By the time January rolls around, Jalen Brown and Natrell Curtis will be done playing for Norris Vaughan and Mountain Pointe.
They’ll get a bit of a refresher course in San Antonio.
Both players have been selected, and were given their jerseys on Tuesday at a ceremony at the school, for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
They will be among 90 players from across the nation and will be part of the largest Arizona group (4, joining Desert Mountain’s Mark Andrews and Kyle Allen) in the 13-year history of the game.
Not only will they be treated to a great experience, including some community service work, during their week stay in San Antonio from Dec. 28 to Jan.5, but Vaughan will also be in attendance as part of the coaching staff.
“It’s a great honor to have not only one All-American but two from the same school,” Vaughan said. “It’s the best bowl out there and I am glad they chose to be part of it.”
Coaches are selected not only on the basis of having a player on the team, but because of the character of the program and a winning pedigree.
“I’ve coached in a few all-star games before but this one is special because of who it represents,” said Vaughan, who has coached in the Florida-Georgia and Arizona games. “It takes a special person to represent and fight for our country.”
Curtis, the Pride’s 6-foot-3, 340-pound guard, gets a chance to go back to his home state, where he lived in Ennis, Texas until the fourth grade.
“What an honor,” he said. “We were told about this months ago, but to actually get the jersey and have them here in front of my school and teammates makes it real.”
Brown, the Pride’s 6-2, 185-pound receiver/defensive back, is looking forward to the complete experience. He will head to Oregon shortly after getting back from Texas to begin his college career.
“The whole week will be special, with the different coaches, the guest speakers from the Army and community service,” he said. “That kind of stuff is more important that playing on national TV.”
The game is on Jan. 4 and will be broadcast live from the Alamodome on NBC.
Vaughan said it has been quite the journey since these two players were freshmen.
“Natrell played a little bit before needing (knee) surgery,” Vaughan said. “Jalen was starting by the fourth game and contributing on both sides of the ball. It was pretty clear they were going to be pretty special and that’s a tribute to their parents, as well.
“To get picked for this team, you can’t just be a great football player. They have to show they are good people as well and they’ve both have done that.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.