MONONA — Jaden Gault is well aware that linemen who play for the University of Wisconsin football program are treated like rock stars on campus.
Friday morning, the 6-foot-7, 300-pound Monona Grove senior offensive tackle and UW recruit got a taste of what that might be like.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour team announced during a ceremony at Monona Grove High School that Gault was selected to play in the 14th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game Jan. 4 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
“This is surreal,” Gault said of being selected as one the top 90 senior players in the nation to participate in the game. “There are a lot of great players and it will be cool to go out there and compete against the best of the best.”
More than 200 former U.S. Army All-Americans were on NFL rosters to open this season, with more than 450 playing football collegiately.
“It’s a great honor to be selected and it’s such a small group to be able to represent the state of Wisconsin. It will be just awesome to go down there and show what the state of Wisconsin is all about,” Gault said. “I’ve been working for this moment my whole life, since fourth grade. It’s surreal to be able to share this with everyone, especially my teammates.”
Gault was honored via a broadcast during announcements to the student body as well as during a 30-minute ceremony in the school’s auditorium before family and friends, teammates, several classmates, select teachers and other adults who have made an impact in his life.
Every high school senior football player is eligible for selection to the game. The selection process kicked off at the U.S. Army National Combine and proceeded across the country during various combines, camps and clinics.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection committee evaluates thousands of the nation’s top prospects on an annual basis. Following the evaluation period, the committee nominates the nation’s top 400 seniors to be considered for selection to the game. U.S. Army All-Americans must be in good standing with their schools and communities in order to be considered for selection.
“They called and we had meetings during the winter and were told we would be updated on how the process was going,” Monona Grove coach Mike Stassi said. “This spring we got the word Jaden was in, and then we shot a commercial in June. He really deserves the honor. He is such a great kid.”
Gault is the 12th player from the state of Wisconsin to be selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the 14th UW recruit to be so honored.
“My dad works for American Family Insurance (one of the game’s corporate sponsors), so we found out in the spring I would be selected,” Gault said.
“We shot the video in June. It was cool to finally see that.”
Gault also confirmed that he is considering graduating early so he can enroll at UW in January.
“I want to enroll there as soon as I can but I’m not really positive about it. I just want to get ready to make that jump to the next level,” said Gault, who will have enough credits to graduate following the first semester.
“I’ll make the decision in December.”