Justin Hilliard officially U.S. Army All-American

St. Xavier senior linebacker Justin Hilliard always watched the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as a youngster.

On Jan. 3, he will that elite company in San Antonio.

Hilliard, who is verbally committed to Ohio State, was presented his U.S. Army All-American Bowl honorary jersey during the official selection ceremony at St. X in front of classmates, coaches and teammates on Friday afternoon.

Hilliard was joined by his parents, Carl and Diane Hilliard along with Bombers coach Steve Specht.

“To be a part of it is really special especially having the ceremony and U.S. Army officials present me the jersey was really something special,” Hilliard said.

The 15th annual bowl game will be at Alamodome in San Antonio on Jan. 3 and nationally-televised on NBC. Kickoff is 1 p.m. Eastern. Specht will be an assistant coach in the game.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour goes across the country from late September to mid-December to announce all 90 players and 125 marching band members invited to the game.

Hilliard initially committed to the all-star game in November 2013. He will be the second St. X player to play in the event – the late Matt James was an offensive lineman in the 2010 bowl game.

Hilliard is also one of 15 national semifinalists for the high school version of the Butkus Award. The finalists will be announced the morning of Nov. 24. The winner will be announced in early December.

Hilliard has 52 tackles (39 solo), including 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He has two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries this season.

Hilliard has also been involved in the St. X offense as a running back for the first time in his high school career during his senior season. He has four carries for 18 yards.

Named the Associated Press Southwest District Division I defensive player of the year on Tuesday night, Hilliard’s immediate focus is on Saturday night as he helps to lead the Bombers (10-2) against Moeller (9-3) in a Division I regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mason.

“We’re real confident right now,” Hilliard said. “We’ve been training hard for this game for a while. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to because we haven’t beaten them since my sophomore year which should sounds crazy to me but we’re definitely really motivated and ready to get after it so it will be a great game.”

The winner advances to the regional final/state semifinal on Nov. 29 at Mason. The winner plays either Lakota West (7-5) or Huber Heights Wayne (11-1).

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