As a long snapper, Brendan Turelli has spent most of his football career trying to avoid having his name called. He understands that he is willingly undertaking one of the more thankless jobs in all of sports, as making a mistake is usually the only time a snapper's name is called.
That's why Turelli is still trying to wrap his head around what happened Friday as he was awarded his game jersey during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game in front of a packed house at Phoenix Arcadia High School.
"It almost feels not right," Turelli said of the attention. "I know I'm doing a good job when I don't get noticed for something. Now, with the attention on me, it's kind of a weird moment almost."
It was easy to notice that Turelli added "almost" to that statement as nothing could hide his excitement in earning the honor. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound lineman is the No. 1 long snapper in the country and backed up his ranking by winning a camp competition on his way to earning one of two snapping spots on the Under Armour Game roster.
"It was one of those moments where you don't believe it's true until about a week after," Turelli said of being named to the game. "I was so excited and so proud. It was a great moment."
He has had his sights set on the game for several years and the drive to earn an invitation ramped up two seasons ago when two of his training partners, USC's Peter McBride and Wyoming's Zach Ewan were selected for the contest.
"They came back with stories about how great it was," Turelli said. "It has been a real goal of mine since then."
A coach's suggestion during youth ball really put the wheels in motion for Turelli to play in the UA Game. His coach boasted several years of experience at the high school level and understood the importance of having someone on the team who could confidently get the ball back to a punter or holder. And it just so happened that this coach had some additional influence on Turelli's life.
"I don't know what my dad was thinking when he decided that I should do that," Turelli said. "He knew the importance of having a long snapper on the team, but I don't know if he thought it was something I would do long term."
Tim Turelli remembers the decision well.
"I always knew you needed to have a kid who could get it back to a holder, and more importantly, a punter," the father said. "The youth team I was coaching didn't have anyone that could do it. So — and I don't want to use the word 'force' — but I said that it was something we needed. So I started working with him."
Turelli said the training started out slowly, with 15 to 20 snaps after each practice and no thought of it turning into a permanent position. But the elder Turelli said by the time his son was in eighth grade, he knew he had something special. Several opposing coaches confirmed his thoughts.
"They were asking where my long snapper came from," he said. "Everybody else in the league had their snaps going end over end instead of in a spiral."
Turelli worked with the freshman team until the end of the season, when he was pulled up to varsity. He began working with a snapping coach soon after, and has now heard from programs such as Air Force, Arizona State, Boise State, TCU and Washington State, among others. Turelli said he grew up a Notre Dame fan, but after two visits to TCU, he has become very interested in the Horned Frogs. Now, Turelli said coaches have expressed interest, but want to see how the season plays out for their snappers and backups before deciding on a possible scholarship opportunity.
Until that happens, Turelli will concentrate on his senior season and the prospect of joining some of the nation's top recruits in the country for January's UA Game.
And soon, they'll know Brendan Turelli as well.