Chandler Hamilton senior defensive lineman Garrett Rand waited two years for this day.
After receiving an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl his sophomore year, Rand on Tuesday finally received his jersey in a presentation at Hamilton’s food court during lunch hour.
Only the nation’s top seniors can play in the coveted showcase game.
This has special significance for the Wisconsin commit.
“It means a lot to me,” said the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Rand. “My grandfather was in the Army. I’m just thankful for this opportunity.”
Hamilton was the last of three Valley stops by the U.S. Army and American Family Insurance to present jerseys and awards.
The game is Jan. 9 in San Antonio. It will be televised live on NBC.
Hamilton defensive coordinator Lane Reynolds spoke at Tuesday’s presentation about Rand, saying he knew he was special during his freshman year.
“His work ethic, his discipline, his behavior is second to none,” Reynolds said. “It does not surprise me he got this opportunity.”
Rand is a beast in the weight room.
His dad, Scott, said his son gets up at 5 in the morning to lift weights in the back yard.
“Neighbors call, because you hear a, ‘thump, thump,’ of the weights being thrown down,” Scott Rand said.
Rand, who sought nutritional advice earlier in his high school career, also is finicky about what he puts in his body. It’s all lean meats and clean carbohydrates.
“I can’t get him to eat pizza or hamburgers,” Scott said. “He doesn’t like them.”
Rand’s best games this season have come against Hamilton’s two biggest challenges – Peoria Centennial and Chandler.
“The best game he had in his career was against Centennial, and probably the second best against Centennial,” coach Steve Belles said. “He rises to the level.”
Rand was close to committing to Arizona State, his dad said, but he chose Wisconsin, where he’ll be moved around the defensive line.
Rand also might see action on offense in jumbo run packages as a lead blocker.
This season, Rand has just played defense. But last year, there were instances when Belles lined the big guy up on offense for extra blocking.
Arizona’s top high school football prospects: Where is Rand?
Reach Obert at email@example.com or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert, Listen to the Which Wich High School Football Preview Show every Friday from 6-7 p.m., on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with Dan Manucci and Richard Obert.