It’s hard to fathom 870,327 votes were cast during the American Family Insurance #DreamFearlessly Fan Vote to determine which of 32 possible prep players would get into the 2016 Under Armour All-America Game. Remarkably, some U.S. Senate elections don’t even feature that many ballots.
So, you’ll excuse Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West senior guard Boe Wilson for being at a loss for words when he found out he was one of two players to be able to take part in the game in Orlando on Jan. 2.
“It completely blows my mind,” said Wilson. “When they said 870,000, it blew me away.”
Wilson received his honorary jersey Wednesday when the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance came to his school.
Along with parents Gina Vatz and Harry Wilson, he led the charge. “I was on Twitter all the time, tweeting, ‘Please help me make my dreams come true,'” added Boe Wilson. “And they did.”
He hammered Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through all four rounds of voting, pleading for his following to vote once a day throughout the campaign.
“It was nerve-wracking,” he said. “I really wanted to play in the game. I cared a lot about it. There were times when I was down 30 percent in the voting, and I’d have to text the whole fam, text everyone: ‘Keep voting.'”
That they did. Over and over again, to the tune of two-thirds of the 261,069 votes cast in the final round. “I’m just crazy excited,” he said. “I feel extremely blessed to have this support system. I’ve received overwhelming support from family, friends and people across the county.”
This wasn’t always the dream for Wilson. In sixth grade, he almost chose baseball over football. “I simply didn’t like it that much,” the 6-foot-3, 290 pound lineman conceded.
Why? “The funny thing is I was always bigger than most everyone else,” said Wilson, “so I didn’t want to hurt the other kids, because they were smaller than me. But I got over that.”
Now? “I used it as an outlet,” he said. “It’s the best game on Earth. I firmly believe that.”
After playing in Orlando, where his parents and high school coach will make the trip despite the short notice (“My whole family’s going, so that’s pretty awesome”), he will take his talents to the University of Nebraska — another dream he couldn’t have foreseen as a kid.
“I didn’t used to be a Nebraska fan,” said Wilson. “I rooted for Arkansas, because my dad played there. But once I got my offer and checked it out, that’s my future home. I love Lincoln.”
The feeling’s mutual, as the Cornhuskers community was among Wilson’s biggest support groups.