By: Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | November 30, 2018
St. Pius X High School (Houston) quarterback Grant Gunnell received his All-American Bowl jersey Friday at his school as part of the All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“It’s been a little surreal,” Gunnell told USA TODAY. “I drew up dreaming of this game. It’s been a goal of mine and to have this be accomplished is a surreal moment for me.
“Having it in my home state, seeing it on TV, seeing all the great players that have been Pro Bowl players, Super Bowl players, it’s always been my dream.”
The 6-6, 220-pound passer is the 15th-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation, and a top-50 overall recruit from Texas, according to 247Sports.
Gunnell committed to Arizona, where he will play for former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. And when he gets there he’ll see a familiar face: His brother, Will Gunnell, who is a walk-on wide receiver for the Wildcats. The elder Gunnell was first a walk-on at Texas A&M but never saw the field of play. When Kevin Sumlin landed in the desert, Gunnell followed suit.
Add to that a family connection to the Grand Canyon State — his mother is from Scottsdale and he still has an uncle who lives nearby — and the Wildcats just made sense for the gunslinger.
“I knew (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Noel) Mazzone really well, so I showed up to my official visit with open eyes,” Gunnell said. “My mom is from out there, in Scottsdale, so that was nice. And I was blown away by the business school and the football program just feels like a family.”
Fittingly given the family metaphor, Gunnell will live with his older brother when he arrives in Tucson.
Before then, he plans to use the All-American Bowl as a coda to a high school career that has already defied expectations.
Unlike other states like California and Florida, the highest level of football in Texas is played by public school programs, including current USA TODAY Super 25 No. 1 Allen High School. That didn’t sway Gunnell, who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his brothers, both of whom also attended St. Pius X.
“Both my brothers went to this school and it’s been a big part of me,” Gunnell said. “(Gunnell being an All-American has) been huge for the school and opens peoples eyes to private schools; not just St. Pius, but others, too.”
The All-American Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 5 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.
2019 All-American bowl, All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance, arizona wildcats, Grant Gunnell, St. Pius X High School (Houston TX), All-American Bowl Selection Tour, Football