PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- It's hard to look at an athlete as well-conditioned at Under Armour All-American Avery Young and believe what he said about his ability when he was younger.
"I was one of those fat, greedy, chubby kids," Young said. "I never really thought I've have a chance to start in high school."
Now a lean 6-foot-7, 270-pounder, Young has nearly four years of starting in the bank at Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) and is one of the nation's most coveted offensive line prospects.
Thursday was another one of those days to stay on top as Young received his Under Armour All-American jersey in a ceremony at his school. It was part of the 80-stop American Family Insurance presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour.
He is very familiar with the game and the opportunity it presents.
"I watched it last year, my cousin Brandon Fulse (now at Auburn) actually played in it," Young said. "I heard from a lot of guys that I know played in it and they told me it was a real fun experience and what a real nice time that they had there. So that helped me make my decision."
The game has been known for having the best linemen in the nation and some intense practice sessions. Young says he's familiar with some of the guys he might be squaring off against but isn't targeting anyone in particular.
"I see them as more or less equals," Young said. "They all wake up every morning like I do so we're all going to be ready to compete."
Young's senior season isn't over yet. Actually he hopes it's just beginning as Gardens will head to the playoffs next week and take on Lake Worth (Fla.) Park Vista in the first round. It's the first time Young has been on a winning team during his four years and he thanks new coach Chris Davis for much of the success.
"This might not be the most athletic team I've been on but the chemistry is great," Young said. "We communicate well and lift each other up.
"Coach Davis brought a family atmosphere and as we've become a family we have been able to accomplish more."
Young started taking his official visits two weeks ago with highly-publicized visit to Auburn and last week he headed to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama-LSU clash.
"It was intense, it was the most intense thing I've ever seen," Young said. "Just walking from the tunnel to the end zone and seeing everything. It was unbelievable."
Young named Auburn his leader after the first visit but admits he got a little caught up in the moment and wants to take all five visits before putting any program out front. A Georgia visit to scheduled for Nov. 19 and Florida is also on the list.
"The fifth visit will be between Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Clemson," Young added.
The future looks bright for Young and he's admittedly learned a lot about himself and what it takes to be a top player at the next level.
"The biggest thing the players from Alabama told me was to learn the sport, stay strong and stay on top of your game," Young said. "Impose your will on the opposition and outwork them. Always strive to be better."
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at email@example.com.