Norcross' Butler selected to U.S. Army Bowl
Blue Devil Sr. to play in all-star game in January

NORCROSS - When Brice Butler was growing up he always dreamed of playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Friday, it became a reality when it was officially announced that he was selected to the East football team in a reception at Norcross High School.

"I've always wanted to play in this game since the first time I saw it on TV," said Butler, who has committed to Southern California. "This was always one of the first goals on my list. I was very excited when I found out I made the team."

Butler actually found out he was selected to the squad in the summer, but was asked to keep it a secret until the official notice. He's one of three players from Georgia selected to the East team, joining DeAngelo Tyson (Statesboro) and A.J. Harmon (Jefferson).

The game will be played Jan. 5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, which will air live on NBC a 1 p.m. In it's eighth year, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl features 84 of the top high school players in the country.

Butler joins Jeff Backus (football), Mary Ellen Blanchard (swimming) and Gani Lawal (basketball) as other Norcross All-Americans.

"It's a tremendous honor for him, it's a tremendous honor for our school and the kids he played with to be able to go off and do something like this," Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said.

Maloof was also invited by the U.S. Army to the coaches convention, which will be held the week of the game in San Antonio.

It's the second straight year that a player from Gwinnett County has been selected to the U.S. Army All-American game. Last year, Greater Atlanta Christian running back Caleb King was selected, but did not play due a leg injury.

"This is the only all-star game I have intentions of playing in," Butler said.

Butler was a preseason all-county selection and was named to the Daily Post's Super Six this year. The senior was second in the county in receptions this season with 52. He had 789 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. As a junior, Butler caught 37 passes for 662 yards and nine scores to earn him second-team all-county honors. He has 94 career catches for 1,509 yards and 20 TDs.

In his three year's as a starter for the Blue Devils, Butler led the team to back-to-back Region 7-AAAAA titles as the team was 22-3 the last two years. Norcross was also ranked No. 1 in the state for several weeks during both seasons.

"He's a been a big part of that, going 22-3 with two region titles in one of the toughest regions in the state," Maloof said. "It's really big for him and for us also."

Butler, who's father Bobby played for the Atlanta Falcons, committed to Southern California on Aug. 4. Butler turned down offers from several major programs like Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Penn State.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Butler is rated a five-star wide receiver by Scout.com. He's ranked as the No. 8 receiver in the country. ESPN.com has Butler rated the No. 3 receiver in the country and the No. 14 player overall.

Butler is the seventh USC commitment to be chosen to the U.S. Army All-American game. Daniel Campbell (offensive line), Wes Horton (defensive end), Matt Kalil (offensive line), D.J. Shoemate (athlete), Maurice Simmons (linebacker) and Tyron Smith (offensive line) were selected according to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Web site. All six players will play for the West team.

"It will be fun playing against them," Butler said. "I talk to a lot of the recruits going to USC, so it will be a lot of fun."

Players are selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl by a three-part selection committee.

The committee includes Sportslink, which produces the game, Tom Lemming, the nation's most respected recruiting expert, and Scout.com, the nation's largest online recruiting network.

Dozens of college and NFL standouts have played in the game, including Reggie Bush, Adrian Petterson, Vince Young, Brian Brohm and Tim Tebow.

"I never had a goal to go to the University of Southern California, I always had a goal to go big D-I," Butler said. "This was a goal that I knew I wanted to get to and work hard for."

SideBar: Football

' What: U.S. Army All-American Bowl

' When: Jan 5, 1 p.m.

' Where: San Antonio, Texas