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Fast rise for Army AA Iheanacho

HOUSTON – After crossing the country the U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour made one of its final stops on Thursday morning at Houston Westside High School.

Frank Iheanacho plans to announce his college choice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Wide receiver Frank Iheanacho, the No. 71 overall prospect in the entire country, was honored as an Army All-American in front of his teammates and fellow students during a pep rally at the school.

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior’s rise to Army All-American was an unexpected one as he did not even play football a year ago as a junior. He instead concentrated on basketball. However, the lure of the gridiron drew him back in.

“My teammates, I would talk to them about it,” Iheanacho said of returning to the football team his senior year. “Those are like my brothers. I really just wanted to come out and have fun with them and get to play football again.”

Westside head coach Mark Byrd knew he had a player with a chance to be special.

“He’s a big kid that moves so well,” Byrd said. “We saw flashes of it his sophomore year but we didn’t know quite what to expect when he came back. He was just a natural route-runner. He was so smooth, especially for being so big.

“After a couple of games, his tape went out and then all these offers starting coming in. He’s up to 20 or 21 now with more coming all the time. I expected he’d get them but didn’t know it would all be so sudden like that.”

For his part, Iheanacho is taking all the newfound attention in stride.

“It really is about my team and just getting to play with them,” he said. “Obviously, I hoped that some opportunities might come from playing football but that’s not the main reason I came back to it. It’s been really humbling for sure.”

Iheanacho was extended an invitation to play in the Army All-American Bowl in the middle of the season and he quickly accepted. Though other games tried to sway him from that decision, he stuck with it.

“Frank wanted to make sure that all his coaches and teammates could come to San Antonio to see him play,” Byrd said. “He really didn’t even entertain the offer of playing in the other games. He wanted the whole Westside community to be able to be a part of this with him.”

Iheanacho says his selection as one of only 90 players on the roster from across the entire country means a lot to him.

“It’s a huge honor, to say the least,” he said. “I don’t think I ever could have imagined this. I’ve seen the game before never thought I’d be playing in it.

“They also say that character off-the-field is taken into account and I think that means even more than my abilities as a player. That’s something I want to be remembered for.”

On the recruiting trail, Iheanacho has not yet made a verbal commitment but plans to do so on live television during the Army Bowl. He has unofficially visited Texas A&M for a game and will be at LSU this weekend for an official visit. He also mentioned Missouri and Ole Miss as two programs of interest.

As a senior this season, Iheanacho caught 44 passes for 652 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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