As Memphis (Tenn.) Central DE Frank Herron sat on the stage at his school's auditorium on Thursday and looked out into a crowd featuring his friends, family and classmates, he was briefly taken aback.
"For a second, I was like 'Is this really happening?'" Herron said.
Indeed it was. Herron became the first player in Central history to earn a spot in the Army All-American Game when he officially accepted his jersey.
"It's not every day that you get an honor like this," Herron said. "Some of the greatest players to ever play the game, Tim Tebow, Ndamukong Suh, Andrew Luck, have played in this game and it's an honor to be mentioned with them."
Herron's star rose over the summer when he excellent at several camps, including Nike's signature event, The Opening. He's hoping to turn more heads when he arrives in San Antonio for the All-American Game.
"I'm very excited because I get to compete again against the best players in the country," Herron said. "I'm going to have fun, catch up with guys and talk about their seasons and just show how much I've learned about my craft after another year of playing."
Herron, ranked as the No. 77 overall player in the country, has been committed to LSU since June. He said Thursday that nothing has changed and he's still very excited to be joining the Tigers.
"I'm still solid on my commitment and everything is going great," Herron said. "I got a chance to talk with a few of the coaches this week when they called to congratulate me."
Herron said that things have worked out well enough that he'll be able to participate in the festivities at the Army game and follow it up with his official visit to LSU.
"I'm going down there for the Alabama game on Nov. 3 on an unofficial," Herron said. "That should be one of the best games of the season, then I'm going back after the All-American Game for my official visit."
Herron's high school team has had an up-and-down year, but he said he's felt like continued to grow as a player. According to him, the coaches at LSU agree, and he will have the opportunity to compete for playing time as a freshman.
"They see me as a pass-rusher," Herron said. "They said I'm going to have a chance to play because they have guys leaving at the defensive end spots and I just have to come in ready to play and have a motor and try to be humble and work hard."
Herron said he's been very impressed with the way LSU's defense has played this season and he's hoping the team can get back in the national championship discussion.
"They're known for their defense and it's been showing up this year," he said. "The offense has been up and down but they'll get it together and be right up there like they always are."
While he waits for his college career to begin, Herron said it Thursday's honor won't be lost on him anytime soon.
"This was something I watched on TV over the years," he said. "Now it's my turn to play in the game and it's something very special."