As the talent level increases each year in Oregon, high school football players from the state are beginning to receive recognition like never before. While there have been a number of elite players from the state in recent years, only one has received the honor of playing in the Under Armour All-American Game -- until now.
It wasn't until the 2012 game that an Oregon product was selected to participate in the prestigious game. Corvallis offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo, who is the starting center for Oregon State as a freshman, was chosen to participate in last year's game.
Offensive lineman Evan Voeller (West Linn, Ore./West Linn), who is committed to the Oregon Ducks, became the second Oregon product to earn the honor when he was presented his game jersey as a part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game. Voeller received his Under Armour All-American jersey in a ceremony at West Linn Friday morning.
In becoming just the second Oregon high school player to receive the honor, the No. 12 offensive tackle according to ESPN.com said he feels like he has something to prove.
"I have been given an honor that not many players from Oregon have," Voeller said. "It is definitely something I am aware of. I take a lot of pride in representing the state and hope to do my best."
A bruising run-blocker, the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Voeller suffered a sprained AC joint in his shoulder during West Linn's third game of this season. Currently in the midst of intensive rehabilitation, Voeller hopes to be back in time for the state playoffs.
"It just kind of happened. I fell on my arm awkwardly at the end of a play," Voeller said. "It was just one of those things. I got tripped up and had nowhere to go but down."
Not only does Voeller hope to make it back in time for West Linn's playoff push, he also has hopes of being healthy for the Under Armour Game in early January.
"My season comes first, obviously. It's my senior year and I want to go out on a high note," said Voeller, the No. 179 overall player in the ESPN 300. "I also hope I am healthy and ready to go for the [Under Armour] game. Any time you have a chance to compete against the best, you want to be up for the challenge."
If healthy, Voeller will get all he can handle in the game from the likes of Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson), Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County), Dee Liner (Muscle Shoals, Ala./Muscle Shoals) and a host of other elite defensive linemen.
"I look forward to going down there and playing a great game and competing with the best," Voeller said. "It should be a great experience."
Until he is back on the field, Voeller says he will continue to work hard at rehabbing his injured shoulder while staying involved with his young West Linn team.
"We have a really young team this year. Most of the offense is made up of juniors," Voeller said. "I'll just keep going to practice and try to keep them focused on our goals as a team. There's not a lot I can do but try and coach them up until I get back out there."