed that makes him a load to tackle. He remains undecided on his college choice.
-- Running back Derrick Henry, 6'3", 241 lbs., from Yulee High School, Yulee, Fla. He put up 11,612 yards during his high school career, breaking the career national rushing yards record set in 1953 by Ken "Sugarland Express" Hall of 11,232 yards. Henry is a downhill runner and thrives running between the tackles, but can take it the distance with his above-average straight-line speed. In his high school finale game he also broke the national all-time high school rushing record with a 482-yard performance. Henry is committed to the University of Alabama.